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Should You Leave Money to a Charity in Your Will?

Probate Lawyer Sacramento California

If you want to leave money to a charity, depending on your situation, it may be feasible to do this in a will, or it may be more beneficial to your legacy to give your money to a charity in a different way. If you want to leave a non-cash gift to a charity after you pass, there are different ways to distribute wealth that is not liquidated.

Leaving money to a charity in a Last Will and Testament is a legally sound way to ensure that your money will go to the charity that you want it to but it is not always the most financially advantageous way to give money to a charity after you have passed. An individual’s specific situation will help to determine what is the best way for them to leave money to a charity.

Why should you leave money to a charity?

Leaving money to a charity touches peoples’ lives and sustains charities that will continue to do this in your name. People may be able to appreciate you and your generosity for generations to come.

Planned giving to a charity leaves a personal legacy to something that is meaningful to you after you are gone. Your endowment will help your memory live on in the name of a foundation that you believe in.

Are there tax benefits to leaving money to a charity?

Depending on the type of gift a person makes, there may be tax benefits to your estate if you leave money to a charity. There are different ways to do this. A lawyer that is licensed to help with these matters is a good person to ask about your particular situation and what tax advantages may be available to you.

One example of a way to get a tax benefit to leaving money to a charity, is to create a life insurance policy with a charity of your choice as the beneficiary. While you are alive, you can claim the annual cost as a charitable donation.

Talk to a lawyer to find out more about your state’s particular estate tax and charitable donation laws.

What is a legacy gift?

A legacy gift is a planned future gift that designates some part of an individual’s estate as a donation to a charity or other nonprofit organization.

What is legacy giving?

Legacy giving, also called planned giving, is a type of post-mortem gift-giving that enables philanthropic individuals to make larger gifts to charitable organizations than they could make from ordinary income.  

What kinds of non-monetary assets can you give to a charity?

Charities will often accept many different valuable gifts that are not money. These include but are not limited to:

  • Real estate
  • Personal property, such as jewelry, vehicles, artwork, and antiques, etc.
  • Proceeds from life insurance policies
  • Proceeds from retirement plans
  • Investments, such as stocks and mutual funds, etc. 
  • Partnership interest in a business

For highly-rated estate planning and probate lawyers, contact the Yee Law Group for a free case evaluation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

States That Allow Asset Protection Trust Creation

Trust Attorney

An asset protection trust is an irrevocable trust that includes a spendthrift clause, with the purpose of protecting assets from creditors and other parties, so these assets can be passed untouched to the designated beneficiaries. The creditors do not go unpaid, but rather this allows them to settle with the debtors on favorable terms for both parties while avoiding the costs of court time.

States Where Asset Protection Trusts are Fully Allowed

Some states are beginning to accept the formation of these types of trusts, such as Colorado on limited terms, but as of 2019, at least the following states fully allow asset protection trusts, also known as Domestic Asset Protection Trusts:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota

These states have a few common requirements, such as the trust being irrevocable and containing a spendthrift clause; having one or more trustees; and having some of the admin work completed within the state the trust was established in. As well, the settlor may not be able to be the trustee.

If you do not live in one of these states, you can still establish this type of trust in one of them. The only rule with this, is that the real estate or property you place in the trust must be located in the same jurisdiction that the trust is established in. There are some offshore countries which allow the creation of foreign asset protection trusts, such as the Cook Islands and Cayman Islands. Setting up this type of entity usually provides you with more privacy and security from potential domestic issues you might be anticipating.

Trust Benefits

The formation of an asset protection trust was fairly controversial when it was first invented, and is still not allowed in most states. However, more states are allowing it to be part of the estate planning process, and it can be beneficial for estates that are large and complex. Some reasons families may put a few of their assets into this type of entity include:

  • Protecting the beneficiary from taxes, bankruptcy (creditors), or divorces
  • Avoiding the probate process, just as any other type of trust
  • Reducing your current taxable estate or inheritance

The creation of this entity involves detailed regulatory requirements, so it is highly recommended that you establish one with the guidance of an experienced estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ. This will help to ensure that your trust is setup correctly in respect to the laws that govern its particular jurisdiction, following all state and federal laws, and that it remains legitimate in the case that the laws change over time.

