Comprehensive Estate Planning from the Business Law Group
Individuals, business owners, and their families need high-quality, comprehensive estate planning. If you think that you should make an estate plan, there is no better time than now. Life can change very quickly. A solid estate plan can protect you and your family no matter what happens. It's very important for everyone to do estate planning sooner than later, because your plan can affect what happens to your life and assets if you are no longer around. Do you want to protect your family if you could no longer work or provide for them? Or do you want to pass your business on to family members? Making an estate plan is a great choice for your goals.
Why Everyone Needs Estate Planning
Everyone needs estate planning in place. Taking the time to make your estate plan could protect your family and yourself if anything happens to you. If you own a business, the estate plan could protect the business and your business partners too. It's an unfortunate truth that anyone could face disability, divorce, or even death at any time.
When someone becomes disabled, they may have difficulty making decisions. It’s a good idea to have a plan in place stating who will make those decisions instead. For example, you can appoint someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf. In the document appointing this person, you can specify certain types of medical care that you want to receive or do not want to receive. Moreover, you can appoint someone else to handle your finances if you cannot. A trusted relative or friend can make sure your bills are paid and your investments maintained.
Estate plans also can protect you in case of divorce. There are many available tools to safeguard your separate assets just in case a divorce happens in the future. For example, you may want an agreement between you and your spouse that specifies what happens to your assets if you divorce. In addition, your estate plan can clarify your children’s right to inheritance if you divorce and remarry.
Finally, your estate plan can provide important protection for your estate and your family if you should pass away in the future. For example, your plan can help keep your assets out of probate, saving your family time, hassle, and money. In California, distributing an estate through probate court can take years. With a careful estate plan, your family could receive your estate much sooner without the need for court proceedings.
Estate Planning Tools and Strategies You Can Use
You can use a variety of estate planning tools and strategies to gain greater peace of mind about your legacy. Initially, you may wonder whether you need any estate planning beyond a will explaining who will receive your estate after death. For many people, the answer is definitely yes. At the Business Law Group, we evaluate clients' wishes and assets on a case-by-case basis to craft estate plans that protect our clients, their families, and any businesses they own. Some examples of tools and strategies that we commonly employ for California clients include:
- Revocable living trusts
- Durable powers of attorney
- Health care directives
- Premarital and community property agreements
- Irrevocable trusts
- Charitable remainder and other specialty trusts
- Asset protection planning
If you’re not familiar with any of these items, don’t worry. Our team will walk you through our proposal for an estate plan that suits your needs and goals. We can explain how each tool or strategy can help you. For example, many people may want a power of attorney in place. A power of attorney allows someone else to act for you in matters you specify. You can sign a durable power of attorney in California that allows someone else to handle your medical decisions or financial affairs, even if you no longer have mental capacity. Many people may find that this document gives them peace of mind that someone else can step in should they become unable to manage finances.
Estate Planning for Business Owners
If you’re a business owner, estate planning can protect your legacy and your business in tandem. While many business agreements do state what happens if a partner decides to leave the business, they may not explain clearly what happens if a business owner becomes disabled, divorces, or dies. Without an appropriate business agreement and estate plan in place, the business owner’s legacy could be in trouble.
If a business owner becomes disabled, they may not be able to fulfill responsibilities for the business. This could place a disproportionate load on the other partners or cause the business to lose money. Many business owners need assistance creating an estate plan that accounts for sudden disability. The plan could involve changes to your business agreement and personal documents such as a power of attorney for health care decisions.
Further, if a business owner gets divorced, their stake in the business could be at risk. In California, community property laws may require divorcing couples evenly split assets like business value. For example, if your business grew in value during your marriage, you may have to give your spouse a portion of your share in the business upon divorce. This is an undesirable outcome for many business owners – those getting divorced and their business partners. Fortunately, there are estate planning and business strategies that can protect your share in the business should a divorce happen.
Finally, if a business owner dies, their estate plan and business agreement will dictate what happens to their share in the business. If the business agreement is silent, the deceased partner’s share will pass to their heirs. This could be an undesirable result for the heirs or the other business partners. If you're unsure what happens to your share of the business should the worst happen, now is the time to check. A solid business agreement coupled with a personal estate plan that addresses your business and personal assets can help give you peace of mind.
How the Business Law Group Can Help You with Estate Planning
At the Business Law Group, our client-focused estate planning services cater to your individual needs. We will discuss your estate plan in depth throughout the process of creating it. Feel free to ask our team any questions about how the estate plan will function and how to get it set up. You should understand how your estate plan protects you and your family. Our comprehensive estate planning services are designed to give you the peace of mind that you need for the future. To get started right away, call our firm to make an appointment.
Call the Business Law Group When You Need Comprehensive Estate Planning
Are you thinking about how to protect your legacy? Want to provide for your family in the future? Do you have questions about how you can pass on your business to others? The Business Law Group’s highly experienced team would like to help you achieve your estate planning goals. Our team has decades of experience with the issues that matter the most to you. We advise California individuals and families about estate planning tools and strategies. Please contact us at your convenience to schedule an appointment. You can reach the Business Law Group by calling (408) 979-7800 or by filling out our Contact form.
Contact Us Today
Business Law Group is committed to answering your questions about Business and Estate Planning law issues in California. We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.