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Estate Planning

Estate planning is a mechanism whereby

  1. a potentially costly probate could be avoided (see below about probate)
  2. the decedent’s property is distributed according to her or his wishes
  3. the estate taxes, and perhaps the income taxes, may be minimized.
  4. the guardians for the minor children and incapacitated beneficiaries are identified and designated
  5. the decedent’s wishes during vegetative state are carried out.

Design and preparation of estate planning documents and determination of the associated fees, depend on an individual’s property and the family situation.

A basic estate planning package includes four separate documents:

  1. a pour-over will
  2. a living trust
  3. general durable powers of attorney
  4. a health-care power of attorney. Certain estates warrant provisions such as A-B-C or others.

Some estates need other types of trusts; such as Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), and so forth.

The term probate refers to the administration of a decedent’s property, even with a valid will. It is a legal process by which the deceased’s assets are accounted for and distributed to the beneficiaries subject to certain processes, because it is public, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for the deceased or the beneficiaries.

The process may be time consuming and usually takes months or even years, and incurs court fees and attorneys’ statutory fees, based on the gross estate, rather than what the beneficiaries finally receive.

Some estate planners suggest a California resident with property in excess of $150,000 or with $20,000 equity in real estate, may benefit from establishing a living trust.


How Can We Help

Zaher Fallahi, Esq., CPA, is a California Estate Planning Lawyer, practices Tax and Business law, and has offices in Orange County and Los Angeles County.

Because of being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1983, he advises clients on tax implication of the issues involving Estate Planning and Asset Protection Planning.

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