 


 

Thanks to Klenk Law for their insight into estate law and asset protection.

Estate Planning: Insight, Basics and Considerations

Estate Planning

For those planning for or nearing the twilight years of their lives, estate planning will (at some point) come into consideration. An estate is comprised of everything you own. This includes things like personal property, insurance, investments, etc. Regardless of how much you own, you can’t take it with you when the time comes, so making sure to plan out its distribution is a must. Although estate planning may be a complicated task, a well-developed plan can potentially make a large difference in what is left to the people you care most deeply about. Without an appropriate plan, friends and relatives can spend a significant amount of time and money fighting over the distribution of assets left by a decedent (dead person).

In terms of a simple definition, estate planning is defined as preparation for the transfer of one’s wealth and assets post-mortem. This process involves the writing, signing, and notarization of plans by the person who owns the estate. Although conventional wisdom may say otherwise, a will simply isn’t enough to guarantee one’s wishes when looking to distribute their assets. Though the procedure known as probate, a judge will interpret a will and allow for the transfer of money and property to written beneficiaries. However, due to the nature of this procedure, it may be possible for relatives or third parties to contest the will and make the transfer process far more complex and lengthy. Also, fees for probate can cost thousands of dollars, making it more difficult for beneficiaries to continue with the legal process.

Things to consider when thinking of estate planning:

  • Estate planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy
  • An estate plan starts with a will or living trust
  • Not enough people plan due to business, stigma, age, etc.
  • The best time to plan is now; preparation is key

It’s also important to consider working with an attorney or tax advisor on your plan as they will provide essential guidance through the estate planning process (especially with it comes to documentation). While you make the key decisions when it comes to distribution, an estate planning lawyer in Arlington, TX can help you through some of the more complex interactions involving your options. This way you can avoid mistakes, minimize taxes and help levy your plans to your current circumstance.

If there’s anything to take from this, it should be that estate planning, although a lengthy and complex process, is a necessary step towards making sure that your loved ones are the ones who receive the assets you have gained throughout your time contributing to the economic landscape.

 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into estate planning and the basics you need to know.

 

Identifying a Guardian for Young Children in an Estate Plan

 

 

Developing an estate plan in the event that you are no longer around can be morbid to say the least. This is especially true when you have minor children to plan for. No parent wants to consider a world where they are no longer able to care for their young children. However, by taking the time to develop a proper estate plan with an estate planning lawyer, you can give yourself peace of mind, and your children as smooth a transition as possible should the unexpected occur. One of the most important components to an estate plan with minor children is the process of naming a guardian who will take over the responsibility of their care. Contact an estate planning lawyer so that you may provide your children with all that they need should you be unable to care for them in the future. 

 

Naming a Guardian

One of the most important components to planning for minor children in an estate plan is by naming a guardian. The guardian of your choosing will be responsible for caring for your children in the event that you and your spouse are unable to do so. By not doing this yourself, you put yourself at risk for having a judge carry this great responsibility. Should this occur, anyone may come forward asking for this responsibility. Not only can this cause familial strife, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a judge will choose a guardian that you would approve of. It’s important that you carefully weigh your options by:

 

  • Considering the values and beliefs of prospective guardians
  • Their geographical location to your children and whether they are willing to relocate
  • The relationship your child has with the prospective guardian
  • Whether they are willing to take on this great responsibility
  • Their age

 

When considering who will care for your children, it’s vital that you have direct and clear conversations with prospective guardians over your wishes. You will want to make sure that  they are willing to commit to caring for your children. 

