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The Law Offices of

Gregory T. Annigian


114 North Indian Hill Blvd.

Suite E

Claremont, CA 91711


Phone: (909) 981-9340

Fax: (909) 981-5091

Email:

greg@annigian-law.com


Feb 1, 2021

Estate Planning is a Process

Estate planning is more of a process than a one-time action. It is not advised to approach this as something that needs to be done and then it can be set aside and never to be dealt with again for a long time. This attitude may not serve you and your family very well because estate planning can actually work in your favor during your lifetime. Planning for your future and the future of your family requires you to give deep thought about many different areas of life. With valuable information from your estate planning lawyer, you’ll be able to make informed choices.

Keep in mind that throughout your lifetime, circumstances may change and the estate planning documents will need to be revised. It is suggested that estate planning documents be reviewed each year. A lot can happen in a year. Have new family members been added through marriage or birth? Have family members passed away? Has property been acquired or sold? Are these properties titled correctly to be included in any trust? Looking at these details ensures your interests are protected and that your directives will be upheld as the estate is settled after your death. The most common legal tools for the estate planning process are trusts, wills, business succession plan, advanced healthcare directive, and power of attorney.

January 1, 2021

The Necessity of Business Succession Plans

If you own a business or a corporation, it would be wise for you to consider what will happen with the company in the event of your incapacitation or death. Who will run the company? Who will handle day-to-day operations? Even if you are not the owner and you only share a portion of the business ownership interest, business succession plans are of high importance. A business succession plan allows operations to continue seamlessly because the implications of not having you involved have already been thought through.

By creating a business succession plan, you are in control of the details and the transition of power is made easier for all involved parties. You can protect the business and your financial interests will be realized by future generations. If you do not have a plan in place, your business may be vulnerable to legal disputes and costly litigation. This can dramatically reduce friction between family members, employees and management which may minimize the risk of litigation. Creating a business succession plan may also set family members and management at ease. When the time is right, they can become trained in the skills they’ll need to take on new roles in the business. If your plan includes selling the business, the transfer will be smoother because the requisite documents will be readily available.  

Deceember 1, 2020

A Power of Attorney as Part of an Estate Plan

When a loved one becomes unable to manage legal and financial responsibilities, who will take on this role? The answer is the Power of Attorney. This grants legal authority to another person, the attorney-in-fact or agent, to handle daily activities and household responsibilities. A Power of Attorney allows the principal to handle court issues on behalf of the agent. The agent must also ensure the person’s medical and healthcare needs are met. Because the agent will become such an important part of the principal’s life, it is important that the agent is a trustworthy, responsible person.

The Power of Attorney is often obtained when family members understand the declining ability of their loved one. This legal document should be obtained before the person becomes incapacitated. Many times the Power of Attorney is acquired because a person needs assistance paying bills and signing documents. When a person requires assistance for only medical reasons, a specific document is used. If you lose mental capacity and have not appointed a power of attorney, valuable time may be lost if immediate decisions are necessary. In addition, unnecessary stress among family members may result if healthcare decisions are involved and you have not appointed a Power of Attorney.  

November 1, 2020

Why you need a well drafted Will or Trust

Wills & Trusts determine who will inherit your assets, and both are subject to California’s legal requirements to be valid. A simple mistake may result in years of costly litigation and vastly reduce the value of the estate.

Failure to properly draft your will or trust may not only result in litigation, but also prevent your final wishes from being met. Trusts serve multiple purposes in addition to simply being a tool that is used to pass on your assets. Therefore, it is essential that the proper type of trust is utilized to ensure that your objectives are carried out. Estate Planning is not a one size fits all process, and it’s vital that you work with a lawyer who possesses an in-depth knowledge of the function and purpose of each type of trust, as well as the differences between how each is taxed.

October 1, 2020

When you should have your Estate Plan Drafted

Most people put off retaining an attorney to create a personalized estate plan, believing that it isn’t necessary until they are older. However, life is unpredictable and it is important to take every precaution possible to ensure that your assets, your family and your business are protected should the unexpected occur.

It is wise to meet with a Wills & Trusts Lawyer once you obtain considerable assets including the purchase of a home, get married, or have children. A seasoned attorney can meet with you, review your goals, and will work diligently to ensure that your wishes are clearly set forth.

A well drafted, comprehensive estate plan can reduce the likelihood for future litigation, help protect you and your family financially in case of illness or incapacity, and provide peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be carried out upon your passing.

Estate Plans should be reviewed every few years, especially if you have undergone any major life changes such as divorce, marriage, or the birth of a new child / children.

September 1, 2020

The Difference between Wills and Trusts

While both types of estate planning tools determine how an individual’s assets will be distributed upon death, there are fundamental differences between them.

Wills, otherwise known as a Last Will and Testament, must typically be probated through the court. The Probate Court will oversee how the executor administrates the will, and all probate cases are a matter of public record. Probate is costly, timely and lengthy – matters may take anywhere from six months to two years to settle, based on the complexity. However, unlike trusts, wills allow the testator to name guardians for their minor or disabled children.

There are several different types of trusts. Each serves a different purpose and there are several tax consequences associated with both wills and trusts. Each and every factor must be taken into account when choosing whether a will best serves your needs, if a trust would be more appropriate, or if you need a combination thereof.

August 1, 2020

Going through Probate

Probate is the process by which the court determines the validity of a decedent’s will, oversees administration of the will, handles all claims against the estate, and ultimately ensures that all remaining assets are distributed according to the terms of the will.

Not all wills are required to go through Probate. Estates valued under the statutory minimum do not have to be filed with the court. The executor of the will may simply handle all monies owed by the estate prior to disbursing the remainder to named heirs and beneficiaries.

However, when a will is required to undergo the probate process, expenses can quickly add up. Probate Courts charge a statutory amount to handle these cases, and that amount is a percentage of the value of the estate in its entirety.

Should any disputes arise, the aggrieved party may turn to the Probate Court for assistance. Should the dispute be unable to be settled, litigation may result. To best avoid the possibility of litigation, the will should be clear in its terms and be well drafted as to specificity and legal requirements.

July 1, 2020

Choosing the Proper Trust

While wills only address the distribution of assets after death, trusts may serve a multitude of purposes, including the following:

  • Spendthrift Trusts protect the assets left to a beneficiary who the testator deems to be fiscally irresponsible, to ensure that the beneficiary has financial security.
  • Charitable Trusts may be used to provide funding and other resources to non-profit organizations.
  • Special Needs Trusts are established to care for mentally or physically disabled individuals.
  • Testamentary Trusts are generally incorporated into a will, and they go into effect upon the death of the testator.
  • Living Trusts are those which go into effect during the testator’s lifetime. They may be either revocable, allowing the testator to rescind it at any time, or irrevocable. Irrevocable trusts also go into effect immediately upon execution and the transfer of assets into the trust. The trustor may receive monies or assets from the trust, but once executed, it cannot be revoked.

In addition to the preceding, there are several other types of trusts. Each type of trust has different tax consequences, as do wills. Because there are so many different types of trusts, each with differing tax consequences and protections, it’s imperative that you seek the services of a highly qualified and experienced Wills & Trusts Lawyer.