Estate Planning Process: Initial Meeting

Estate Planning Process: Initial Meeting

I’d like to thank you for asking us to help you with your estate planning.

I wanted to send you the short video so that you could have some idea of what to expect for our very first meeting. Before our very first meeting, we’re going to send you a packet of information, and in that packet is a brief questionnaire that we will ask for you to complete in advance of our first meeting. Once we do meet, we’ll have about 45 minutes to an hour to get to know each other.

During that meeting, I’m going to ask you questions about your family, your loved ones, your property, your assets and so on. I’m also going to ask you questions about what your goals and objectives are. That’s very important so that as we continue with our planning, we have your goals and objectives clearly in mind.

At the end of the first meeting, we’re going to have a clear idea of where we’re going. And after that, we’re going to schedule the next meeting, which is the design meeting. I’ll send you some information about the design meeting in another video. For now, thank you again for asking us to help you with your estate planning.

Our Estate Planning Process

Our Estate Planning Process

I’d like to talk to you about our 4-step estate planning process.

Our first meeting is called the Right Fit meeting. During this meeting, we’ll talk about you, your family and your goals and objectives.Then we’ll offer a suggestion of a strategy to deal with your goals and objectives. After this meeting, if you decide to move forward with us, we’ll schedule the next meeting, which is the design meeting.

Our second meeting together is our design meeting. During this meeting, I’ll ask you a lot of questions about how you want your estate to work. I’ll ask you questions such as who you want to inherit your property and how you want them to receive it. I’ll also ask you questions about who you want in the important roles in your estate.

For example:

  • Who do you want tobe the successor trustee of your trust?
  • Who do you want to be the agentunder a durable power of attorney for finances?
  • Who you want to be your health care agent?

These are just some of the questions that I’ll ask you during the design meeting. After the design meeting, we begin to prepare your planned documents. Once we’re done with drafting your documents, we’ll send them to you to review. Then the next step is to schedule the third meeting, which is the review meeting.

Our third meeting together is the review meeting. By this meeting, you should have received drafts ofyour estate planning documents and have gone over them. During the review meeting, we’ll hit the high points of your plan and make sure that we have the right people in the right roles for your plan. We’ll make sure that everything is the way that you want it to be in your plan. We’ll also answer any questions that you may have. Finally, if you have any changes to your plan, let us know and of course, we’ll make those.

Our fourth and final meeting is the signing meeting. By this point, we’ve prepared your documents and we’ve had the review meeting where we’ve gone over everything and make sure that it’s the way that you want it to be. At the signing meeting, you sign the documents.This is done in front of a notary, so please bring your driver’s license or a government issued picture ID. If we’re preparing deeds for you, you will sign the deeds to transfer your home into the trust.

After the signing meeting, you are done with your estate plan. We’ll sign and notarize all the documentsthat need to be signed and notarized. Then we’ll scan the documents and create a USB drive containing PDFs of all of your estate planning documents. We’ll send you your final original estate planning documents in the estate planning binder along with a USB drive containing PDFs of all of your documents. If we’ve prepared a deed for you, we’ll mail the deed to the county recorder so that the deed gets recorded.

This is an overview of our estate planning process. I’m Matthew Crowder, and I look forward to working with you.

Estate Planning vs Elder Law

Estate Planning vs Elder Law

We’re often asked about the difference between estate planning and elder law. The two go hand in hand. One notable similarity is that that they are both more universal than most people think. Estate planning is not only for those with large estates, and elder law is not only for the elderly, but there are also important distinctions between the two.

Let’s talk about estate planning. Estate planning focuses on an individual’s assets, how they should be held while the individual is still living, and how they should be distributed after that person dies. An estate planning attorney can use tax planning strategies to minimize estate taxes. Proper estate planning will also use substitutes for a will to minimize the cost of probate. Of primary importance to many people is the ability to make specific choices regarding who the beneficiaries of the assets are. With the help of an estate planning attorney, an individual can create a plan that reflects the wishes of the person about how his or his property should be distributed upon their death.

Without a proper estate plan in place, assets will be distributed according to the strict requirements in the Probate Code, which may be well different from what the person wants. Additionally, an estate plan and attorney can create a plan that includes protecting the needs of minor children and family members with disabilities so that each family is best provided for according to their unique and individual needs.

Now, let’s talk about Elder Law. Elder Law is a broad field that encompasses many different areas of the law. It’s not just for the elderly, and it can be most effective when it is started before someone reaches an advanced age. Elder law focuses on providing a plan to continue living according to one’s wishes as that person get solder while remaining in good financial standing.

Depending on the individual circumstances, this plan can include trusts, gifts to family members, buying long term care insurance, and qualifying for medical or VA benefits. Elder Law planning also may include many of the estate planning tools, such as trusts and powers of attorney to avoid the needs for conservatorship. The plan could also include medical planning so that the individual can name someone to make health care decisions if that individual can’t anymore. A proper Elder law plan should be a comprehensive holistic plan, taking into account the specific needs of the individual and his or her needs as they age.

Now, attorneys practicing in the fields of estate planning and elder law share a common goal to help their clients achieve their wishes while protecting their property and assets for themselves and their loved ones. It is important to reach out to a qualified elder care and a state planning attorney for ensuring that you have plans for your future. My name is Matthew Kreider, and thank you for watching.

Mentor’s Advice: Just Do It!

Mentor’s Advice: Just Do It!