 

Plan for a Backup, or Two

Although you may have identified someone to take over guardianship, it’s key that you have at least one or two backups in the event that the original person is unwilling or unable to care for your child. Whether the person you have chosen has passed away or has other obligations making them unable to care for your children, having alternative options is key when estate planning for minor children. 

 

Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate planning can be easily put off. While you may believe that you have the luxury of time, it can be difficult to predict what the future may have in store. An estate planning lawyer can help you to develop an estate plan that leaves nothing out by:

 

  • Making sure that you are aware of your options
  • Helping create a plan that is customized to your needs
  • Avoiding the probate process
  • Having knowledge of state tax laws 

 

If you have young children, they likely come before protecting any assets or mitigating the risk of estate taxes. You will want to make sure that they are properly cared for in the event that you are no longer able to. Despite this, taking the time to develop an estate plan, can not only mitigate tax implications and protect your assets but ensure that there is a clear plan in place for your children. All of these go hand in hand when it comes to making sure that your children have all that they need when facing a life without you. Contact a Sacramento estate planning lawyer so that you have a plan in the event of the unexpected. 

 

Thanks to the Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and choosing a guardian for young children.

 

Elder Abuse Lawyer - Sacramento

Did You Know More Than Half of Americans Over 55 Don’t Have A Will?

If you should pass away, who will get your house, assets, life savings, or collection of antique clocks you love so much? If you are like the half of Americans over 55 years of age, you might not have an answer to this question. Or, perhaps you have an idea, but never put too much thought into it. Regardless, what is true in this situation is that you lack a legally binding will that could distribute your assets as you wish. 

As an estate planning lawyer in Sacramento, CA, we often find that its not actually about wealth or income, but rather the desire to ignore the sensitive subject of dying. Even people who are considerably well off may need to be nudged by their legal advocates, family members, or friends, to take the necessary steps to ensure all of their affairs are in order. 

 

Why Do So Many People Fail to Have  a Will?

The subject of death, or even incapacitation, is one that most people would rather avoid. On the other hand, as an estate planning lawyer would know, it is also common for people to not wish to deal with other stumbling blocks. For example, some parents are unable to come to an agreement on who should be named guardian of the children. Others may feel uneasy about distributing their assets in a fair way to their children. Finally, there are people who recoil at the cost of drafting a will or estate plan. Our firm even knows of cases in which a person began to draft a will, with or without an estate planning lawyer, but never actually completed the process. In this situation, the will was not signed; therefore, was not valid. As a result, the entire estate was probated through intestate succession; something that often takes years to complete. 

 

Is Planning an Estate Expensive?

At first glance, one might feel that planning their estate with the help of an estate planning lawyer is too expensive. However, this is a misconception. By sitting down with an estate planning lawyer and discussing all of the small details, you not only save copious amounts of time, but you ensure everything is done correctly. Furthermore, a good lawyer may be able to draft the estate documents in such a way that they save you or your beneficiaries from having to pay high taxes or court fees. A ballpark range of a package that may include a will, power of attorney, and a living will that includes end of life decisions may cost around $5,000. Of course, this price could be more or less depending on the area, your needs, and the estate planning law firm you choose to work with. 

 

Do You Really Need a Will?

At Yee Law Group, we find that most people don’t understand the full implications of dying without a will or estate plan. When this happens the estate will be forced into intestate succession. Basically, this means the state will get involved and name someone they believe to be a suitable executor of the estate. All assets will be accounted for and appraised. All debts will be identified and creditors will be notified. Taxes must be paid followed by debts in an order of most important to least important. Only after all of these things are taken care of will the remaining assets be distributed. How they are distributed will depend on the laws of the state. Let us say that you would like your daughter to have your antique collection and your son to have your veterans medals. If you did not include this in a will, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be upheld by the court. Furthermore, it is certainly possible for a “long lost child” to make a claim on the estate. A situation like this can cause a great deal of stress and money, as well as, huge amounts of time – and it could be avoided. 

