Many people throughout the country share a common misconception that estate planning is only for the wealthy. However, estate planning is for anyone concerned about his or her heirs enjoying the full benefits of inheritance without facing copious amounts of stress, costs, and time. In particular, if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, then estate planning may be for you:

Do you want to ensure that your property will pass to the right people with minimal delay, red tape, and cost?

Do you have young children and want to ensure that they will be properly cared for if you’re not around to do it?

Do you want to leave specific instructions about your finances and medical care in case you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions for yourself?

The attorneys at Hoffman & Forde, Attorneys at Law, can draft a set of documents to address your unique needs and expectations in order to protect your goals, loved ones and assets. For example, if you have a modest estate, you might use a simple will or living trust, or both. If you have a large estate, you might consider leaving property to beneficiaries in more complicated ongoing trusts.

Our firm can also advise on co-ownership property rights, transfer-on-death accounts, and beneficiary designations. Having an established estate plan can help reduce the amount of delay between the time of your passing and the date when your heirs finally receive the benefits of your generosity. Estate planning can also minimize the financial impact of probate and the claims of creditors against your estate.

If you do not have an estate plan, the disposition of your property will be left to the state courts to decide through the probate process, which is often expensive, time-consuming, and rarely results in any benefit to the beneficiaries. However, many estate planning techniques provide lawful probate avoidance methods that can keep most of your estate out of probate, saving your loved ones time and money. Additionally, estate planning can help reduce the taxes that your estate may owe after your death.

Typical estate plan documents include the following:

Last Will and Testament

A document in which you name an “executor,” who has legal authority to administer the transfer of your property per your designated intentions.

Trusts

A fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, called a “trustee,” to hold assets on your behalf and your beneficiaries. Trusts can be arranged in many ways and can specify how and when your assets pass to your beneficiaries.

Durable Power of Attorney

Establishes responsibility and guidelines for if you become incapacitated that directs a person of your choosing to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf.

Health Care Directive

A HIPAA compliant document that guides your relatives and health care providers when determining medical decisions on your behalf.

Business Succession Planning

Helps owners of family-owned or closely held businesses protect the business and assets in the event of their incapacitation or death.

Our firm can help draft all of these documents and more. Our experienced San Diego estate planning attorneys are ready and willing to advise you on the best estate plan for you and your family based on your unique circumstances and goals.

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Hoffman & Forde, Attorneys at Law has its principal business office in San Diego, California and its attorneys are licensed to practice law in the state of California. Hoffman & Forde, Attorneys at Law only seeks to solicit and serve Clients in California. This is an advertisement and communication pursuant to State Bar Rules. Materials on this website have been prepared by Hoffman & Forde, Attorneys at Law for informational purposes only and do not constitute a solicitation or legal service. Transmission of the materials and information contained herein is not intended to create, and receipt thereof does not constitute formation of, an attorney-client privilege. The information contained herein is general legal information only, which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. Hoffman & Forde, Attorneys at Law expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any of the contents of this website. This website is not a substitute for legal advise from qualified legal counsel. Please do not send us private or confidential information through this website. Contacting us via email, fax, mail, or telephone does not create an attorney-client relationship (only signing a legal retainer will do this). Any communication sent or given to us relating to a matter for which we do not already represent you will not be treated as privileged or confidential.