You should just do it. I wanted to share with you some advice that I got from one of my mentors. And this is probably the biggest piece of advice that I’ve ever received. The piece of advice I received is to get started.

Now, I know in estate planning, the biggest issue that I see is people who just don’t do their estate planning. They procrastinate. They put it off month to month or year to year.

And I wanted to talk to you about a story. One of my family friends was talking with me one day, and she was telling me about a cousin of hers who wanted to go to law school. The problem, however, was that he was 40, and he felt that he was too old to go to law school. That law school is three years if you go straight through fulltime. If you go part time, it could be five or six years.

And she asked him a very direct question, and that question was, if you don’t go to law school, how old will you be in five years? Well, of course, the answer was that he would be 45 years old regardless of whether he went to law school or not. And so the point is that he should have just gone through with it if that was one of his goals and dreams.

One of my favorite quotes comes from musician Henry Rollins, and he says, there’s no such thing as downtime. There’s no such thing as free time. There’s no such thing as spare time. The only thing we have is lifetime. And that’s very true, because none of us really know when we might die and pass away. We can plan for it. We can hope for a ripe old age. We could hope for a long retirement. But the fact is that none of us know when we will pass away.

Another one of my favorite quotes comes from the actor Anthony Hopkins, and he said, to paraphrase, that none of us are getting out of here alive, so treat yourself well, because there’s no time for anything else. And so here’s what I’d like you to do. I would like you to commit and take action.

And there are two simple things that I would ask for you to do now. The first is to download our free guide, the “10 Most Gruesome Estate Planning Mistakes” and read it. This will give you some insight into what I see as the ten most common mistakes that people commit with their estate planning.

The second thing that I would ask for you to do is use the link to schedule your initial meeting about estate planning. We call this our Right Fit meeting. And this is where we can sit down, we can talk and discuss what your concerns are, what your goals are, and figure out what the best path for you and your loved ones. So to borrow a marketing phrase, you should just do it. You should just get started.

Who to Pick as Successor Trustee?

Who to Pick as Successor Trustee?

One question I get a lot of is who should I take as my successor trustee? A little background is in order here. A trust is a legal relationship where a trustee holds legal title to property for another person. That other person is called the beneficiary. The trust document will name who the trustee is.

Now, there are several different types of trusts. The simplest one is a revocable living trust. In this type of trust, usually the person who creates the trust is the trustee during his or her lifetime. Then, when the person who creates the trust dies, another person takes over as trustee. This trustee, known as the successor trustee is named in the original trust document.

If you create a trust, you will need a separate person or institution called a trustee to manage the trust either now or in the future when you pass away. Choosing the right trustee is crucial to making sure your wishes are carried out. The choice is very important because being a trustee can be a difficult job. The trust’s duties include making proper investments, paying bills, keeping accounts and preparing tax returns. Bottom line the trustee is supposed to follow the terms of the trust for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries.

Now, the law isn’t very strict about who may serve as your trustee. As long as the person is legally competent, meaning he or she is over the ages of 18 and is capable of managing his or her own affairs, that person can be trustee. The trustee has a duty to manage the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

Time and again I’ve seen people pick someone in for the role of trustee who really shouldn’t be the trustee. When this person, the successor trustee, takes over management and control of the trust assets, bad things can happen. For example, the trustee may mismanage the trust property. The trustee may use the trust assets for his or her own benefit and so on.

So how do you choose the right person as trustee? First, the main consideration when selecting a trustee is picking someone who is trustworthy. You want someone who is going to follow your wishes as you’ve expressed them in the trust document. Next, the trustee must have the ability to manage the trust. This means that the trustee must be detail oriented. Third, the trustee does not need legal or financial expertise but he or she must have good judgment.

Now, if you don’t know anyone who meets these qualifications, you can look into hiring an independent trustee. This can be an individual or an institution who has some financial knowledge. Some examples include a bank or trust company, a professional trustee, a financial advisor, a CPA or a lawyer.

Of all the cases I’ve worked on where the beneficiaries have sued the trustee for mismanagement, none have involved a professional trustee. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen. Just that in my experience it’s the family member trustee who mismanages the trust property, not the professional trustee.

Now choosing the right person to serve as your trustee is an important decision. In fact, I suggest it is the most important decision you can make about your estate. It’s more important than who gets what and when they get it. Spend some time thinking about who you want as your successor trustee. If you have any questions, I’m Matthew Crider and I’m here for you. Thank you for watching.

Can a Will Avoid Probate?

Can a Will Avoid Probate?

A lot of people ask me if a will can help you avoid probate. And unfortunately fortunately, in California, the answer to the question is no. It will not help you avoid probate. In fact, a will guarantees probate.

There are only three ways that you can avoid probate in California.

The first is to have what’s called a small estate. Under current law, to have a small estate, you can’t have more than $150,000 in your name total, and you can’t own real estate worth more than $5,000.

The second way to avoid probate is to do what’s called a spousal set aside. This is a procedure where the surviving spouse can use essentially a shortcut to claim the deceased spouse’s property. Now, the problem with the spouse set aside is it only works for the death of the first spouse. If the surviving spouse hasn’t done estate planning himself or herself, that spouse’s estate would then have to go through probate.

The third way to avoid probate is to have a revocable living trust. Now, we’re going to talk about a revocable living trust in another video. But to answer the question, will it help you avoid probate? The answer is no. I’m Matthew Kreider, and thank you for watching.

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