VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hello, everybody. This is Robert Mansour, and I'm broadcasting from my office in Los Angeles today, and I wanted to talk briefly about some of the terminology that is used when it comes to your estate plan. And these are terms that people often get confused and I just wanted to spend a minute kind of talking about some of the main players in your estate plan. So let's first start with the living trust. The person in charge of your living trust is somebody called your trustee.
Now, when you first set up your trust, you're going go probably be your own trustee, or you and your spouse if it's a joint married couple trust. But then after you pass away, or you're incapacitated, people called your successor trustees will step in and take the wheel, if you will, and handle your affairs for you. So if something has to do with your trust, your trustee would handle it.
The next document in a typical estate plan is something called your Will. Now, the person in charge of the Will is the person who would go to court if they had to, and this person is called your Executor. Now people often confuse the term trustee and executor. You've got to realize that they are different jobs regarding different documents.
So the person in charge of your trust, once again, is your trustee. The person in charge of the will is your executor. And the reason we use different terms is because if you say executor, the judge is going to think, “Oh, he's talking about the will.” If you say trustee, we think, “Oh, they're talking about the trust.” Now, the will is only necessary if we have to go to court, and the will is going to tell the judge where you want your assets to go after you pass away. And most wills that are created in conjunction with a trust simply direct everything back to the trust. So that's the person in charge of the will. That's the executor.
The next major document in a typical estate plan is something call your Durable Power of Attorney. This person is called your Agent. Sometimes you might see the term Attorney in Fact, but the point is most lawyers and legal folks call it an agent. And this person acts on your behalf, basically every in other circumstance that doesn't involve the court directly and that doesn't involve your trust. So this person would handle things like credit card companies, your HR department, the Department of Water & Power, talking to your security company.
Whatever the case may be, this person can handle your affairs for you with his legal authority under the Durable Power of Attorney. And again, they're not your trustee, they're not your executor, they are your agent. And then finally, another of the major documents in most estate plans is something called an Advance Healthcare Directive. This person makes health care decisions on your behalf and this person is also called, believe it or not, your agent.
So this person can act on your behalf, but with respect to health care decisions. And the important thing to know is that you can name the same person, if you want, to serve in all four capacities. You don't have to choose different people for different roles, I mean unless you want to. But it's not unusual to have two or three people in your life that you trust, and you name them for all of the documents.
Now if you feel that somebody is stronger in the financial department, you might want to name them. If you feel that somebody might be stronger with health care decisions, you might want to put them first. But those are the four major players of the living trust, the will, the power of attorney, and the healthcare directive.
Once again, the trustee for the trust, executor for the will, agent, or attorney, in fact, for the power of attorney, and agent for the healthcare directive. I hope you found this video helpful. My name is Robert Mansour, and I thank you for watching this brief video.
So you have a living trust? Remember you must place assets IN YOUR TRUST. You can’t just think about it…you actually have to take the time to change title to your assets. This is known as “funding” your trust. In fact, failure to “fund” a trust is the biggest reason most trusts fail.
In most cases, the following assets go “IN” your trust: checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, regular investment accounts, stocks, bonds, credit union accounts, and real estate. Typically, your attorney should take care of the real estate during the signing meeting. However, you should make sure your assets are properly titled as the years go on and as you accumulate further assets. Simply put, assets IN your trust are governed by the trust and avoid the court system. Also, assets "in" your trust can be managed by your successor trustees. Assets NOT in your trust won’t necessarily receive the same benefits. Again, make sure trust assets are listed on your “Schedule A” - a schedule of all trust assets that should also be provided to your by your attorney.
How do you go about putting assets into your living trust? My practice is to prepare letters for my clients to present to their financial institutions. The main purpose of these letters is to illustrate how title should be held. In most cases, the institutions will just want to see the language on the letter. They won't necessarily want to keep the letter. In many cases, they might have you fill out their own forms as well. In addition, some may want to see your “Certification of Trust” which is also something your lawyer should give you as part of your overall plan. Finally, some institutions may ask for copies of certain pages of your trust. That is perfectly fine.