 

Stop Procrastinating and Take Action Today!

Realistically, you never know what might happen in the future. The best thing you could do for any of your loved ones is to have a plan in place and know that all of your wishes will be carried out in the way you intend. To learn more about drafting a will, trust, or estate plan, call the estate planning lawyers from Yee Law Group.

Criminal Law Appeal

Criminal Defense Lawyer

What does it mean to appeal your case?

 Appealing a case is the process having a higher court review the decision made by the lower court looking for errors. However, appeals only answer questions of law and not questions about the facts of the case. This means that when you appeal to a higher court you will not be getting that second chance at a new verdict but rather asking the court to grant you a second chance because the court made a legal error when deciding on its original verdict. If you plan to appeal your case you must find an error in how the lower court handled the application of law to your case. Examples of legal errors include but are not limited to:

  • False Arrest- being arrested without probable cause, or a warrant and its exceptions.
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel-The 6th amendment protects individuals rights to effective counsel. Therefore if you feel as though your counsel has been insufficient and has not handled your case as a competent attorney should, you are able to appeal on such grounds. Examples of this would be: Not objecting to improper evidence or failing to adequately advocate for your case such as missing hearings or deadlines.
  • Improper admission or exclusion of evidence
  • Judges failure to inform the jury of the correct application of the law

These as well as any other reason that can be proved to have violated a person’s rights give grounds for an appeal. Keep in mind the facts of what happened in your case are not being reviewed in an appeal but merely how the court handled the process of your case and trial.

If you feel there was a legal error in your case you may contact your criminal defense lawyer in Arlington, TX and begin the appeal process. To file for an appeal, a criminal appeals attorney must file a notice of the appeal with the proper trial court. The attorney must then look for and identify any possible legal errors by obtaining and analyzing all of the transcripts and documents related to the appeal. After drawing up and filing a brief, which will consist of the details about what has happened in the case, as well as arguments that will favor the appeal, the attorney and the person involved in the case will appear before the judge. You will then plead your appeal case to the judge who will make a written decision regarding the outcome of the appeal, the judge will then either affirm or reverse a conviction. 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into criminal justice and appeals.

The 5 Benefits of a Trust Over a Will

Estate Lawyer

While some estates do fine with a typical will, large estates or family estates may find more value in protecting assets through trusts. A trust is a fiduciary tool that protects assets for beneficiaries of an estate. While often viewed as a tool for the incredibly wealthy, there is a growing awareness among people of all socioeconomic backgrounds as to the benefits of trust funds and the benefits over traditional wills.

  1. Avoid Probate

The most significant benefit for many people is the avoidance of probate. Probate is the process of authenticating a decedent’s will and distributing assets, but it can be time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, trusts that make funds and assets immediately accessible to the designated beneficiary offer a more desirable outcome.

  1. Protect Beneficiaries from Creditors

A common worry of those writing wills is that the creditors of their loved one’s will garnish the desired inheritance. While that is a possibility with wills, it is not possible with a trust. The ownership of the estate remains with the trust and not with the beneficiary, but the recipient can access their inheritance under the stipulations of the fund. However, if the beneficiary is named as a trustee, then they can manage their inheritance as they wish.

  1. Protect Needs-Based Governmental Benefits

Also, if you have a disabled child or grandchild, then a trust can protect their government benefits. If you do not have a trust and only stipulate the beneficiary in your will, then your loved one may lose their benefits or have to go through the complicated process of forming the trust after your death.

  1. Limit Estate Taxes

Also, a will alone subjects all of a decedent’s assets to estate tax. Meaning that money you think you are leaving to loved ones is actually reduced heavily through final estate taxes. A trust can protect funds and limit estate taxes in the future so that what you think you are leaving loved ones is the reality.

