Quinton J. Miller
ATTORNEY AT LAW
The purpose of estate planning is to arrange for the smooth management and distribution of your assets, both before and after death. Absent proper planning, your estate will have to go through probate, the expensive and very public legal proceeding whereby a judge determines who is entitled to your assets.
In addition, a good estate plan will nominate guardians for minor children, and provide for their care while protecting the estate.
What’s wrong with probate? It’s expensive, public, and long. By statute, an attorney’s fee for a basic $300,000 estate can exceed $9,000! Everything you own is made a matter of public record. Probate typically takes at least seven months to conclude, but can easily drag on for years. In most cases, a trust is necessary to avoid probate. Please click a topic below to learn more.
• Living Trust
A living trust is the cornerstone of a good estate plan. Like a will, a living trust allows you to transfer your property to your beneficiaries after you pass away—but with several key differences. A living trust is not subject to probate; a trust gives your successor immediate access and control of your assets; and a trust generally remains private.
You can think of a trust like a box that you place your assets into. As trustee you control the assets in the trust, just as if they were in your own name. Upon your death, title to the assets remains in the trust, and an individual you selected previously takes your place as trustee of the trust, with full authority to manage the assets and distribute them per your wishes.
Without a trust in place, the estate will usually go through probate, the legal proceeding whereby a judge determines who is entitled to the assets. Probate is complicated, expensive, and very public. The probate proceeding usually takes at least nine months to complete, and often longer.
• Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is used to appoint an agent to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to act. This is especially important in an estate planning context, ensuring that someone you trust has the authority to manage your affairs should you lack the capacity to do so. A power of attorney and advance health directive are the two most important documents you can have in place during your lifetime.
• Advance Health Directive
An advance health directive is used to appoint an agent to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to act. One of the most important decisions you can authorize another to make is the authority to terminate life support if you are in a vegetative state. A power of attorney and advance health directive are the two most important documents you can have in place during your lifetime.
9401 E. Stockton Blvd., Ste 210
Elk Grove, CA 95624