How should title read? In most cases, assets in your trust will be titled as follows: For single people, “YOUR NAME, as Trustee of the NAME OF YOUR TRUST, dated X/X/XXXX” and for married couples, it would be “YOUR NAME and YOUR NAME, as Trustees of NAME OF YOUR TRUST, dated X/X/XXXX.” By doing so, you are placing the asset IN your trust. For example, “John Smith, trustee of the John Smith Living Trust, dated July 5, 2003” or “Mary Smith and John Smith, trustees of the Smith Family Trust, dated July 2, 2010.”
If I can help you with your estate plan, please call my office at (661) 414-7100 for an appointment.
In this short video clip, Robert Mansour discusses the steps involved in the estate planning process. Typically, clients are asked to fill out a questionnaire so the attorney can learn more about their goals, family situation, etc. Based on the answers to those questions, the attorney can make recommendations during the initial consultation. That first meeting usually lasts about one hour or so. During this first meeting, the lawyer should answer the client's questions and discuss what types are legal documents are most appropriate and helpful to the client's situation. Also, if a living trust is recommended, clients need to understand there are several types of living trusts they may want to entertain.
Once the attorney understands what the clients want and their questions have been answered, the lawyer then drafts the documents and sends them to the client for review. If the documents meet with the client's approval, a date and time will be set for signing and finalizing of the documents. In a nutshell, that is the estate planning process. The toughest part is to overcome procrastination and make that first phone call.
Robert Mansour is a lawyer in Santa Clarita, CA. Call today at (661) 414-7100 for more information about protecting yourself and your family. Robert serves Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Castaic, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, and surrounding communities.
What happens if you die without a will? California law has a plan for you - it's called intestate succession. The word "intestate" refers to the situation when people who die without a will. In most cases, your assets will have to go through the Probate Court system (a judge basically supervises the transfer of your assets). Remember, your assets don't pass to others by magic! This process costs about 5% of the gross estate. Here is the distribution scheme California imposes unless you have a will or a living trust that says otherwise:
1) If you die with children but no spouse, parents, or siblings, then your children inherit everything. If you have minor children, this may not be the best idea.
2) If you die having a spouse but no children, parents, or siblings, then the spouse inherits everything.
3) If you die with parents but no children, spouse, or siblings, then your parents inherit everything.
4) If you die with siblings but no children, spouse, or parents, then your siblings inherit everything.
5) If you die having a spouse and children, the spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 or 1/3 of your separate property, and your children inherit 1/2 or 2/3 of your separate property (depending on number of children you had).
6) If you die with a spouse and parents, your spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property, and your parents inherit 1/2 of your separate property.
7) If you die with a spouse and siblings, but no parents, and spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property, and your siblings inherit 1/2 of your separate property.
As you can see, California has a plan for you if you don't create one in advance. In many cases, your estate will have to pass through the court system before anyone can inherit anything. Wouldn't it be better if you had this all planned out in advance? Wouldn't it be better to keep the court system out of your business? Wouldn't it be great to protect yourself and your family?
If you need help with your estate plan, please call (661) 414-7100 and inquire about a consultation.
Here is the transcript from the video:
Hello everyone. This is Robert Mansour. I'm an attorney in the Los Angeles area and we're going to spend a few minutes talking about five easy things you can do to protect your family today. This doesn't even require going to a lawyer. You can do these things on your own and we'll walk through five things that you can do to protect yourself and your family. If you want to learn more about my office you can go to my website which is right there on the screen, www.mansourlaw.com. My office is 661‑414‑7100. Let's begin.
