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Retirement Form Trumps Will or Trust

If you like gambling with cards, don't carry that over to your designated IRA or Retirement fund beneficiaries. We all know a full house trumps a straight in poker. But did you know this, a Retirement form trumps a Will or Trust? That's right. If you are considering the designation of your Retirement fund in a Will don't waste the ink. It won't work. There are cases in which a divorcee failed to change his or her Retirement fund beneficiary from a now divorced spouse.

Estate Planning and Incapacity

       Believe it or not, most people are more reluctant to plan for incapacity than death. More individuals can accept death but not incapacity. They can accept the graveyard but not the nursing home. When I asked one elder male client why he knew he would never go to a nursing home he responded , "because of my .45 caliber pistol I keep in my chest of drawers". Okay, but what if you have a stroke and can't pull the trigger. Incapacity, physical and mental, must be addressed in your documents. Why wouldn't you want to determine where you lived and who would care for you post-stroke or other incapacitating event?

Estate Planning with Durable Powers of Attorney

       Many clients are confused regarding the use of Durable Powers of Attorney in their Estate Plan. In California we have two separate documents, the Healthcare Power of Attorney, known as the Advanced Healthcare Directive (AHCD). The Financial Power of Attorney is called the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney (UDPA).

Estate Planning with Protective Inheritance Trust (PIT) Provisions

       Okay, you've got a child who doesn't understand marriage and is twice-divorced; a child who attracts lawsuits like teenage groupies to a rock star; or, a child who flirts with bankruptcy like a "hot" swimsuit model.

Estate Planning with the Home and Other Real Property

       Okay, put down the remote and give me 5 minutes. We need to talk about Estate Planning with your home and possibly other real property. Would you like the Court to take away your home; would you prefer to die in a lonely nursing facility and not in your home; would you care that a judge, who you don't even know, decides who gets your home at your death; would you want your children to pay extra, and unnecessary, property taxes on your home as part of their inheritance?

Estate Planning to Avoid Probate and Other Undesirable Court Proceedings

       Could I save you $112,000? I was sitting in a San Diego Probate Court several months after taking the California Bar and waiting for the results. I was astounded at the fact that a piece of property owned by the Decedent was being assessed statutory probate fees based on its fair market value (f.m.v.) of $1.3 Million. The reason being is that it had mortgages against it of a total of $850,000-- an equity of about $450,000. As I sat there I came to personally realize and exclaim to myself "California doesn't deduct debt in determining statutory probate fees!" No wonder these lawyers were anxious to probate an estate. This particular estate had been in probate about thirteen months. There were some estate tax issues to resolve so the attorneys were also asking for additional exemplary fees which were burdensome on the estate. The heirs sat in dismay as the Court granted request after request for attorney fees, CPA fees, appraisal fees, etc. This was only one of numerous probate accountings being heard by the Court that day. It goes on and on, almost every week of the year. Millions in probate fees being tallied annually. Unbelievable! But why? Why are the dockets filled with probate matters? Oh yeah, of course-- we are dealing with the real world here and the Estate Planning cancer called PROCRASTINATION.

Estate Planning 101

       Attention all procrastinators! We need to talk. There is something you have been putting off and don't quite understand. Over the next thirteen weeks, we are going to be talking about Estate Planning. That's right, the subject you've been postponing because it makes you face the reality of life, which includes aging, death and possibly, incapacity. Oh, sorry. It's not a good time? Okay, when will it be a good time? On the way to the hospital in the back of an ambulance? Hooked up to a machine? After that catastrophic stroke?

Contact

Stephens Law Group
12526 High Bluff Dr.
Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92130
Phone: 858-792-0909
Fax: 858-792-0806
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Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm
Friday 9am-1pm

Video of Jack Stephens' AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

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