Asset and Wealth Protection

a blog by attorneys for individuals and businesses

Don’t Delay Your Estate Plan!

Just weeks after Prince Roger Nelson’s death (the artist formally known as Prince), dozens of people filed petitions in the Carver County District Court in Minnesota, claiming a piece of the music icon’s estimated $300 million estate. Some claimed to be his illegitimate children, others to have been adopted by him, one claimed to be a descendant of his great-grandfather, and another simply demanded a DNA test.

A probate judge is tasked with sorting out the colossal mess that is Prince’s estate, a mess that could have been avoided entirely if the Artist had an estate plan. Not to mention probate fees and estate taxes, which no doubt will cost his true heirs a small fortune and could also have been significantly reduced had Prince put together the type of estate plan warranted by his vast fortune.

A few good reasons to take care of your estate plan now

  1. YOU decide who gets what. If you don’t make the decision who gets your assets, the court will. There are many options available for the distribution of individual items, cash, real estate and business interests -- your estate planning attorney can help you decide the most efficient and cost-effective way to arrange for their distribution, through a will and/or a living trust.
  2. Providing for minor children. If your children are minors, your estate plan will also designate who will care for them and how the money you leave for them should be managed. Guardianship provisions are made in your will or living trust.
  3. Saving a significant amount of taxes and probate fees. Probate fees in California can easily reach the tens of thousands if you own even a single piece of San Francisco real estate. Probate fees can be avoided entirely with a Living Trust. Proper estate planning can also save wealthy individuals and couples significant estate taxes as well.
  4. Planning for short- and long-term incapacity. Having an estate plan isn’t just about who will get your hard-earned assets when you no longer need them, it is also about who will look after you and how you will be cared for if you become incapacitated. These provisions are made in a durable power of attorney and/or a living trust.
  5. Making end-of-life decisions. Through an Advance Health Care Directive (“Living Will”), you can provide guidance for your family and your physicians for end-of-life decision-making. Your Last Will and Testament usually specifies whether you wish to be buried or cremated.

You are allowed to change your mind!

With few exceptions (such as irrevocable trust instruments designed to minimize estate taxes for the very wealthy), all of your estate planning documents can be modified or revoked.

Estate planning attorneys in San Francisco

At Moskowitz, LLP, we consider estate planning as simply "getting organized." This helps to remove much of the stress and anxiety for our clients and helps them move forward with essential planning that will benefit them and their loved ones. Call us today to set up an initial consultation.

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