As a family-focused practice, we will collaborate with you to craft legal and financial plans that suit your unique needs and goals. Our experienced estate planning attorneys will help you understand potential pitfalls and help you accomplish many important objectives including those listed below.
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Estate Planning Includes:
Protecting Your Family
Establishing wills, trusts and other estate planning documents minimizes confusion and contention for children and heirs, helping you disburse your assets the way you want, to who you want, when you want.
Preserving Your Assets
Advanced estate planning can protect your hard-earned money from unnecessary taxation, lawsuits and other creditor liabilities.
Providing for Special Needs Beneficiaries
For the angels among us who need help gifting to a child or loved one with special needs, we can help with a plan to benefit the intended recipient without jeopardizing their eligibility to receive public benefits.
Real estate transfers can be complicated, but we can help you determine how best to deed your properties in a way that may eliminate or reduce the implications of property reassessments and capital gains.
Protecting Your Children
For those with minor children, we can develop legal plans that name who and who will not care for your kids if you are unable to care for them yourself. Guardianship designations and trust planning can avoid foster care, excessive court fees and beauracratic red-tape in the event of the unthinkable.
Assigning Business Assets
Our business-savvy attorneys can help you through the oft-overlooked business succession process, protecting capital and liquid assets and maintaining a sound management plan in your absence.
Comprehensive Estate Planning in Chino, Orange County & The Inland Empire
No one likes thinking about their demise. It’s easy to procrastinate, but proper estate planning can save you and your loved ones time, expense, familial contention and worry by taking these critical steps sooner rather than later.
Circumstances change. Death, divorce, disability, medical emergency, financial catastrophe, remarriage, adoption, changes in state/federal law, tax codes…just to name a few. Your estate planning documents should acknowledge the possibility of these occurrences and accurately reflect your desires. We review our clients’ existing plans to be sure they are current, effective and tailored to meet the challenges that so often transpire.
What is Estate Planning?
Everyone has an estate, which is a compilation of all of your assets including property, real estate, bank accounts, cash, bonds, stocks and personal belongings, among other assets. Estate planning is the process of arranging and managing your estate strategically, so that when you pass away your estate will be divided amongst the beneficiaries you choose. To ensure your assets are distributed appropriately to your loved ones and your wishes are carried out, it is important to create a plan well in advance, however large or small your estate may be.
Tailored Planning Strategies
Just like no two people are alike, their estates are just as unique. At Voorhees Law Group, we create comprehensive, customized estate plans tailored to your individual needs and situation. Estate planning requires a lot of forethought, putting processes into place that will help will the management and division of the estate under a variety of circumstances, not just death.
Estate planning is more complex than just designating beneficiaries. It encompasses many different aspects including legal arrangements such as wills and trusts, the tax implications upon division of your estate, and the process in which estate division will be handled.
When someone is unable to make sound decisions regarding their estate or their health, arrangements for their care must be made in the event of incapacitation. Healthcare directives, or living wills, are an important part of estate planning and put processes into place in the event that someone can no longer make decisions for themselves. These directives can include the management of their estate, as well as their own personal wishes for their health care.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of Attorney
In some cases, it may become necessary to make decisions or act on behalf of another person. This process is much more straightforward if there is already a power of attorney in place. Power of attorney is a written authorization designating someone to act on your behalf should something happen to you, or you become unable to make sound decisions regarding your business affairs, health or estate. This is also another important component to comprehensive estate planning.
The cost of nursing care or nursing homes can be costly. Planning for this type of care can help ensure that you are eligible for Medi-Cal when the time comes, while preserving your assets as well. There are certain laws in place in the Medi-Cal code of regulations that allow for money and assets to be rearranged, transferred or safeguarded so your estate is secure for your spouse and beneficiaries, but is important to plan for these things ahead of time to lessen the risk and uncertainty when nursing care becomes imminent.
Wills & Trusts
Wills & Trusts
Wills and trusts are legal documents which coordinate the distribution of your assets upon death or incapacitation, and are an integral part of the estate planning process. While wills and trusts have certain similarities, they have their differences too. Our team can help distinguish whether wills or trusts are more appropriate for your situation, and which methods will more effectively safeguard your assets and estate.
Many parents or relatives want their assets to be distributed to their children in the event of their passing; however, it doesn’t always work out that way if proper planning wasn’t in place. In some cases, the court will control children’s inheritance which will be released when the minor reaches the age of 18-21. To have more control over who, when and what your children inherit, it is important to have this component worked into your estate plan so your minor children are protected.
Funding Your Trust
Funding Your Trust
Funding your trust is the process of transferring your assets to your trust. This includes changing titles over from your name to your trust, as well as changing beneficiary designations to your trust. Funding your trust is a critical step, since your trust can only control the assets you put into it. Our team at Voorhees Law Group can help consult with you on how to fund your trust during the estate planning process.