If you have any assets that are in your name alone you want to make sure you get yourself a will. People say well what is a will? What is the legal significance of a will? A will is just basically a letter to the judge telling the judge where you want your assets to go after you pass away. So that's all it really is and also a will only goes into effect after you pass away. It's really of no legal significance and no legal use while you're still alive. You can name guardians for minor children as part of your will. If you want to get a free California will and you don't want to go to a lawyer and you don't want to get a more robust estate plan that might include a living trust etcetera, you can go to www.calbar.org. On the left-hand side search for the public forms and you will find a free California will available for you with instructions on how to fill it out and you can have it witnessed by two witnesses which is the requirement here currently in California and keep in mind though a will is not a panacea. A will is not going to solve all your problems and in fact a will is to some extent a limited document. But if you don't have one and you can get one for free, why not? Check it out at the California Bar Association. Let's go to Step 2.
Step 2, check the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies and tax deferred accounts. So remember I talked about a will. A will controls assets that are in your name alone. However there is a lot of things you might have like life insurance policies and tax deferred accounts like IRAs and 401Ks and 403Bs. Those things pass by way of a designated beneficiary. When you got those things you probably filled out a form called a beneficiary form. So it doesn't matter what your will says. Basically what matters is what that form says. So a lot of married couples for example will find that they have their spouse listed but when they review these beneficiary designations they find that they often forget to put somebody beyond the spouse. They don't put their children. They don't put their sisters or brothers or whoever they want the asset to go to. So in the event of a common accident, the husband and the wife pass away and now we're stuck because there are no other beneficiaries listed on the form. So not only do you want to check who your primary beneficiary is but you also want to check who your secondary beneficiaries are. Now, if you have minor children and in California that's people who are under the age of 18 are considered minors, you want to be very careful and you may not want to name them as the secondary or contingent beneficiaries. You may want to name a living trust as the beneficiary in the case of minor children. But if you want to learn more about that you can visit my website or give me a call. I'll be happy to explain that further. Also if you have beneficiaries that you might have a concern about how they would handle the money you may not want to name them directly. But at the very least check who you have and make sure that it's correct and make sure that you name individuals and don't put something like my estate shall be the beneficiary. That's inviting trouble right there.
Next is Step 3 here. We're going to get an advance health care directive. Get an advance health care directive. Now why is that important? An advance health care directive allows somebody to make health care decisions for you if you cannot. Not only that, they can be your advocate. They can advocate for you in the hospital setting or, you know, let's say for example the hospital staff is not paying attention to you or the nurses are not helping you or they're giving you the wrong medication or whatever the case may be, or you need to be relocated from one facility to another. Your agent under the healthcare directive can advocate for you and make those kinds of decisions. Also the health care agent can decide whether or not, you know, life support should be extended, whether or not, you know, a certain surgery that is being recommended should be done or not. People often think that their spouse is automatically entitled to do this. That is an incorrect assumption. One must be given the legal authority to act via an advance health care directive. Some states in the U.S. still call this thing a living will, but in California we call it an advance health care directive. You can get an entry level form from the California attorney general's office. Just look them up on the internet. Look up the California attorney general, type in the search box advance health care directive and you'll find a free form that is entry level but it's better than having nothing so go ahead and get that in place and empower whomever you want. Make sure you list a primary agent and also one or two secondary agents.
Next is Step 4. Examine how you hold title to your assets. Take a look at everything that you own and ask yourself how do I own that asset? Do you own it as a single individual? Do you own it jointly? Do you own it as joint tenancy, tenants in common? Do you own it in a living trust? Do you own it in your name alone? All of these things have legal ramifications. This is not just something to toy with. You really have to examine this and ask yourself is that really the way I want to hold title to my asset? So if you want to discuss that further you might find some good resources on my website or give me a call and I will explain to you the ramifications. One ramification that we could talk about is joint ownership. Joint ownership is when you own property jointly with other people and that's fine. There's nothing wrong with holding property jointly with other people but what happens is if one person passes away, the other person is now the owner of that property and if they add another person and then they pass away then that third person now owns the property. Basically this is one of the easiest ways for people to lose their assets in this country. Joint ownership is one of the leading causes of disinheritance, people losing their wealth to other people because they put others on title with them and the property and the asset mysteriously ends up in the wrong hands. So make sure you take a very close look at how you hold title to your assets.
