TRUTNER LAW OFFICES
A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
925.447.1222
info@trutnerlaw.com
2109 Fourth Street, Livermore, CA
What is Estate Planning?
 
An Estate is the entirety of a property, real and personal, owned by an individual prior to distribution through a trust or will. Estate planning is the process by which an individual, or nuclear family with the person's consent and approval, arranges the transfer of assets to heirs or other beneficiaries. The reason for this is to provide specifically identified beneficiaries with legal rights to the property after the individual has passed away.
 
Estate Planning documents include:
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Advance Health CareDirectives

Trutnerlaw can do more than just manufacture a simple will. Estate planning also typically minimizes potential taxes and fees, and sets up contingency planning to carry out your wishes.


 

Trusts
 
A trust is a relationship in which a person, called a trustor, transfers something of value, called an asset, to another person, called a trustee. The trustee then manages and controls this asset for the benefit of a third person, called a beneficiary. An asset is any kind of property.
 
Types of Trusts include:
 
  • Irrevocable Trust - A Trust that cannot be altered, changed, modified or revoked after its creation (absent extreme extenuating circumstances). Once a grantor transfers property to an irrevocable Trust, the grantor can no longer take the property back from the Trust.
  • "Living" Trust - A Trust created during the lifetime of a grantor which can be altered, changed, modified or revoked. Typically the grantor is the initial Trustee as well as the initial beneficiary of the Trust, with his/her spouse and children as the ultimate beneficiaries of the Trust.
  • Special Needs Trust - A Trust that is established for a person who receives government benefits so as not to disqualify the beneficiary from such government benefits. Ordinarily when a person is receiving government benefits, an inheritance or receipt of a gift could reduce or eliminate the person's eligibility for such benefits. By establishing a Trust which provides for luxuries or other benefits which otherwise could not be obtained by the beneficiary, the beneficiary can obtain the benefits from the Trust without defeating his/her eligibility for government benefits.
  • Spendthrift Trust - A Trust that is established for a beneficiary which does not allow the beneficiary to sell or pledge away his or her interests in the Trust. A spendthrift Trust is beyond the reach of the beneficiaries creditors, until such time as the Trust property is distributed out of the Trust and placed in the hands of the beneficiary.
  • Tax By-Pass Trust - A type of Trust that is created to allow one spouse to leave money to the other, while limiting the amount of Federal Estate tax bite that would be payable on the death of the second spouse.
  • Testamentary Trust - A Trust that is included under the terms and conditions established in a Will. Such Trusts take effect after the death of the person making the Will.


Wills
 
A Will is a written document, generally prepared with the help of an attorney, that provides instructions for the disposition of a decedent's (deceased person's) property.
 
Types of Wills include:
 
  • Simple Will - A that provides for the outright distribution of assets for an uncomplicated estate.
  • Holographic or Handwritten Will - A Will that you prepare in your own handwriting. In some states, no witnesses are required. Holographic Wills are recognized in about twenty states.
  • Statutory Will - A Will that is a “fill-in-the-blank”, “check the boxes” form that is easy to fill out, inexpensive to prepare, but very limited in its uses. Only a few states accept a statutory will.
  • Testamentary Trust Will - A Will that sets up one or more trusts for the distribution of part or all of one’s estate at the time of death.
  • Pour-Over Will - A Will that “pours over” property into a Trust when you die. Property left through the Will must go through probate before it is placed into the Trust.

 

Power of Attorney
 
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which the writer appoints a person the right to act on his behalf. The authority you give that person depends on the specific language of the Power Of Attorney form. Sometimes people may make their power of attorney form very broad or sometimes may limit the appointee to very specific actions. A Power of attorney can be used to give some one the right to sign a contract for you, make healthcare decisions, to handle your money or money transactions, the right to sell your home or car, and including any other legal right to do what the maker of the power of attorney can do themselves.
 
Types of Power of Attorney include:
 
  • Limited Power of Attorney - A document that gives the appointed delegate the authority to do a specific act, like only the authority to sell your home for you.
  • General Power of Attorney - A document that usually gives the appointed delegate the very broad powers to perform any legal act on behalf of the maker of the Power Of Attorney. These are often times used to list activities you want the appointed delegate to perform.
  • Durable Power of Attorney - A document created because Limited and General Power of Attorney terminate if the principal (maker of the Power of Attorney) becomes incapacitated. A Durable Power Of Attorney will not terminate it will continue to remain effective even if a person becomes incapacitated. In every state there are usually laws were a Durable Power of Attorney can no longer be used for an incapacitated principal in certain circumstances. A Durable Power Of Attorney must contain special wording that provides the powers given to the delegate to survive the incapacity of the principal. A Durable Power Of Attorney is effective as soon as the principal signs it unless it specifies that there are conditions but the conditions must be within your states laws.

 
Advance Health Care
 
An Advance Health Care Directive allows you to name someone (an Agent) to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Advance Health Care Directives allow you to state your wishes about certain medical procedures, and generally only goes into effect when you are no longer able to make your own health care decisions.