Our Estate Planning Process
It is important that we meet with you on a periodic basis to ensure the plan created for you is being properly administered and maintained so that it continues to meet your planning goals and satisfies your concerns. Periodic review meetings may be scheduled to determine whether changes in the law or in your circumstances or health or family require any updating to your plan. You may expect to hear from us at least tri-annually to schedule these review meetings. As a firm client, there is no charge for such review meetings.
A critical aspect of your estate plan working properly is what is commonly referred to as “Trust Funding” or “Alignment of Assets”. This involves ensuring that (1) title to certain assets are changed into your name(s) as Trustee(s) of your Trust and (2) the beneficiary designations of other assets are updated to reflect your current wishes and plan.
Many clients choose to be primarily responsible for this critical aspect, while receiving support from us. Others choose to have us more involved for a modest additional fee. Some choose to have us be fully responsible for the proper alignment of their assets with their plan. In any event, our goal is to have this aspect completed within 90 days of your Plan Signing Meeting. Usually, the alignment of assets process begins immediately following the Plan Design Meeting upon you hiring us.
About three to four weeks following the Plan Design Meeting, you will return to our office for the Plan Signing Meeting. At this meeting, all of your planning documents will be ready for your review and consideration. We will review them with you in detail, carefully explaining how each document helps you achieve your goals and address your concerns. If they meet with your approval, you will sign the documents and implement your comprehensive estate plan at that time. Depending upon your questions, Plan Signing Meetings normally last approximately 1 ½ to 3 hours. The remaining portion of your fee will be required at the conclusion of this meeting.
Once you and Mr. Chavers determine that you are a “good match”, you will then move into the Plan Design Meeting. Because we emphasize personal counseling and a custom design for your estate [and long-term care] plan, the Plan Design Meeting will last approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours. Depending upon your specific circumstances and questions, it may require additional time or an additional meeting.
Mr. Chavers will gather additional information from you, especially in regards to your goals and concerns, you and your loved ones, your family dynamics and your assets. He will walk you through your current plan, and if not, the plan created for you by California and federal law. Next, Mr. Chavers will counsel you through numerous planning solutions to help you determine which are right for you and your family. This process results in a comprehensive estate [and long-term care] plan that is custom-designed to achieve each of your goals and to satisfy your concerns.
After reviewing the plan selected by you, a fixed fee amount will be quoted to draft and implement the plan, including the clarifications you have selected. Once Mr. Chavers is clear on the work to be done to achieve your goals and satisfy your concerns, he can discuss any specific fees. The decision to go forward with drafting and implementing the plan is a “Yes” or “No” decision. Mr. Chavers does not like pressure sales tactics himself, thus no such tactics will be used to pressure you into proceeding. Our experience is that people who conclude they are getting “a good bang for their buck” proceed and those that don’t feel that way, don’t proceed. If you choose to proceed, 40% of the fee will be required as a deposit.
Your Initial Consultation Meeting will last approximately 1 hour. The primary focus will be (1) for you and Mr. Chavers to become acquainted to see if you feel comfortable working with one another in the years ahead, (2) to discover your goals and concerns, (3) for you to educate Mr. Chavers about you and your family, and (4) for Mr. Chavers to determine whether he can help you achieve your goals and address your concerns.
In our Welcome Letter, a questionnaire was enclosed, which we ask you to complete as much as possible, and to bring with you to the Initial Consultation Meeting. Therefore, Mr. Chavers will review your Confidential Personal and Family Questionnaire with you and ask you to educate him about you, your family, your goals and concerns, and your assets (aka your stuff). Once that has been accomplished, Mr. Chavers will discuss the range of fees for the legal services necessary to accomplish your goals and to address your concerns so you can achieve peace of mind.
Once you schedule an appointment, we will mail you a Welcome Packet which will include an overview letter with several enclosures to help you prepare for your time with Mr. Chavers. The letter and enclosures will give you an overview of our signature approach of being people driven instead of document driven.
Your initial meeting will consist of two distinct aspects: (1) the Initial Consultation and if you choose to proceed (2) a Design Meeting.
We realize that many people find meeting with an attorney intimidating. However, we are absolutely confident that you will find your time with Mr. Chavers quite informal while being very informative. Mr. Chavers primary method of simplifying the complex is through storytelling and what he calls “arts and crafts”, so come prepared to be informed in a light-hearted atmosphere.
Consult With an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today
When you are ready to talk to an experienced attorney about your estate planning needs, we will be here for you. Reach out to us today online or by telephone at (909) 334-1425 for a FREE CONSULTATION.