Step No. 5, review your insurance policies. Now I don't sell insurance and I'm just telling you this because I have seen time and time again people getting burned because they did not have adequate insurance. Sometimes clients come to me and they say, well we don't have a lot of money and we're not sure if we should do an estate plan. We've got these little kids, etcetera. I say look, go get yourself a big life insurance policy. If you pass away a lot of money can be passed onto your children to help them with college, to help them with paying the mortgage, to help the kids with, I don't know, day care. You name it. They're going to need that money and so you want to make sure you have adequate life insurance. So talk to somebody who knows what they're talking about and get yourself some really good life insurance especially if your estate is going to need a lot of cash in order to deal with a catastrophic situation. Also you want to take a look at your auto insurance policies. Do you have enough insurance? A lot of people don't have enough insurance on their car insurance policies and they end up getting in horrific car accidents and there's not enough money there for the family. They generally rely on the responsible party, the person who caused the accident, but guess what? 25 percent of the time that person is either not going to have enough insurance or not have any insurance at all so you want to make sure that you have the adequate car insurance not only for liability but also for something called uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist. Make sure you check your life insurance policies and your auto insurance policies and your homeowners insurance because so many people have basically gone from great wealth to nothing because of a catastrophe and they didn't have the adequate insurance policies.
And that's been five easy things you can do to protect your family. My name again is Robert Mansour. Thank you for watching this short video. I hope you found it helpful and if you did please pass it along to others. Again these are five things that you can do on your own with a few phone calls, talk to a couple of professionals in your life, your insurance broker, if you have an attorney you want to talk to them to get more information that's fine. Or you can call my office and get more information as well. Thank you very much for watching.
People often ask me why they shouldn't buy their estate documents online or purchase their documents from a paralegal. Of course, they are free to do what they want. However, when it comes to legal documents, you have to be very careful. You might buy the prettiest documents in the world. They might even come in a fancy binder. However, they may leave a lot to be desired at the end of the day.
When it comes to estate planning documents, you need to make sure you are dealing with quality. An attorney who is experienced in the field of estate planning knows the language that should be included depending on your situation. They've been "down the river" before, and they can often anticipate what might be a trouble spot for your family.
It is often what is NOT addressed in the documents that becomes a problem. There are many common issues in life that must be addressed in the documents. Therefore, if all your documents do is split up your estate among your heirs, that is often far too basic. Depending on your situation, an attorney with experience might recommend some kind of special language over another. Also there are many common provisions that should be considered when dealing with certain specific situations. Again, what is unaddressed can become a thorn later on. When a document is silent on a particular issue, that issue can become a big problem.
For example, a client came to me and asked why his brother should get a fair share when his brother had borrowed money from his parents several times over the years. When his parents passed away, his brother had borrowed about $100,000 over the years. He asked me whether or not his brother's share should be reduced by the amount of the money borrowed from his parents over the years. Of course, his brother wanted his share without any reduction. I explained the living trust did not address what to do with loans. The document did not say anything about reductions to account for prior loans. Therefore, since the living trust was silent on the issue, his brother was to get a fair share just like him. This of course caused a big problem between the brothers, and they don't speak till this day. This may not be an issue in your family, but most families have their own issues that should probably be addressed in the documents. Also, if issues are addressed in the documents, that causes less family problems because the documents say exactly what the Trustee is supposed to do. Nothing is simply left to the imagination.
It is very important to make sure your documents say exactly what you want them to say. Having a living trust and other estate planning documents in place is wise, but don't get inadequate documents that do not address your specific issues. Also, you want to revisit your trust and other documents over the years to make sure they continue to suit your needs and address your family's issues.
