Estate Planning Lawyers in La Mesa, CA
Many times, questions that are far too important are left unresolved. When you die without a properly written, signed, and notarized last will and testament, the costs of transferring everything you have worked for to your family can cost thousands of dollars and take a year or longer as it goes through a process called probate.
Why Estate Planning is Important for Everybody
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy – it is for everyone. If you do not have an estate plan yet, Garmo & Garmo is here to help with that. We are ready to customize a plan that fully addresses your needs and accomplishes your goals.
To get started, call our La Mesa, CA office today at (619) 441-2500 to set up a consultation.
The Importance of Estate Planning: The Basics
We realize that this is an unpleasant thought but imagine if something were to happen to you tomorrow and you died without an estate plan. What would happen to all of your property? Perhaps more importantly, what would happen with your children?
The short answer is – if you die without an estate plan in California, the state ultimately decides what happens with your assets, property, and yes, minor children. This is done through a process called “probate”, and it can be expensive and time-consuming if your estate is left with no directions.
Maybe everything will work out just fine and all of your property will go where you want it to go, but that would take an extreme amount of luck if you do not have a plan.
Here are five reasons why estate planning is so important:
- Decide Who Receives Your Property
If someone dies without proper estate planning in CA, their assets and possessions are divided by a disinterested judge according to California intestate succession laws. With an estate plan in place, you decide how your property is divided rather than the courts.
- Protect Your Children
Within your will, you can nominate a guardian to receive custody of your minor children if something happens to you. Without such a document, a guardian will be appointed by – you guessed it, the court.
- Plan for Your Own Future Needs
With an estate plan, you can designate a trusted individual to serve as power of attorney for health care decisions as well as a financial power of attorney. This can be the same person, or you can nominate separate individuals for each function. You can also specify which medical treatments you would like performed and which ones you do not want should you become incapacitated and unable to decide these things at the time.
- Avoid Starting World War III
Probate litigation is all too common these days, and these disputes usually happen because the decedent did not have his/her final affairs in order. Either there was no estate plan, or they used cookie-cutter templates that did not adequately specify their wishes.
- Implement Advanced Estate Planning Strategies
For those who have a substantial amount of assets, own businesses, real estate, and other valuable properties, there are various types of trusts and other estate planning tools that can be used to accomplish your goals and minimize tax liability for your heirs. To take full advantage of the strategies that are available to you, it is important to know what they are and how to effectively implement them. And this means working with attorneys who have an in-depth understanding of not only estate planning, but also business law, tax law, and other related areas.
Greater Flexibility with SECURE Act
Congress passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (or SECURE) Act in 2020. The directly demonstrative purpose of this act was to make it easier for employers to offer retirement plans and to basically encourage individual savings for retirement. While this achieves its goal to a certain extent, it is not without introducing new complications.
The repeal of the maximum age limit for contributing to the IRA is just one of the most dramatic changes made by the SECURE Act. These tax-payer-friendly changes now allow individuals to contribute to the IRA till 72 years of age.
Taxpayers are required to take distributions from the retirement accounts following this. The SECURE Act has allowed taxpayers greater flexibility in terms of contributions and withdrawals from their retirement savings.
Stretch Strategy in Estate Planning
Eventually, greater tax flexibility for payers means lower tax revenue for the government. The Congress included new legislation forcing beneficiaries to begin withdrawing assets held within an inherited IRA within 10 years of the demise of the original account holder. This was done in a bid to make up for the difference.
It was previously possible to extend the collection of distributions to stretch the length of the beneficiary’s lifetime. Many people exploited this so-called stretch IRA planning to receive the maximum possible benefit while avoiding income tax.
The SECURE Act has put an end to the stretch IRA. Stemming from this, certain beneficiaries are exempt as per provisions. This includes disabled individuals, living spouses, minor children, and chronically ill individuals.
Fortunately, there are other estate planning vehicles that can help you receive the same results as the stretch strategy. An experienced estate planning attorney should be able to help you.
If you want to properly protect yourself and your family, it is important to have a trust – a legal instrument designed to make sure your family is protected and your hard-earned property goes to whomever you wish. At Garmo & Garmo, LLP, our attorneys take the time from the beginning to understand your situation, to create a customized plan for you and your family.
Proper Estate Planning allows you to plan for:
- Yourself and loved ones without giving up control;
- Your current and future concerns for family members;
- The possibility of your own disability;
- What you own to go to whom, when, and the way you want;
- Fully disclosed and controlled costs;
- Your dreams and goals for yourself, your family, and your assets.
- The type of health care you want to receive in the event you are unable to express those wishes later in life through an Advance Health Care Directive;
- Allowing someone else the power of attorney should you be unable to communicate your wishes.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have a written plan to take care of my family in the event I am unable to?
- Who will take care of my spouse when I die? My minor children or elderly parents?
- Have I identified and valued my assets?
- What happens to my property once I become disabled or die?
For more information regarding Estate Planning, please call us at 619-441-2500 for a free consultation today!