  1. Distribute Assets to Minors

Last, if you name any beneficiaries in a will who are minors, then you are opening an administrative nightmare for your surviving family because a court will have to appoint a conservator to receive the funds for your child. A trust, on the other hand, handles the administration of assets to beneficiaries, which means the court does not need to be involved.

Trusts are an essential document for protecting the inheritances and beneficiaries of your estate. Therefore, contact an estate lawyer in Allentown, PA and discuss how a trust can be set up for your specific needs and desires.

 


 

Thanks to Klenk Law for their insight into estate planning and benefits of a trust.

How Can A Trust Litigation Lawyer Help Me?

Living Trust Lawyer

Trust litigation attorneys understand that many trust and estate matters are personal, private, and unique. Emotions are high, as losing a relative or loved one can be challenging and complicated. Trust disputes can take a significant toll on individuals, and the counsel of a qualified and compassionate trust litigation lawyer can help you through every step of the process.

Trust and estate litigators are knowledgeable and experienced trial attorneys. They can represent you in even the most complex and high-profile disputes encompassing trusts, estates, and conservatorships. An attorney can represent you in claims against fiduciaries, guardianship disputes, will and trust contests, and charitable and exempt organization disputes. A lawyer has extensive experience in the probate courts, in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of trust law, and skill navigating the unique procedures related to trust and probate disputes.

Experienced in handling litigation in the probate courts

Seasoned trial attorneys have many years of experience in the probate courts and a thorough knowledge of the substantive law and unique procedures required to navigate trust litigation to a favorable outcome. Many aspects of litigation are unique to trust and estate disputes, so an in-depth understanding of trust and estate law is essential. 

Trust and probate issues often intersect with other legal matters and disciplines such as: 

  • Real estate law
  • Tax law
  • Corporate law
  • Securities
  • Insurance

In these circumstances, trust litigation professionals may need to draw on the resources of other lawyers who have extensive subject matter knowledge in those areas. Trust litigation lawyers frequently have established relationships with others who are well-versed in these matters and can bring them to bear to provide the best representation possible.

Litigating trusts and probate disputes may involve:

  • Claims for breach of fiduciary duty
  • Beneficiary disputes
  • Claims for breach of duty of loyalty
  • Will and trust contests
  • Judicial creation and modification of wills and trusts
  • Investment claims
  • Contested heirship
  • Charitable pledge disputes
  • Pretermitted and adopted heirs
  • Will and trust validity, 
  • Challenges to capacity
  • Matters of undue influence or elder abuse
  • Contested accountings
  • Contested powers of attorney
  • Fraudulent transfers
  • Spousal right of election
  • Partition actions
  • Family and estate management disputes
  • Wrongful death recovery
  • Conservatorships
  • Guardianships
  • And more

A trust litigation attorney can offer you an integrated approach that brings together numerous beneficial resources.

Benefits of a knowledgeable and experienced trust litigation lawyer

Benefits may include:

  • Aggressive litigation strategies and trial tactics 
  • Creative and practical problem-solving driven by and tailored to your unique needs and what you want to achieve 
  • Straight talk and effective communication that sets expectations and keeps you up-to-date with the process
  • Insight that can cut to the heart of the matter and bring a resolution sooner than you may expect
  • Unrelenting pressure on the other party and the court to resolve and expedite the case in your favor

Trust litigation is a means to an end, and every problem should be approached by considering what will serve your personal goals. It is crucial to have a dependable trust litigation lawyer during such a highly emotional and potentially difficult time. Contact the best trust lawyer in Phoenix, AZ for more information or to schedule a consultation.

 


 

Thanks to Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into estate planning and how a trust lawyer can help.

Applying for Post Bankruptcy Credit

Trust Lawyer

Having to file bankruptcy is an unpleasant thing, but despite what it might feel like, your financial life does not end when you file. One of the first questions most people have when looking into filing bankruptcy is whether or not they will be able to have a credit card. It turns out that applying for a credit card is not only possible in this situation, it’s actually recommended. This short guide will explain why and what you should know before applying.

