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San Jose Probate & Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate Planning Areas of Practice

Anyone who owns property or assets has an estate. Items such as bank accounts, stocks, life insurance policies, and personal possessions need to be protected both while you are alive, as well as after you pass away. Comprehensive estate plans protect your assets and ensure that they are transferred to the correct beneficiaries after your death. They also include your wishes in regards to certain medical situations and allow you to nominate a guardian for your minor children or incapacitated loved one.

An estate plan can allow you to:

  • Appoint a guardian for minor children if you become incapacitated.
  • Nominate an executor (someone you trust) to settle your estate.
  • Care for a special needs child without sacrificing government benefits.
  • Reduce the size of your taxable estate for federal estate tax and income tax purposes.
  • Control an inheritance for a child who is irresponsible with money.
  • Reward beneficiaries for making good life decisions.
  • Provide for long-term care (nursing home care) without draining your savings.
  • Plan for Medicaid while avoiding Medicaid estate recovery.
  • Appoint an agent to handle your finances and health care decisions in case of incapacitation.
  • Establish life insurance policies for beneficiaries.

It is ideal to create an estate plan now and update it when necessary. That way, in the event that you become incapacitated, your assets and wishes are legally protected. My firm's San Jose estate planning attorney may assist anyone who needs assistance in the following areas:

Advance Health Care Directives:
This document allows you to specify what types of medical treatment you do or do not want at the end of your life. It informs doctors, family members, and friends of your decisions, so they do not have to guess about what type of treatments you may or may not want.

Benefits of Probate:
While there are certainly valid legal procedures used by will-makers and trust-makers to avoid probate, from a beneficiary point of view, there are definite benefits to the probate process. Probate can also give individuals peace of mind knowing that once they die, the distribution of their estate will be supervised by the court in order to ensure that all distributions are made in accordance with California State laws.

Components of an Estate Plan:
There are many important documents that are used to create a comprehensive estate plan. Each item is equally important and can be personalized to meet every person's needs. They protect your assets and your health care wishes and ensure that your estate is properly transferred to beneficiaries after you pass away.

Estate Administration:
Estate administration is the act of collecting, inventorying, managing, and distributing a decedent's estate according to California State Law, or the deceased's will. It also involves paying taxes and debts, as well as handling potential creditors' claims. The person in charge of administering the estate is known as the personal representative.

A guardian or guardians are needed if both parents of minor children pass away, or become unable to care for them. A guardian may be solely in charge of a child, or singularly responsible for a child's property. Oftentimes, parents will elect the same person to act as both a property and personal guardian for their minor children.

Powers of Attorney:
A durable power of attorney is a document that a person, who is known as the principal, creates in order to give legal authority to another person, known as the agent. The agent will act on the principal's behalf in the event that the principal is unable to make medical decisions.

Probate is the process of validating a decedent's will and distributing the estate among the selected heirs. If a person dies without a will, they are known as dying intestate, and the State of California must divide and distribute the deceased's assets according to their laws. It may be a fairly simple or extremely complicated process, depending on the decedent's estate.

Revocable Living Trusts:
Revocable living trusts are useful estate planning tools. They can determine who will receive your estate after you pass away, while still allowing you to manage the assets you placed in the trust while you are alive. They are known as living trusts because they are created and effective during your lifetime, not only after you pass away.

Trust Administration:
When a grantor dies, the person named as a successor trustee has a myriad of responsibilities. They must follow the terms of the trust, and use their discretion when handling any item or money placed in the trust. A successor trustee is responsible for every item that is in the trust and may be held liable for misusing or mishandling the trust.

Wills are an essential document in an estate plan. They allow a person to document which of their assets will go to who after they pass, as well as elect a guardian for their minor children or incapacitated loved ones. A will also allow a person to name an executor or a person who will be in charge of managing and distributing the estate after the person who created the will passes.

Need estate planning assistance in San Jose, CA?

Searching for a lawyer to create an estate plan in San Jose? The Law Offices of Timothy D. Henry can assist clients in Campbell, as well as people who live in the Santa Clara County. I have extensive knowledge in the estate planning field, and I am more than prepared to help a client create any of the previously listed documents. If you have an out-of-date estate plan, I may also be able to assist you in amending your documents. Please feel free to contact my firm to learn more about estate planning, and how I may be able to help you and your family! ¡Yo hablo español!