Clients are often surprised to discover that there are actually several different "kinds" of living trusts. They call the office and say, "Hey, how much for a living trust?" The main reason I believe prospective clients ask that question is because they don't really know what to ask, so they ask about fees instead.
Then I tell them, "Well, the fee partially depends on what type of living trust is best for your family." They respond, "What do you mean? I want a 'LIVING' trust." I explain that there are several types of "LIVING" trusts available, and we will address what kind of living trust is best for the client during the initial consultation."
Therefore, during the initial consultation with my clients, we explore the types of trusts available to them, and we try to figure out what would be best for the clients and their particular situation. I make recommendations based on what I learn during the first meeting.
Some trusts allow the surviving spouse to make changes upon the first death. Others do not. Some trusts are only designed to avoid probate and pass assets to others. Other trusts call for a split of the assets into subtrusts upon the first death - some make the split mandatory and others make the trust split discretionary. There are "probate avoidance trusts," "disclaimer trusts," "AB trusts," "ABC/QTIP Trusts," and other variations. Married couples generally have the most flexibility.
Some living trusts have provisions regarding children and some have even further provisions regarding grandchildren. Some contain "Pet Trusts." Some trusts are specific, and others deliberately broad.
Once clients understand they are not going to a get a "one size fits all" estate plan, they start to understand that estate planning is more than just filling out a couple of forms and going home.
I was very honored to be invited to SCV Today, a local television program covering local Santa Clarita events and issues. Hosts Tami Edwards and Dave Caldwell asked me some very common questions regarding estate planning, wills, living trusts, and much more. We discussed issues such as "What is the difference between a will and a living trust?", "Doesn't the spouse simply get everything?", and "Don't my children get everything when I die anyway?" We also touched on the issue of probate and what's involved. Tami also raised the Advance Health Care Directive and how important it is to have someone in charge of such decisions. Finally Dave asked Rob about what's involved in creating an estate plan. Rob explains several basic concepts in this video segment.
Robert Mansour is a wills and living trusts lawyer in Santa Clarita, California. He also serves Valencia, Newhall, Saugus, Canyon Country, Castaic, Stevenson Ranch and surrounding communities. For those without a plan, Rob generally offers free consultations. Call today and schedule your appointment - (661) 414-7100.
HERE IS THE TRANSCRIPT FROM THE INTERVIEW:
Dave: Welcome back to SCV Today. Today we are all getting older. A lot of us are family, have families.
Tami: Mm, hmm
Dave: You're not getting older, but you do have a family.
Tami: Yes I do.
Dave: Right? And, uh, we need to be thinking ahead of things. My parents thought ahead, long, long time ago and they created a living trust, and, uh, now Rob Mansour is on to talk about that, an estate planner –
Rob Mansour: Mm, hmm
Dave: - an attorney, an Oxy grad.
Rob Mansour: Oxy grad, that's right, proud of it.
Dave: Yeah –
Rob Mansour: And Oxy's statistic, uh, most Oxy grads marry other Oxy grads, and my wife is also an Oxy grad.
Dave: Wow, that's very cool.
Rob Mansour: So, she, you know, I'm a good catch so what can I say.
Tami: You are a good catch, Rob.
Rob Mansour: Thank you very much.
Dave: Let's, let's talk about this. We're gonna start the conversation off with something very basic, the living trust versus a will.
Rob Mansour: Mm, hmm
Dave: What's the better way to go?