Why a Credit Card Is Beneficial

The biggest reason applying for a new credit card after filing bankruptcy is so helpful is because it allows you to start building up credit once again. Filing for bankruptcy essentially eliminates all of your credit. It puts all your accounts back to zero. Having a credit card is helpful after a bankruptcy for the same reason it is helpful in any other situation. Building up credit can make it easier to be approved for loans, among other aspects that improve your financial health. This is more important when your credit situation is completely reset.

What You Need To Know 

First things first, you need to know how long your bankruptcy is going to stay on your credit report. A chapter seven bankruptcy will stay on the record for 10 years, while a chapter 13 bankruptcy will last for seven years.

Secondly, there are a few things you should do prior to applying to another credit card after filing bankruptcy:

  • Establish yourself – It is not a good idea to apply for a new credit card immediately after filling bankruptcy. Allow things to settle down for a month or two. Make sure you have some of the bigger, more important financial aspects taken care of first, such as your income, bills, and mortgages.
  • Evaluate your habits – You filed bankruptcy for a reason; it is best to figure out what you were doing wrong so you can prevent it from happening again. Take some time to take a close look at your daily and monthly habits and identify changes that need to be made.
  • Check your credit reports – Before you apply for a new credit card, make sure all your old accounts are properly indicated as included in the bankruptcy. You can get one free credit report per year from each of the major bureaus. Remember, the accounts will not be updated until at least 90 days after filing. If there are any errors, you will need to have them resolved before applying.

If you’re considering bankruptcy as a solution to your financial struggles, a bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN can discuss your options. Call a law office today.

 


 

Thanks to Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC for their insight into bankruptcy law and applying for credit afterward.

What’s the Purpose of an Estate Plan?

 

Estate planning is a personal topic. Many people shy away from thinking about and taking action on their future, specifically, their death. 

 

It’s not a fun topic but it’s a necessary topic. Without proper planning, you could leave your family and loved ones with a mess.

 

Estate Planning Protects Everyone

 

While most people think of a will as the largest or only component of an estate plan, in reality, a will is just one piece of a full and complete estate plan. Having a will is a minimum for everyone. But depending on your circumstances, a will itself may not be enough.

 

With a will, you can direct that your personal representative give certain assets to specific people. If you have a niece who loves your collection of crystal ware, you can leave those items specifically to her. If your son loves the watch you wear each day, you can leave the watch specifically to him.

 

It’s important to specifically name who gets what assets. If you don’t, your personal representative may not distribute your belongings the way you intend.

 

Trusts are an Option

 

Depending on your circumstances, a trust might be an additional document needed to complete your estate plan. Contrary to popular belief, trusts are not only for the uber wealthy.

 

Trusts are an important component to any estate plan. Trusts give you the authority to have more control over your assets and how they are distributed. For example, say your niece is very young and you don’t want to give her your crystal collection at such a young age. In your trust, you can direct that your trustee hold the crystal until your niece reaches a certain age or graduates college. You can put almost limitless controls over your assets.

 

This is what makes trusts such a great tool in the estate planning arsenal. Using trusts correctly can help to preserve your assets over a longer period of time.

 

Don’t try to do Your Own Estate Plan

 

Many people think they can draft their own will and courts will stand by it. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. There are certain requirements which must be met in order for a will to be valid. If your will isn’t valid, no one will know until after your death. And at that point, it’s too late.

 

Contact us Today

 

As your estate planning attorney, we will meet with you to get a complete understanding of your life and your goals. We know this topic is uncomfortable but we will do everything in our power to make sure your experience is pleasant and your goals are achieved. You deserve to use the services of a trusted and seasoned estate planning lawyer to guide you in putting your estate plan together.

 

Contact an estate planning lawyer for more information.

 

Thanks to Citadel Law Firm, a estate planning lawyer in Chandler, AZ, for their insight into estate planning and alternatives to probate.