Mission Hills Estate Planning Attorney

Seasoned Estate Planning Attorneys Provide Personalized Advice to Clients in Mission Hills, CA

Estate planning is not merely an issue that should be important for the very wealthy, and is not merely a tax avoidance scheme—every single person should have some type of estate plan in place in order to protect their loved ones and assets in the event of death or extreme disability. A verbal plan that is expressed to loved ones is simply not sufficient to ensure that your wishes will be carried out, and your values protected, in these circumstances. an estate plan can start out as a simple set of just a few brief documents to ensure that your wishes are known, and eventually branch out into a comprehensive asset protection and distribution plan as your circumstances change.

At the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman, our experienced team of Mission Hills estate planning professionals have empathy for clients who may have a difficult time discussing their estate planning needs. We also understand that it is impossible to accurately predict the future, which makes it essential to retain the best possible legal representation in formulating your plan for that uncertain future. Safeguarding your wishes is our top priority, so contact our offices so that we can go to work in evaluating your estate planning needs today.

Basic Estate Planning Documentation

Estate planning is all about documenting your wishes in anticipation of a time when you are no longer in a position to make those wishes verbally known. Because human memory is inherently unreliable, estate planning necessarily involves a significant amount of paperwork. The following types of documents will have a significant role in most Mission Hills estate plans:

  • Revocable Living Trusts. This type of trust document is one that can be changed over time, and provides for a transfer of assets into a trust, which will benefit certain named beneficiaries, in order to remove those assets from the probate estate. This means that those assets will not have to go through the lengthy and expensive probate process. A revocable living trust designates a trustee, and usually a co-trustee, to manage the assets and eventually control distributing those assets to your loved ones.
  • Last Will and Testament. A will, or pour-over will, handles the assets that are not transferred into trust. Specific procedures, including having witnesses to the will’s execution, are used in order to prevent future will contests and ensure the validity of the will.
  • Advance Health Care Directives. The advance health care directive provides detailed instructions about your wishes for medical care if you become incapacitated. A power of attorney can also give someone the right to make these future decisions on your behalf.
  • Durable Power of Attorney. Powers of attorney give someone the right to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you become unable to do so.

While these basic documents are vital in any well-structured estate plan, they can be individualized to reflect your specific needs and goals. Many clients wish to use certain types of marital trusts in order to provide income to a current spouse for life, but make sure that their children receive the income-producing assets in the future. Other clients choose a trust structure that can protect a financially irresponsible beneficiary by limiting discretionary distributions and protecting the trust assets from the beneficiary’s creditors. Charitably minded clients can even create structures designed to provide ongoing future benefits to their favorite charitable organizations.

Mission Hills Estate Planning Attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman Focuses on Individualized Planning Needs

When it comes to estate planning, the possibilities really are endless. Any number of different types of structures can be used to ensure that your wishes are clearly spelled out and executed successfully after your death. Our estate planning attorney prides himself on taking our clients’ specific needs and goals into consideration in each and every case, and will work tirelessly to structure a comprehensive estate plan that fully accounts for those desires.

Contact Our Mission Hills, CA Estate Planning Attorney to Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Your Planning Needs Today

At the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman, we treat our clients and their loved ones with compassion and respect. Our work does not end after you have died—we will help your loved ones understand the estate plan that you carefully put into place during your life, and can also help with the difficult process of administering your estate. If you are interested in beginning work on your estate plan, fill out our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation with our skilled team of Mission Hills estate planning professionals today. Our office is conveniently located at 8912 Haskell Ave., North Hills, CA 91343.

About Mission Hills, CA

Mission Hills, California is a residential area located near the population center of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley. Mission Hills was named for the original Spanish Mission San Fernando Rey de España, and includes the second oldest residence in the Los Angeles area and the oldest cemetery in the area. As of 2010, only 18,496 individuals lived in the Mission Hills area, many of whom commute to the urban centers of Los Angeles for work each day.

FAQ: Why do I need an attorney to help me with estate planning issues in Mission Hills, CA? An experienced estate planning attorney will understand the intricacies and realities in estate planning, and can help make the process go much more smoothly. Additionally, even the most carefully drafted estate plan can cause conflict among beneficiaries, making expert legal representation extremely valuable.

FAQ: How can an estate plan help me avoid estate taxes on my estate? The federal estate tax exemption was recently expanded, so that it now exempts around $11.4 million per individual from estate tax. This means that a married couple can have up to about $22.8 million worth of assets before any assets are subject to the estate tax. Despite this, these rules tend to change, and the new exemption limit is only temporary. A variety of trust structures can be used to remove valuable assets from an individual’s estate to reduce the overall value of the gross estate so that it falls below the exemption amount. Lifetime gifting strategies can also be useful in taking advantage of the currently high exemption amount, although these techniques tend to be irreversible. An experienced estate planning attorney can provide a more in-depth explanation of potential tax minimization techniques.