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Recent Blog Posts

Should I Include Funeral Planning in My Estate Plan?

 Posted on October 14, 2022 in Estate Planning

CA estate planning lawyerEstate planning most commonly considers the property left behind by a recently deceased individual and how it should be disposed of, in addition to potential end-of-life situations and the care desired by the planner in the event of future incapacity. These topics can be challenging to contemplate, as they force the planner to contemplate their own mortality. Often overlooked is planning of a practical nature for how the family is to proceed in the immediate aftermath of the estate planner’s passing.

In California, there are legal mechanisms by which a person can effectively make arrangements for their own funeral services and the disposition of their remains. These topics can be even more difficult to contemplate, let alone establish concrete plans for. However, planning for funerary arrangements can not only keep important decisions in your hands but also provide significant benefits to your surviving loved ones. If you are able, it is prudent to make such arrangements during your own lifetime.

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5 Ways to Leave Your Mark Using Your Estate Plan

 Posted on September 15, 2022 in Estate Planning

CA estate plan lawyerBeing forgotten is a common fear associated with death. Everyone wants to be remembered fondly long after they have passed away. Aside from the immediate financial benefits, a desire to be remembered can be a driving factor for those who have flocked to Los Angeles seeking stardom. Luckily, you do not need to make it as an actor or musician to leave a lasting legacy. You can use your estate plan to continue benefiting not only your descendants for generations to come, but the community as a whole. Charitable giving is a noble way to continue serving your community long after you have gone. Business owners may have additional opportunities. If you are interested in leaving your mark on your loved ones and Los Angeles alike, you should speak to an attorney about how you too can build a legacy using your estate plan.

Your Estate Plan Can Help You Leave a Lasting Legacy

No matter who you are in life, you can do real good in the world after death. Some ways that you can leave a lasting legacy in your estate plan include:

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Is There a Way to Avoid Probate?

 Posted on August 12, 2022 in Wills

CA estate lawyerIf you are asking this question, you have probably heard quite a bit about what going through probate is like - or you have been forced to endure the process yourself to settle a loved one’s estate. So you know that going through full probate is an arduous process. The fees and costs involved can seem astronomical, especially if you have to hire appraisers, fend off a pointless contest, or handle any of the other hurdles that can pop up during probate. You may now be wondering if there is a way that you can avoid putting your loved ones through probate in your own estate plan. Fortunately, there is. By using a living trust, you can bypass the probate courts entirely. Your beneficiaries will appreciate it - and there may be benefits of using a trust during your own lifetime.

How Does Using a Trust Let My Beneficiaries Skip Probate?

A trust is an excellent alternative to a will. When you create a trust, you fund it by transferring ownership of some or all of your property to the trust.

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What Happens if I Die Without an Estate Plan in California?

 Posted on July 12, 2022 in Estate Planning

CA estate lawyerAs we mentioned in our last blog post, having an estate plan in place can go a long way toward protecting both you and your loved ones. It is also important to discuss what can happen if you pass away without an estate plan. While creating a trust leaves you - and later, your chosen trustee - in control, you will have no say in what happens to your estate should you pass away without a plan. Your family members will have no choice but to go through probate. Probate is long, complicated, and often costly. However, going through it is the only way to distribute a decedent’s assets in the absence of an estate plan. Avoiding intestate probate is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of estate planning.

Consequences of Dying Without an Estate Plan

Those who pass away without an estate plan are termed “intestate.” During intestate probate, your family members will likely need to hire an attorney to guide the process. Because you did not leave any instructions for how your property should be distributed, California state law will control who gets what. Our state’s intestacy laws favor immediate relatives - mainly your spouse and children, or sometimes your parents.

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Who Should Have an Estate Plan?

 Posted on June 29, 2022 in Estate Planning

CA estate lawyerIf you are a competent adult, you should have an estate plan. Whether you are single or married, a parent or childfree, healthy or ill, young or old, you need an estate plan. Life is unpredictable. As much as we all wish that only elderly people in poor health passed away, we know that this is not the reality of life. No one knows when they will pass away or become incapacitated. Having both a testamentary plan and an incapacity plan in place can help reduce the distress your loved ones will experience should the worse come to worst. Doing this type of planning can also help ensure that your personal beliefs and wishes would be respected should you find yourself in a situation like a coma where you could not speak for yourself. Our lawyers can work with you to help you decide which documents you need given your current personal situation.

The Benefits of Estate Planning for All

Thinking about what your closest loved ones would go through if you were to pass away unexpectedly is not comfortable for anyone. Thinking about what you might go through if you were alive, but incapacitated, is not comfortable either. However, once you have an estate plan in place, you can stop worrying about these unlikely events, knowing that you and your loved ones would be protected. Benefits of making an estate plan for all include:

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What is a Holographic Will and Why Should I Not Use One?

