Estate Planning

DISCLAIMER: Estate Planning is very complex area of law, and in California is governed by the California Probate Code, California Rules of Court, California Code of Civil Procedure, California Civil Code, and local court rules that vary from county to county, and by both federal and state tax laws. The discussions contained in this website and in any related material are only intended as a brief overview of certain parts of the Probate Code, and the availability of various estate planning mechanisms. If you are considering creating or modifying an estate planning portfolio, it is very important that you call (877) 472-6013, (916) 972-8774, or (916) 972-8779, and speak today with an attorney at   Ihejirika Law Corporation for legal advice and assistance in your case. 


Estate planning entails planning and arranging for the management and disposition of a person's property while the person is still alive, and at, and after death; usually with the intention of minimizing taxes and expenses (gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and income tax), and reducing or eliminating the uncertainties and cost of probate administration, with the ultimate aim of maximizing the value of the estate that the intended beneficiaries actually receive. It also includes planning for the management and care of the person and his/her property and affairs in the event that the person becomes incapacitated due to physical or mental sickness or injury. The estate plan in any particular case can be simple or complex depending on the objectives of the client, bearing in mind the nature and circumstances of the intended beneficiaries. 

Oftentimes people die without creating an estate plan, and leave their families in chaos and disarray because they felt they did not own plenty of property, or felt they were too busy and would get around to it later, or simply because they were uncomfortable thinking about their mortality  Most people do not realize that leaving even a small estate unplanned for can cause discord and bitterness among surviving family members. Similarly, most people do not realize that if they fail to create an estate plan of their own, the state will impose its own plan for them, the result of which may be drastically different from what they would actually have wanted. For example, if a California resident dies without creating a will or trust or some other estate planning mechanism, the person’s estate will be distributed according to California’s intestate laws to persons and in quantities that the person might not have wanted. Similarly, if the person becomes mentally or physically disabled and unable to operate their business and assets, it will be necessary for a conservator to be appointed by the court to manage the business/assets and decide how much of it will be used to provide care for the person.

Everyone has an estate no matter how large or small, consisting of everything the person owns, including their real estate (home, rental properties, land, etc), household goods, jewelry, automobiles, bank and investment accounts, life insurance, etc. When the person dies they inevitably leave all their possessions behind; and when that happens, someone else takes over their property. Wouldn’t it be better to have your affairs handled privately by a person or persons you trust and nominate, rather than by someone appointed by the courts? Wouldn’t you rather specify who gets what and when, rather than have the state decide for you? Wouldn’t you prefer to nominate someone to raise your children as their guardian if you die leaving minor children?

By establishing an estate plan, one can reduce or eliminate the fighting, bickering and unnecessary litigation that often erupts among heirs/beneficiaries after ones’ death. Estate planning allows a person to establish how and when the property they leave behind is passed on to the persons or entities that they choose, and to control the manner in which the property is given to the persons or entities. It also allows one to specify conditions that must be met before the person or entity received all or some of the property, while at the same time minimizing the taxes, legal fees, and court costs. In addition to providing instructions for the disposition of your property during your lifetime and after death, estate planning can include planning for your care if you become disabled; can nominate a guardian for the your minor children’s person and their property/inheritance; can provide for family members with special needs without interfering with their ability to obtain public benefits; can provide for beneficiaries who may be spendthrift or subject to creditor or alimony/support claims; and can provide mechanisms for passing your morals and ideals to your beneficiaries.

Estate plans usually consist of a will, trust, living will (Advanced Health Care Directives), Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters, Final Disposition Instructions, etc.

Now is the best time to create an estate plan . 

Although it can be uncomfortable thinking about ones’ own mortality or incapacity, it is necessary to consider these matters and to create an estate plan. Since death and incapacity can strike without warning, it is important for everyone to put an estate plan in place so as to avoid being caught off guard and unprepared.   Ihejirika Law Corporation will help you create your estate plan now and give you and your family the peace of mind you all need and deserve.

Don’t procrastinate. Call (877) 472-6013, (916) 972-8774, or (916) 972-8779, and speak today with an attorney at   Ihejirika Law Corporation for advice and assistance in creating or modifying your estate plan. An attorney at Ihejirika Law Corporation will help you analyze your financial and family situation and will help you prepare an appropriate estate plan that achieves your particular estate planning goals. 