Rob Mansour: Okay, if you have more than $150,000.00 in California, uh, real estate, uh, bank account, investment, etc., you're better off with a trust. A will only goes into effect when you die, so if you have a will, a lot of please say, oh I have a will. I say that's great, but it doesn't mean anything while you're still living. Nobody can use a will to assist you in case of incapacity or you get into an accident or something like that. A will is just a wish list of where you want your things to go when you die. I want my vase to go to my Cousin Sally. I want my car to go to my, my Cousin Vinnie. I want this to go here, this to go there. That's all a will does, and you gotta go to court with the will. That's called probate court. You've heard of criminal court, civil court, juvenile court. Well, there's something called probate court, and that's where the judge makes sure that Sally gets this and Johnny gets that, and the house gets to the kids, and it's court supervised, but it's very expensive. It takes a long time, sometimes two years or more, and it's very frustrating because who has the time. Also, let's say you have a house that's going through the probate process. Somebody has to pay the mortgage on that house, and statement the family doesn't have the money, so everybody's kinda like, okay, what are we gonna do? And I've had families have to walk away from certain assets because they could not afford to continue making the payment while it's making its way through this probate system.
Tami: So, now I know a big misconception is if you have a will, it, it doesn't go to probate, but that's, that is a huge misconception.
Rob Mansour: Well, a will is almost guaranteeing probate because it's, a will is a letter to the judge.
Rob Mansour: Dear Judge: This is where I want my stuff to go when I pass away. That's all it is. Um, now some people try to –
Tami: You getting nervous over here?
Dave: I'm getting very nervous, yeah.
Rob Mansour: We better get you an estate plan quick because you're about to –
Dave: Yeah, we got about six minutes left in this segment. Can you get it done?
Rob Mansour: Quick, quick, let's get your paperwork in order.
Rob Mansour: But you're right, yeah, there are other things that people try to do. They try to do joint ownership as a way around a will. They'll say, I'll just own things jointly with my spouse or, but that has its own dangers, and if you want, we can get into those, but I don't know, you know, if that's something that you want to address.
Dave: Well, let me, let me ask you a quick question. I'm sorry to interrupt you, but, but I have one child.
Rob Mansour: Yep.
Dave: What happened, is, is everything automatically gonna go to him?
Rob Mansour: Okay, uh, what's your son's first name?
Rob Mansour: Chris, okay, so you pass away. You're unmarried, correct? Everything will go to Chris according to California law. How old is Chris?
Rob Mansour: Okay, so Chris will get everything right away, which might be fine, but remember, he's gotta go through the probate process to get everything.
Rob Mansour: If you own –
Dave: Which can take –
Rob Mansour: a real estate –
Dave: -which can take some time?
Rob Mansour: - yeah, there's no magic pixy dust that comes from the sky and makes everything belong to Chris. He can't just sell your house or your car or things that he doesn't own, and he can't just start doing that. Also, if it really a good idea for Chris to get everything at 21? Maybe he should get things at 25 or 30. What if Chris is in a bad marriage and there's a divorce pending? Should that ex-spouse get half of your stuff during that, during that process?
Dave: Good point.
Rob Mansour: What if, uh, Chris becomes a spendthrift and can't hold onto money? What if he's in bankruptcy or creditor trouble or he's got, he made a bad investment and they're coming after him?
Dave: Don't, don't forget, he's an Oxy guy so do you think he's gonna do all these things?
Rob Mansour: No, of course not, but somebody other than Chris –
Dave: Yeah, I gotcha.
Rob Mansour: - might have those problems and wouldn't it be nice if everything was sitting in the Dave Caldwell Trust protected for Chris' benefit and shielded away from all of these things? That might be a good idea.
Dave: Yeah, it sounds like it.
Tami: Now, I, I know people in my life that actually have well over $15,000.00 in real estate and so on and so forth.
Rob Mansour: Mm, hmm
Tami: And they don't have a, a will or a trust –
Rob Mansour: Right.
Tami: - and, the, the thought process is, well when one of us goes, it automatically goes to the other anyway. It doesn't matter. We don't need it.
Rob Mansour: Automatically is a big word because let's say my wife and I own something together, like a bank account. Oftentimes husbands and wives are together on real estate and bank accounts. One person dies; yes that's true. The, the remaining spouse does get everything, but at some point, you're gonna run out of people, and now you got one person on that asset, and so now what do we do? So let's say, for example, my wife and I own our house together. Let's say I pass away, okay? Men generally pass away first, for some reason, so I pass away first, right, Dave, no, no comments.
