At Tseng Law Firm, our goal is to take the complicated nature of estate planning and make it transparent and approachable as possible. Legal terms and the fine print of estate planning is tricky to navigate without the help of a qualified estate planning lawyer, and we honor that the information you share with us in our office is sensitive and can bring up a myriad of emotions and unforeseen decision-making.
The attorneys here at Tseng Law Firm have our clients’ best interests at heart. We spend all the time you need explaining the ins-and-outs of estate planning, teasing out legalese. Once you understand the steps, documents, and processes involved, we’ll set up your estate in a way that ensures you and your loved ones are taken care of in the present, plan for potential emergencies in the future, and we’ll ensure your assets and properties are distributed exactly as intended at the event of your death. Your proactive estate planning today prevents your estate from winding up in probate court, or in estate litigation, which is a trying experience for all involved.
A thoughtfully planned estate saves families money, time and energy both in the present – and in the future – guaranteeing as much of your hard-earned assets remain within your network of beneficiaries, and minimizing the amount of money owed for taxes.
Contact the Tseng Law Firm team and schedule a 30-minute, free consultation. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and alleviate your concerns. We hope you’ll trust us to act as your guides while you establish a legally-sound, equitable and thoughtful estate plan. Similarly, we can serve as your Alameda probate attorneys if you find yourself in need.
Tenets of Proactive Estate Planning
There are multiple steps involved to establish a proactive and sustainable estate. These include:
The Estate Plan Review
This process takes place during our first, scheduled consultation, typically requiring about 1.5 hours. During this time, we’ll run through a list of questions that identify your top priorities and concerns, and also provides a comprehensive overview of your properties and assets.
Once we complete the estate review process, we’ll propose the design of your estate plan, which can be adjusted and tweaked as things come up. Your estate plan is a living, legal entity, meaning it should be periodically reviewed and amended, especially after any major life changes or unexpected events.
Healthcare and Legal Power of Attorney (POA)
These documents are essential and, in some ways, even more, important than the will and/or living trusts we’ll establish because unforeseen events can happen in a matter of minutes. These invaluable documents that allow you to select who will be in charge of your healthcare decisions, as well as your financial decisions if you become mentally or physically incapacitated due to an accident, illness, or medical condition.
Your Healthcare POA and Legal POA do not have to be the same person(s), although they might be. It is also a good idea to select contingency POAs in case something prevents your primary choice(s) from being able to honor their responsibility.
Most assets held in accounts or investment funds offer beneficiary designations, which streamlines the distribution process later on. We’ll ensure these are current for all of your financial accounts.
Will and Living Trust Documents
Often used interchangeably, wills and living trusts are not the same things. The will is the document most people think of when they meet with an estate planning attorney. It establishes how your properties, assets and personal possessions are distributed at your death. Other considerations for the will include who will legally oversee the distribution (the Executor) and any custody or custodial plans made for minor children, children with disabilities or beloved pets.
A trust involves three parties – the settler or grantor (probably yourself), the trustee (the person(s) you designate to manage the trust), and trust beneficiaries (the ones who benefit from the trust). The goals of a trust vary depending on your needs and wishes. However, one of the largest benefits of establishing a trust is to reduce estate and gift taxes and eliminate the delay or publicity of probate court or estate litigation. A legally-sound trust also protects the estate from potential abuse or recklessness from a beneficiary.
Disposition of Final Remains
We will include documentation of how you want your remains disposed of after you die. This can be as simple as, “I would like to be cremated,” and we’ve also documented more layered and complex instructions. Documents like these are extremely helpful, providing peace of mind for the bereaved as they can feel confident they’re honoring your exact wishes.
Family-Friendly, Community-Minded Estate Planning
The legal team at Tseng Law Firm are family-friendly and community-minded legal experts. Our goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible while we navigate the estate planning journey with you, with the greatest care and attention.
Please feel free to give us a call – (510) 835-3090 – or contact us online to schedule your free, consultation. We’re confident our lawyers will put you at ease and we look forward to providing the asset security and peace of mind that conscientious estate planning provides.