Don’t delay. Call now. Why wait? Call for a Free Consultation. Speak With An Attorney immediately. 

Call (877) 472-6013, (916) 972-8774, or (916) 972-8779

Estate tax planning plays an important role in choosing the structure and mechanism for an estate plan. For example, for a person dying after 2016, assets left to a qualified surviving spouse or a qualified charity are not subject to federal estate tax; but assets left to others are taxed if the value of that part of the estate exceeds $5,450,000. 

Estate plans should be reviewed and updated from time to time as one’s financial and family situation changes, and as the probate laws change.

The avoidance of the time and expense of probate administration is another important consideration in estate planning. Strategies to avoid probate include the creation of a revocable living trust; the joint ownership of property  (with named death beneficiaries); lifetime gifts; and the purchase life insurance. 

Estate plans can consist of one or more of the following:  Will, Trust (whether revocable or irrevocable), General Power of Attorney for Financial Matters or Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters, Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (aka Living Will or Advanced Health Care Directive), and Final Disposition Instructions, etc.

A will is a legal instrument which you can express your wishes as to who and how your property is to be distributed when you die. In your will you can specify the person, persons or entities who should receive the property you leave behind. You can also name one or more trusted and reliable persons or entities to act as the executor(s) of your will, to manage the distribution of your estate according to the terms specified in the will.
When you create a will, you are the testator of the Will. While you are alive your can amend or revoke your Will at any time. However, once you die your Will becomes irrevocable.
A will has no effect until the testator dies. Therefore, will the testator is alive, the beneficiaries who are named in the will have no enforceable right to receive property under the will. All they have is an expectation, since the testator has the right to amend or revoke at anytime before death.
Although a person’s needs and circumstances may be so simple such that a stand-alone Will may be sufficient by itself as a one and only estate planning instrument, it is normally advisable and prudent to have other estate planning instruments in addition to the will. This is because of the inherent limits to what a person can accomplish through a will, and also because of the time, effort, fees and cost that are involved in process of probate administration through the courts.

Trusts allow for a high degree of control over the management and disbursement of assets, and can be used to provide for the distribution of funds for the benefit of minor children or developmentally disabled children or adults, or to prevent wasteful spending by a spendthrift child. Trusts can also be used to provide asset protection for the beneficiaries. In some circumstances, trusts can also be used to minimize or delay federal estate taxes upon death. Another advantage of a trust is that unlike a will, the terms of a trust can remain private because they do not have to be disclosed to the public.
Different types and variations of trust are available, such as revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, testamentary trusts, QTIP, QDOT, A-B Trusts, bypass trust, bypass trust with GST, etc. Ultimately the type of trust that is appropriate in any given case depends on the objectives and circumstances of the individual client(s).


GENERAL AND DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR FINANCIAL MATTERS A power of attorney is a written instrument that you (the principal) can use to grant another person (the attorney-in-fact) the authority to act on your behalf. People normally create powers of attorney to allow an agent (attorney-in-fact) to act on their behalf when circumstances such as military deployment, long term expedition, incarceration, etc exist that prevent the person from managing their affairs by themselves. Some examples of types of matters for which a person can grant authority to an attorney-in-fact include:  

  • Purchasing, leasing, selling,      or mortgaging real and personal property;
  • Opening, closing and managing      financial accounts and safe deposit boxes;
  • Paying debts and bills;
  • Receiving or collecting money;