Rob Mansour: But then my wife, my wife meets somebody new. Let's call him, um, Bill and she and Bill get married, and she puts Bill on everything, and then my wife passes away. Guess who owns everything?
Rob Mansour: Bill
Rob Mansour: My kids get nothing. This is the problem with joint ownership. Joint ownership is one of the, the leading reasons why people lose their wealth in this country, remarriages, new friend, somebody you put on your account with you. Sometimes you put people on the account just because you want them to be able to pay your bills, and help you out, but what you don't realize is that, that, you've essentially given them that asset.
Rob Mansour: So, automatically also is not true. I had a client who had a property in Orange County. He passed away. His wife did get that house, but she had to go through the court system to get it because it was only in his name. So, yes, she eventually did get it, but it was even more complicated because he had some natural children from a previous relationship. So, now the wife owns the property with those kids from the previous marriage, and they are in business together now, and they don't get along very well.
Dave: Oh boy.
Rob Mansour: So, California has a plan for you, but I always tell clients, look, you take control. You say when people are gonna get your stuff and how they're gonna get your stuff. Don't let California dictate what happens.
Dave: How easy or difficult is it to create a living trust? Is it, is it a long process or is it simply an office visit; you can get it squared away, and needs, does it need to go through a court to be certified?
Rob Mansour: No, not at all. It's a, it's a contract. So, let's say you and, uh, well let's say Tammy and her husband come in, and they wanna do an estate plan. They sit down with me. We spend probably about an hour and half devising the plan. We also wanna talk about what kinds of living trusts are most appropriate because it's not like you just buy a car. You don't go to the dealership and say, hey, give me a car. But, you have to check, well what kind of car do you need? So, then Tammy and her husband and I would talk about what kind of trust would be best, how the children should receive their inheritance. Should it be all at once? Should it be in stages? Who is going to be in charge of everything in that trust if anything happens to Tammy and her husband? And this first process is probably an hour and a half meeting, sometimes two hours, and then I work on the documents, and I send them to the client for their review. The whole process takes about 45 days to 60 days. Keep in mind that a living trust and a will are just two things in the toolbox that you get. You're gonna get an advanced healthcare directive for each party. You're gonna get durable powers of attorney, marital property agreements. If you own a business of any sort, there needs to be paperwork regarding that. So the first question people always say is, how much for the trust, but I, when I educate them that a trust is just one tool in the toolbox, they start to get a better idea that there's more to it than just one –
Rob Mansour: - one legal document.
Tami: Right, well you know when you're in a situation where there, there is one, one surviving parent, and something happens to them, and if there's no directive as to who is in charge of making the medical decisions, and, um, I can imagine my four children 'cause I would have two feeling one way, two feeling the other –
Rob Mansour: And nobody in charge.
Tami: - Two would be saying pull the plug and the other two would be going, no, save her. I won't say which two are which, but –
Rob Mansour: Also keep in mind that this healthcare directive for example, it's very important because it not only allows you the proverbial pull the plug scenario, but it allows you to be an advocate for that loved one. You can raise, you know, you can raise trouble in the hospital if people are not paying attention to that person. If, you can get the medical records and go to another facility. You can take that individual and take them to a different location.
Rob Mansour: Otherwise, without those tools, you might find yourself, uh, very frustrated.
Tami: Mm, hmm
Rob Mansour: Yeah.
Dave: Rob, thank you very much for joining us. We've gotta take a break here, but –
Rob Mansour: Thank you, Dave.
Dave: - I, I have, I have a feeling that we're gonna need to bring Rob back.
Tami: We definitely need to bring Rob back.
Dave: There's a lot, there's a lot –
Tami: Will you come back?
