Estate Planning Lawyer in Pacifica, California
Are you a Pacifica, CA resident thinking about estate planning? Virtually every adult can benefit from having a solid estate plan in place. Although an estate plan could change through the years, it is important to have a plan in the event of death or incapacitation. Of course, no one ever expects to become incapacitated, but it does happen. And we all hope we’ll live for a very long time—but again, that is not always the case. An estate plan ensures those you care about will be taken care of when the unthinkable happens. Wherever you are in your life, Pacifica estate planning attorney Mark Gullotta can craft an estate plan to fully meet your needs. Helping clients plan for the future is what we do—The Law Office of Mark Gullotta is here for you!
Pacifica, CA Estate Planning
Most adults with any assets at all, or those who have a family, should at least have a Last Will and Testament. Depending on the size of your estate—as well as other factors—you may or may not need a full-blown estate plan. Your Pacifica estate planning attorney can help you understand estate taxes in California as well as helping minimize the probate process. Charitable giving and business succession can also be incorporated into your estate plan.
A Will can be a relatively simple document, setting forth your wishes for the distribution of assets. It can also include your wishes regarding the care of your minor children. An estate plan also does these things, but can include other, equally important, documents. These documents can significantly benefit your loved ones and can name a person to make decisions should you become incapacitated. Pacifica estate planning attorney Mark Gullotta is ready to prepare an estate plan that precisely meets the needs of you and your loved ones.
How a Pacifica Estate Planning Attorney Can Help with Wills and Trusts
Could you benefit from a Will? How About a Trust? Maybe you could benefit from having both a Will and a Trust. Should you die without a Will, the state of California will determine how your assets are divided, and who will be the guardian for your children. Both Wills and Trusts are estate planning tools that ensure your assets are protected and go to those you choose. A Will can name a guardian for your children and becomes active only upon your death.
Most Wills must go through the California probate process, which can be lengthy and expensive. If family members contest the Will, the process can be extremely contentious as well. A Trust can offer certain benefits while you are alive, taking effect as soon as it is funded. Pacifica estate planning attorney Mark Gullotta can help you determine whether you need a Will, a Trust, or both. Mark can explain the different types of Trusts to you, clearly outlining the advantages and disadvantages of Wills and Trusts.
When a person dies and leaves a Will, he or she likely named a personal representative, or executor in that Will. This person is tasked with organizing all assets, paying all taxes and creditors, and ensuring the rightful beneficiaries receive their inheritance. If no personal representative is named, the court will appoint one for probate administration purposes. Information will be gathered by the personal representative, identifying beneficiaries, creditors, and assets of the estate. The personal representative will submit the Will to the court, and probate will be opened. Creditor notices must be sent after a personal representative’s appointment.
If the decedent was receiving public health care benefits, the representative will provide notice to the Department of Health Care Services. All the decedent’s real estate, bank accounts, valuable personal property, financial assets, and intellectual properties will be inventoried. Appraisals will be made by the court appointed Probate Referee, and the personal representative will file final income tax returns. If you have been appointed personal representative or are considering who to appoint as your personal representative, contact Pacifica estate planning attorney, Mark Gullotta.
Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples
If you are an unmarried couple in Pacifica, it is important that you take steps to ensure your partner’s rights are protected in the event of your death or incapacitation—and vice-versa. While state-sanctioned marriage brings certain rights and responsibilities, unmarried couples must create their own legally enforceable contracts. There are special planning needs required in this situation, and they can be extremely important.
As an example, the unlimited marital deduction only applies to married couples. This makes it tough to eliminate estate tax on the death of the first partner of an unmarried couple. One method of dealing with this particular problem is for both partners to purchase life insurance, making the other the beneficiary. Mark Gullotta is a highly experienced Pacifica estate planning attorney who can help ensure your contract is legally enforceable.
Advance Directives, Power of Attorney, and Guardianship Issues in Pacifica, CA
In addition to a Will and/or a Trust, all adults should have an Advance Health Care Directive in place. This document allows you to name a trusted person to make healthcare and/or financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This incapacitation could result from an illness, or an accident—neither of which are foreseeable. You can also state in your Advance directive what life saving methods you would want, and which you would not (ventilator, intubation, tube feeding, etc.). You might want to also consider a Power of Attorney document as a part of your estate plan.
A POA permits another person of your choice to make decisions on your behalf. A Durable POA is similar to an Advance Health Care Directive, in that if you are incapacitated, another person can make healthcare decisions for you. There are many other types of POAs as well, for different situations. You may also have questions regarding California guardianships. If so, Pacifica estate planning attorney, Mark Gullotta can help you determine which documents you need.
How Pacifica Estate Planning Attorney Mark Gullotta Can Help
If you need a comprehensive evaluation of your estate planning needs, attorney Mark Gullotta can help. The Law Office of Mark Gullotta offers upfront pricing and the most comfortable planning experience possible. Contact Pacifica estate planning attorney Mark Gullotta today!