Foundational Estate Planning

Some people believe that estate planning is only for the “rich.”  Not so. Every family can benefit from having an estate plan of its own, one designed and implemented by an attorney who focuses on this specialized area of the law. Without your own estate plan, the IRS and state of California will control how and when your assets are distributed after you pass away. The government is not interested in ensuring that your loved ones are protected and provided for in the event of your death or disability, avoiding family disputes, streamlining the distribution of your assets, reducing estate and probate administration costs, and minimizing taxes.

Another reason to have your own plan is to control who can make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Without a plan in place, someone will petition the court in a conservatorship proceeding for control over your assets and medical care. This could very well be a person you would not want to have the authority to make these important decisions for you. Also, conservatorship can lead to your hard earned assets being significantly depleted by attorney fees, court costs and other unnecessary expenses.

In short, foundational estate planning is about ensuring that you, your loved ones and your assets are protected and that you, not the state, have control over your affairs and assets. The foundational estate planning services we provide include:

•    Wills
•    Powers of Attorney
•    Health Care Directives
•    HIPAA Authorizations
•    Revocable Living Trusts
•    Implementation of Estate Plans

Contact our estate planning lawyers today to discuss your particular needs and goals.

Advanced Estate Planning

Westlake Village Advanced Estate Planning Lawyers Serving Los Angeles and Ventura Counties

As we have mentioned, every family needs an estate plan. However, for high net worth families, having a customized and thoughtful estate plan is even more important. Why? To put it bluntly, families of high net worth have more assets to lose when they fail to plan.

Beyond the basics of putting your affairs in order, as a high net worth individual or family you must also address the following issues as part of your estate plan:

•    Assuring the continuity of your lifestyle and the protection of your assets
•    Reduction of income, property, gift, estate, and generation skipping taxes
•    Ensuring that your heirs are sufficiently mature to control their own inheritances, and if they are not, taking steps to protect their inheritances from their own poor decisions
•    Protecting your heirs’ inheritance if they become divorced, remarry or fall under the influence of unscrupulous predators
•    Passing your values, work ethic and a sense of responsibility to heirs
•    Keeping your affairs private through a properly funded and implemented trust
•    Protecting your business interests, if any
•    Ensuring your lasting legacy and impact on society

At the Law Offices of Esther Hopkins, P.C., we have years of experience utilizing the advanced estate planning tools required to meet the sophisticated needs of affluent families.

Our services in this area include:

•    Dynasty Trusts
•    Irrevocable Trusts
•    Life Insurance Trusts
•    Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
•    Grantor Trusts
•    Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs)
•    Captive Insurance Companies (CICs)
•    Intra-Family Loans
•    Self Cancelling Installment Notes (SCINs)
•    Installment Sales to Grantor Trusts
•    Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
•    Gift Programs
•    Retirement Trusts
•    Minors’ Trusts
•    Generation-Skipping Trusts
•    Tax Planning

You owe it to yourself, your loved ones and your legacy to contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your unique needs, goals and concerns.