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Estate Planning

Attorney David A. Esquibias is certified by the State Bar of California as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. In addition to his law degree, he has a master's degree in taxation. He will prepare your estate plan competently, efficiently, and economically. The total cost for a typical estate plan (protects most people) ranges from $1,500 to $1,800, depending on your needs. Call for a free consultation and ask about our discounts. Typical estate plans include:

  • an A, A-B, or A-B-C living trust;

  • Special needs trust;

  • Medi-Cal protection trust;

  • Second marriage trusts;

  • Non-U.S. citizen spouse trust;

  • durable power of attorney documents for financial management;

  • advanced health care directives (also known as living wills);

  • guardian designation for minors;

  • Pour over Wills;

  • Deed transfer of real properties to the trust.

Without an estate plan, the disposition of your assets are subject to the provisions of California law. For example, property held in joint tenancy passes by operation of law to the surviving joint tenant, and property subject to contractual arrangements (e.g., death benefits under life insurance, annuity policies, retirement plans) passes by beneficiary designation or the provisions of the specific plan.

The default plan may work well for a few people, but most people financially benefit from engaging in simple estate planning. Generally, people who own less than $100,000 in assets and no real estate do not need an estate plan (unless there are unusual circumstances like you are or will be incapacitated; are or will be a Medi-Cal recipient; etc). All others typically will financially benefit from estate planning.

For instance, a married couple or registered domestic partners may save their heirs tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars simply by creating a living trust. Others may save themselves a similar amount simply by changing title of property from joint tenancy to a living trust. At the very least, engaging in estate planning will save the estate tens of thousands of dollars simply by avoiding the prohibitive cost of conservatorship and probate.

Avoid probate! A Probate Is Expensive. Attorneys love probates because they are entitled to charge large fees. The attorney's fees range from 2-4% of the gross value of your estate. The executor's fees will be the same amount unless the executor waives them. Also, court costs, newspaper publication fees, and appraisal fees are added. A typical estate valued at $500,000 generates legal fees of $13,000, executor fees of $13,000 and court costs of approximately $1,000. Estate planning costs less than 5% of a typical probate!

On the other hand, a properly created and maintained living trust avoids probate. When you are gone, your successor trustee simply pays your last bills, reads your trust to see who gets your property, and then distributes the property. This all occurs without reporting to the probate court. An individual with a typical estate of $500,000 will save $27,000 simply by creating an estate plan and avoiding probate!

A Probate Means Delay. A probate takes at least six months to get your assets to your heirs. This delay is actually worse than the expense of a probate because of the potential hardship and emotional drain. On the other hand, property in a living trust generally can be distributed in a few short weeks.

A Probate Invades Your Privacy. A probate is open to the public. In a probate, anyone can go to the court clerk's office and find out private information about the deceased and his or her family. A living trust, on the other hand, avoids invasion of privacy. No probate is needed if the living trust is set up and maintained properly. With a living trust, only your beneficiaries and your attorney will know about your affairs.

Conservatorships are similar in cost, delay, and invasion of privacy. Estate planning avoids conservatorship. Avoid probate, conservatorships, and courts through estate planning. If you are interested in estate planning call us at telephone number 805-267-1141, or send an immediate e-mail inquiry to attorney David A. Esquibias.

Estate Tax Planning

The Law Office of David A. Esquibias works with you to develop an estate plan that minimizes federal and state estate (or wealth transfer) taxes. Without this planning, a substantial portion of your property will be lost to taxes and administrative costs. Federal gift and estate tax rates* currently are 46% percent, after taking into consideration the amount that may pass free of tax. Federal generation skipping transfer tax rates, if applicable, is also 45% percent after payment of estate and gift taxes on the same transfer. We help to avoid these taxes and preserve your property for the individuals and organizations you wish to benefit. Estate tax planning includes:

  • Lifetime gifts to take advantage of the $13,000 annual gift tax exclusion and to transfer future income and appreciation out of your estate;

  • Revocable intervivos trusts to eliminate probate costs and to protect property from a second tax upon the death of a beneficiary;

  • Irrevocable trusts to preserves lifetime gifts for the later benefit of spouses, children, and grandchildren, or to gain a charitable tax deduction;

  • Irrevocable trusts to own life insurance proceeds for the benefit of spouses, children, and grandchildren, protected from estate tax, saving your estate ten or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Special estate planning techniques are recommended for certain individuals. This special planning may include:

  • Closely held business that require examination of stockholder agreements, buy-sell agreements to pay taxes or to provide funds for the benefit of family;

  • Resident alien spouses will need a qualified domestic trust;

  • Life insurance may be needed to provide a source of funds for payment of taxes, debts, expenses or desired gifts;

  • Personal residences offer special planning opportunities for reducing transfer taxes.

If you are interested in estate tax planning call us at telephone number 805-267-1141, or send an immediate e-mail inquiry to attorney, David A. Esquibias.

Year Maximum Estate
Tax Rate
Maximum Gift
Tax Rate
Estate Tax Applicable
Exclusion Amount
Gift Tax Applicable
Exclusion Amount
2008 45% 45% $2,000,000 $1,000,000
2009 45% 45% $3,500,000 $1,000,000
2010 0% 35% unlimited $1,000,000
2011 35% 35% $5,000,000 $5,000,000
2012 35% 35% $5,000,000 $5,000,000
 

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