You can specify whether the power of attorney takes effect immediately, at a future date, or on the occurrence of a future event; and you can specify a certain date when the power of attorney expires.  A power of attorney can be either a General Power of Attorney or a Durable Power of Attorney. A General Power of Attorney remains valid until the principal terminates or revokes it, become incapacitated, or dies. On the other hand, a Durable Power of Attorney is remains valid until the principal or the principal’s court-appointed guardian terminates or revokes it, or a court order terminates it, or the principal dies. A power of attorney must be notarized and recorded with the county recorder if the intention is to authorize the attorney-in-fact to conduct real estate transactions. Before executing a power of attorney, one should understand the importance and consequences of granting a power of attorney to someone else. The principal is legally bound to transaction made by his or her attorney-in-fact if the transactions are within the authority granted in the power of attorney. In addition, people who reasonably rely on an executed power of attorney will not be liable to the principal for doing so. Because of the enormous powers and consequences that are involved, General Powers of Attorney, and particularly Durable Powers of Attorney should not be executed without very careful thought to the choice of the person you want to authorize to act as your attorney-in-fact, considering the person’s trustworthiness and ability to perform the intended functions; and to how much authority you should grant that person.   Don’t procrastinate. Call (877) 472-6013, (916) 972-8774, or (916) 972-8779, and speak today with an attorney at   Ihejirika Law Corporation for advice and assistance in creating, modifying or revoking your general or durable power of attorney for financial matters. Don’t delay. Call now.     Why wait? Call for a Free Consultation. Speak With An Attorney immediately.  Call (877) 472-6013, (916) 972-8774, or (916) 972-8779.

POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTHCARE, ADVANCE HEALTHCARE DIRECTIVES,  AND LIVING WILLS.  A Power of Attorney for Health Care is an instrument through which a person can name and invest another person with the authority to make healthcare decisions either now or in the future if the person becomes unable to make such decisions for themselves. Although Powers of Attorney For Health Care are sometimes also called living wills, they are not wills in the true sense of the word. In California Power of Attorney For Health Care is sometimes called Advance Health Care Directive, and is governed by California Probate Code 4701. You have the right to amend or revoke your Advance Health Care Directive at any time.   The Advance Health Care Directive contains a power of attorney for health care, through which you can name someone as your agent to make health care decisions for you if you become incapable of making your own decisions or if you want someone else to make those decisions for you now even though you are still capable. You can also name someone else as your alternate agent if your first choice is not willing, able, or available. However your agent cannot be an operator or employee of a community care facility or a residential care facility where you are receiving care, or your supervising health care provider or employee of the health care institution where you are receiving care, unless your agent is related to you or is a co‑worker. Unless you set limits the authority of your agent your agent may make all health care decisions for you, including consent or refusal to any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or otherwise affect a physical or mental condition; select or discharge health care providers and institutions; approve or disapprove diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, and programs of medication, direct the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration and all other forms of health care, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and make anatomical gifts, authorize an autopsy and direct disposition of remains. You need not limit the authority of your agent if you wish to rely on your agent for all health care decisions that may have to be made. Advance Health Care Directives allow you to designate a physician to have primary responsibility for your health care, if you so wish. It also allows you give specific instructions about any aspect of your health care, regardless of whether or not you appoint an agent. Such instructions include your wishes regarding the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of treatment to keep you alive, the provision of pain relief, and any other you wish you may have.  Advance Health Care Directives also allow you to say whether or not you intend to donate your bodily organs and tissues following your death.  Note that if you decide that you wish create a Power of Attorney For Health Care or an Advance Health Care Directive, granting someone authority to make health care decisions for you, you may also consider executing a HIPAA Authorization and Waiver to authorize your health care providers to release your otherwise confidential medical information to the person you have chosen to grant your power of attorney for health care.  

 HIPAA AUTHORIZATION AND WAIVER:   The HIPAA Authorization and Waiver is a document through which you can authorize your health care providers to release information concerning your otherwise confidential medical information to the individuals you designate to act on your behalf in the event of your disability, and to any other individuals who you would also want to have such access.  

     FINAL DISPOSITION INSTRUCTIONS:   Final Disposition Instructions is a document that allows you to specify how you wish to have your remains dealt with after death (i.e., cremation or burial). It allows you to provide details of any prior arrangements you have made regarding the disposition of your body. It also allows you to designate the person or persons to carry-out your wishes.   
Don’t procrastinate. Call (877) 472-6013, (916) 972-8774, or (916) 972-8779, and speak today with an attorney at   Ihejirika Law Corporation for advice and assistance in creating or modifying your estate plan. An attorney at Ihejirika Law Corporation will help you analyze your financial and family situation and will help you prepare an appropriate estate plan that achieves your particular estate planning goals.
Don’t delay. Call now. Why wait? Call for a Free Consultation. Speak With An Attorney immediately. Call (877) 472-6013, (916) 972-8774, or (916) 972-8779


(877) 472-6013, (916) 972-8774, OR (916) 972-8779. SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY TODAY!!!