 Posted on May 13, 2022 in Wills

CA estate lawyerYou may or may not have heard the term “holographic will” before. No, it is not a high-tech device that presents your final wishes using a hologram. Rather, a holographic will is a handwritten will made and executed by the testator alone. It need not comply with all the legal formalities required to make any other type of will, such as being witnessed by two people.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of ways for this to go wrong. Holographic wills are generally used only in emergency situations where the testator knows that they are dying and do not have the time or ability to find a lawyer and create a formal will. Really, a holographic will should never be used if you can avoid it. It can be extremely difficult to prove that these documents are valid and extremely easy to successfully challenge one. Your best bet is to work with an estate planning attorney rather than taking a DIY approach to such an important legal matter.

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When Should I Prepare a Medical Power of Attorney?

 Posted on April 13, 2022 in Powers of Attorney

CA estate lawyerMany people, especially when they are young, regard estate planning and the preparation of a living will as something that can wait or something that is only for older or infirm individuals. The reality is that medical emergencies can happen at any time. When a medical crisis strikes, your loved ones may be unsure about the level of care and lifesaving treatment that you may want. Each person should have a living will or advance health care directive, which can clearly specify their desired medical care and gives decision-making power to a person they choose through a medical power of attorney. The attorneys of Law Office of David Schechet will work to prepare documents that address each client's specific needs.

Benefits of a Medical Power of Attorney in California

When you grant someone power of attorney, you are giving them the legal right to make decisions in your name. Powers of attorney can cover financial management, legal and business matters, and medical care. While some, like a financial power of attorney, can take effect at any time of your choosing, a medical power of attorney typically only takes effect when you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions about your medical care and treatment.

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Tips for Making Sure Your Estate Plan is Carried Out

 Posted on March 11, 2022 in Estate Planning

CA estate lawyerIn estate litigation, there is a problem known as the “worst evidence rule.” When there is any legal dispute over a trust, will, living will, or power of attorney, the only person who is guaranteed to know what these documents mean is generally either dead or incapacitated. In neither event can the individual who executed the document hop up on the witness stand and clear things up - nor can they guide others to where they have placed these important documents. This is why it is critical that all estate and incapacity planning documents are well in order before any precipitating event kicks them into effect. One of the best ways to make sure the plan you put time and money into creating will be enforced is to work with an attorney and follow their advice.

How Can I Make Sure My Estate and Incapacity Plans Are Enforced?

There are a few steps you can take to increase the likelihood that the plan you made is going to be carried out. For starters, make sure that your documents are very clear. Using precise, unambiguous language is extremely important. A good attorney will know how to write out these documents in a way that prevents confusion.

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5 Techniques for Preventing Will Contests in California

 Posted on February 22, 2022 in Wills

CA estate planning lawyerWhen you have taken the time to make a will, the last thing you want is for someone to challenge it when you are no longer there. You made a will because you want to control where your assets go. Having your will set aside after a successful challenge can defeat the purpose entirely. Will contests can be expensive, and they can also cause lasting rifts among families that may never heal. Fortunately, there are a few tactics estate planning attorneys use to anticipate and prevent will contests. If you have any concerns about a potential will contest, it is important to let your lawyer know so that they can take steps to prevent one.

What Are Some Ways to Prevent a Will Contest?

There are a few steps that you and your attorney can take to greatly reduce the odds of a will contest. They include:

  • No-contest clause - A no-contest clause in a will states that anyone who contests the will automatically receive nothing. These clauses are very effective when they are enforceable. However, judges will frequently override these clauses if they believe the person who filed a contest had probable cause to do so. Additionally, there are limited circumstances under which these clauses can be enforced.

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4 Reasons Young Healthy People in California Need Estate Plans

 Posted on January 13, 2022 in Estate Planning

CA estate lawyerThe trope of a person who is sick and elderly, perhaps on their death bed, calling an attorney to make a will at the last possible second is best left to movies and TV. In reality, the best time to do all your estate planning is while you are young and healthy. A lot of younger adults do not consider estate planning a necessity for a variety of reasons, a big one being that they do not expect to die or become incapacitated for many years to come. However, over the past two years, it has become clear that life can be quite unpredictable. A complete estate plan, comprised of both incapacity planning documents like a living will and testamentary documents, like a regular will, can lend some predictability and stability to a potentially chaotic situation.

If I am Young and Healthy, Why Should I Have an Estate Plan?

It is not unreasonable that many younger adults find the entire subject a bit saddening. It can be particularly difficult for young people to consider their mortality, or to consider the possibility that they could become incapacitated. However, it is wise to do so. Reasons that young healthy people also need estate plans include:

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