Rob Mansour: Uh, sure, yes, you're very, you're both very nice, and I love the set, so yes. It's my honor.
Tami: We need to talk personal injury when you come back.
Dave: Oh, yeah.
Tami: We need to talk my case with the Super Bowl people that are –
Rob Mansour: Of course, yes -
Tami: - gonna sue me for saying Super Bowl.
Rob Mansour: - your pending litigation.
Tami: Yes. So, you know, we're gonna have you back.
Rob Mansour: Well thank you very much.
Tami: You're awesome, Rob.
Rob Mansour: Appreciate it.
Tami: And call Rob. He's awesome.
Dave: Call Rob Mansour. If you wanna get his information, you can always go to our web site scvtoday.com. We will direct you over to Rob's best way to contact.
Rob Mansour: Thank you very much.
Dave: And we'll do that. As Tammy mentioned, the big game is coming up this weekend. I'm not gonna say way. I respect the NFL. You're not gonna say anything?
Tami: I was gonna say the NFL can suck it, but I won't.
Rob Mansour: Oh boy.
Dave: Mackenzie Holland's gonna join us here in just a moment. We're gonna talk about healthy, big-game snacks.
We should talk about the word "estate." I think it tends to mislead a lot of people. They figure "estate planning is not for me," because the first thing they think of when they think of the word "estate" is of somebody living in a big mansion, somebody who is very wealthy. I tell people to think of the word "estate" as simply being equivalent to the term "stuff." Everybody has "stuff." Your stuff could include, checking accounts, savings accounts of any sort, jewelry, clothing, stocks bonds, etc.
Estate planning is simply planning what to do with your stuff, after you die and if you are no longer able to handle your own affairs. First, ask yourself who will be in charge of your stuff if something were to happen to you. You need to empower people to act on your behalf in case something ever happens, whether it is a car accident, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, a coma. If something happens where you're no longer able to handle your affairs, you want to make sure that you give people the legal tools that they need to be able to assist you the way you want things done. Second, after you pass away you still get to control where you stuff goes, to whom it goes, and in what manner. So by preparing proper legal documents in advance, by creating this "estate plan" with all your "stuff," you get to control a lot more of what happens rather than just leaving things to chance.
The main analogy I use when I explain estate planning to clients is this: "An estate plan is like a toolbox." Most toolboxes have several "main" tools - a hammer, wrench, screwdrivers, nails, etc. If something breaks in your home, how can you fix it if you don't have a toolbox? If you don't have a legal toolbox, then how can your loved ones help you when things go wrong? A solid "legal plan" also has some main ingredients - basic tools that most clients should have in case something occurs.
The four major components of most estate plans are:
1) A Living Trust - an enforceable legal document that outlines who is entitled to manage your affairs if you can no longer handle them (these are your "successor trustees"). The trust governs everything in the name of the trust or payable to the trust. Also, everything in the name of the trust avoids the court system.
2) A Will - most estate plan use this tool as a backup to the trust. It's more specifically known as a "pour over" will. If you forgot an asset outside the trust, and if court involvement is necessary, the will directs the judge to put your asset into your living trust. The person in charge of your will is called your "executor."
3) A Durable Power of Attorney - This document allows someone known as your "agent" to act on your behalf in most other circumstances. While the "trustee" handles assets in the name of the trust, the agent under power of attorney can act on your behalf when dealing with issues not directly trust-related. By called it a "durable" power of attorney, it means the document is effective even if you are incapacitated - which is basically when you'd want it to be effective after all.
4) An Advance Health Care Directive - This document allows someone known as your "agent" to make health care decisions on your behalf. A solid health care directive addresses more than simply "end of life" issues such as the proverbial "pulling of the plug." Your agent can be your advocate when necessary and direct your health care in your best interests.
Please call my office at (661) 414-7100 for help with your estate planning needs. Also, visit our videos page to learn much more about estate planning basics. You can also see our free webinar.