A recent survey found that more than half of all Americans do not have a will. Three in five Americans do not have a power of attorney for health care naming an agent to act if he or she becomes incapacitated. The survey reports a major reason for people not having an estate plan is their unwillingness to think about death or incapacity. One in four people say they do not have an estate plan because they do not believe they have sufficient assets. The reality is that almost everyone dies leaving some assets. If you don’t have an estate plan, California law determines how your estate will be distributed to your family, and that may not reflect your individual wishes. Without an estate plan in place, friends, non-registered domestic partners, and your favorite charities will receive nothing. According to the survey, another reason people do not have an estate plan is because they do not know who to talk to or how to begin. At Jakle, Alexander & Patton, we will advise and assist you to create an individually tailored estate plan to benefit you during your lifetime and to provide for distribution of your assets at death. There is no “one size fits all” estate plan. Estate Plan Package Your estate plan needs to be flexible, something you can adapt as tax laws, investment opportunities, and your own personal circumstances change. A typical estate plan package consists of the following documents:
- Living Trust
- Grant and Assignment to Trust
- Last Will & Testament
- Advanced Health Care Directive
- Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information
- General and Durable Power of Attorney Concerning Assets
Other Estate Planning Services A common misconception is that estate planning only involves the distribution of your assets at your death. Jakle, Alexander & Patton offers the following estate planning services to benefit you during your lifetime:
- Creation of Family Limited Partnerships
- Creation of Charitable Trusts
- Creation of Life Insurance Trusts
- Lifetime Gift Planning
- Pet Trusts
For assistance with your estate planning, contact us today for an initial consultation. Please bring the Estate Planning Questionnaire to your consultation.
Trust Administration is similar to the probate process, but it does not involve court supervision and is usually faster than a probate. When the creator of a living trust passes away or becomes incapacitated, a Successor Trustee is appointed. The Successor Trustee is someone named in the trust document to handle the trust in the event of the trust creator’s incapacity or death. The Successor Trustee has obligations and duties to the beneficiaries of the trust, similar to the situation of an Executor in a probate process. At Jakle, Alexander & Patton we explain in easy to understand terms the duties and obligations of the Trustee and assist the Trustee with timely and efficient administration of the trust. Another aspect of Trust Administration concerns trusts which continue for a period of years. For example, some trusts direct the inheritance of minor children to be held in trust until each child reaches the age of majority or later. At Jakle, Alexander & Patton we provide assistance to the Trustee in administering ongoing trusts. If you are the named successor, trustee, or beneficiary of a trust in need of assistance with Trust Administration, contact us today for a consultation.
Probate is the court supervised process of administering an estate of a deceased person. All the assets of the decedent that were not subject to a non-probate transfer, such as a living trust, joint tenancy or a payable on death account, will be subject to probate. That means that if a person dies with only a will or with no estate plan in place, the individual’s estate will have to be probated. In California, the probate process usually takes a year or longer and can be very expensive. The Executor of the estate has many duties, including inventorying assets, dealing with creditors, sales of assets, handling beneficiary disputes and final distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. These duties can be time consuming and overwhelming. At Jakle, Alexander & Patton we understand that when you are faced with the death of a loved one, the last thing you want to deal with are the legal details. We provide the client with advice and services to assist the Executor to accomplish his or her duties and close the probate in an efficient and timely manner. If you are the named Executor in the will, or there has been a death with no estate plan in place, contact us today for an initial consultation.
No subject has become more crucial to estate planning than providing for possible future incapacity. To help avoid the expense and intrusion of official court involvement, our estate plan package includes the Advance Health Care Directive and Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management. However, there are cases where incapacity occurs without such advance preparation. In those cases, Jakle, Alexander & Patton is experienced and ready to initiate and assist with court supervised Conservatorships. For assistance with incapacity planning, contact us today for a consultation.
When a close family member or friend becomes incapacitated and he or she has not provided for an agent to make medical and financial decisions for him or her, it may be necessary to have an individual or professional fiduciary appointed as Conservator of the person and/or estate of the incapacitated person. The Conservator of the person makes the medical decisions, and the Conservator of the estate makes the financial decisions. Jakle, Alexander & Patton can assist in preparing and filing the Court petition for appointment of the Conservator and represent the proposed Conservator at the Court hearing. Once appointed, Jakle, Alexander & Patton can advise the Conservator in locating and managing assets, providing for the needs of the incapacitated person and accounting to the Court for all income and expenditures. Conservatorships are closely supervised by the Court. As your attorneys, Jakle, Alexander & Patton, will advise you of the Conservator’s duties and reporting responsibilities and represent you before the Court. If you are dealing with incapacity issues of a family member or friend in the Los Angeles area, contact us today for an initial consultation.
When a minor child is without a parent, a legal guardian for the child must be appointed by the Court. Most commonly, the guardianship will be of the person only, to provide for the child’s care, including education, medical care and living arrangements. When the minor child has assets to protect, there will also be a guardianship of the estate. Jakle, Alexander & Patton can assist in preparing and filing the Court petition for appointment of the Guardian and represent the proposed Guardian at the Court hearing. Once appointed, Jakle, Alexander & Patton can advise the Guardian in the duties and responsibilities of caring for the minor child and protection of assets. As with Conservatorships, Guardianships are closely supervised by the Court. As your attorneys, Jakle, Alexander & Patton will advise you of the Guardian’s reporting responsibilities and represent you at the Court hearings. If you are dealing with the loss of a parent of a minor child, contact us today for an initial consultation.
A Special Needs Trust (also referred to sometimes as a Supplemental Needs Trust) allows a disabled person under age 65 to have assets held for his or her benefit without loss of governmental benefits. The assets held in a Special Needs Trust are intended to pay for education, recreation, counseling and medical care beyond what is provided by public assistance programs. A Special Needs Trust is most commonly used to receive an inheritance or a personal injury settlement. In some cases the Special Needs Trust must be established by order of the Court. A Special Needs Trust must contain specialized provisions. Thus, it is critical that the Special Needs Trust be properly drafted. Jakle, Alexander & Patton will assist in creating the Special Needs Trust, including petitions to the Court, if necessary. Once established, Jakle, Alexander & Patton is able to assist in overseeing the ongoing administration of the Special Needs Trust, including accountings to the Court when required. For assistance with establishing a Special Needs Trust for a disabled beneficiary, contact us today for a consultation.
Legal entities are often an essential and integral part of personal and business planning, including succession planning, and the attorneys at Jakle, Alexander & Patton have extensive experience in the formation, operation, dissolution and purchase on sale of legal entities, including corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies (“LLCs”). Jakle, Alexander & Patton is able to assist with the operational aspects of the legal entity, such as:
- Buy-Sell Agreements
- Employment Contracts
- Succession Planning for the Family Business
For assistance with legal entities, general business matters, and succession planning, contact us today for a consultation.