Want to know HOW to appoint a guardian?!

Hey Mama! 

Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving! I don’t know about you, but I have A TON OF LEFTOVERS…I’m pretty turkey’d out! 🙂

Oh and happy cyber Monday! In case you missed it, I launched a pre-sale of an amazing new product coming out early January 2017. It’s call KEYPER and its a DIY Guardianship appointment product that allows you to actually name a guardian for your kiddos. 

You can get all the details here! 

And if you know someone who could use it, please feel free to share! The more children protected, the better! 

So back to my post for today- want to know how you decide on a guardian? 

Well, I like to take my clients through a little process. You’ll need at least one sheet of paper. checklist

Take that sheet of paper. One one side, list out some of the most important people- the ones you love and trust. The ones you confide in. The ones you trust with your life. 

On the other side of the paper write down your top 3 parenting values. Some examples are: temper, relationship with your child, religion, values, viewpoint on education, relationship with you, honesty, marital status, age, etc.

Then check to see if there is someone who matches or almost matches all 3 of your top values. 

Now, remember, you might not find a “perfect match” but the idea is to find someone who would care for your child and who has the parenting style most similar or “close to a perfect match.”

So, go ahead and get started. Pick your best match AND then appoint your guardian with KEYPER! 

xo
Carmen

Why do people procrastinate in appointing a guardian?

You get that you need an estate plan. You know the importance of appointing a guardian. You know you don’t want your child to be left in the foster care system.

So, let me ask you a question….. WHY ARE YOU PROCRASTINATING?

photo-1476703993599-0035a21b17a9I mean is it better for you to stay in your comfort zone, not deal with the feelings of discomfort and allow your babe to get stuck in a court battle or with strangers they don’t know?

Didn’t think so. But, so you don’t feel like you’re alone, I’ll tell you what the top excuses people use:

  1. You just don’t want to talk about it: It’s very common for parents to not want to think about. But the problem is that just hoping someone will step up and actually take charge on their own is a huge mistake. You need to talk about it. Talk about it with the other parent. With the person you’d want to be guardian.
  2. Haven’t been able to decide on a person: You haven’t been able to decide on a person. This is probably because you’re trying too hard to find the “perfect person”- the person who will be just like you. Guess what? That person doesn’t exist. There is someone that is really close, so don’t dismiss them. No one, and I mean no one, will parent YOUR child just like you. Go with the next best option.
  3. You don’t understand how it works: Good news! That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to help you get it all on paper. Help you figure out the best options for you and either do it for you or walk you through it. Just know that appointing a guardian is actually easy to document and there are lots of resources out there to assist you.
  4. It’s too expensive: Is there really a price tag for the safety and protection of your child? There are a lot of different resources in varying price ranges to nominate a guardian. There is something out there to suit everyone’s needs.

If you’re serious about protecting your munchkins, STOP PROCRASTINATING. I already know you know and I’m calling you out on it!

Let’s EAT! Our new Estate Plan Program.

written by Bay Area Estate Planning Attorney Carmen Rosas.
Let's EAT! Eating with a purpose.

Let’s EAT! Eating with a purpose.

Think you can’t afford estate planning? Well, we have a fun, straight to the point, planning program that could work for you.

It’s a POTLUCK! Yes, you read that right 

Here is how it works:

1) Find 8 people (minimum)- could be 4 couples, 8 individuals, 2 couples/4 individuals- you get the picture. Pick a date (or two) and location that works for you.

2) Email me and let’s set the date!

3) I will send out homework for your group with plenty of time to think about and discuss with spouses/significant others/your pet.

4) Your group members each bring a dish to share and all those ideas and burning questions y’all have.

5) We meet, eat, and complete your Will, Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney- Please note: this program does not include a trust.

Pricing is as follows:
Individual $250
Couple $375

This estate planning is offered to the public at little to no cost BUT through this program, you get an attorney to review your documents and answer any questions you may have.

Potlucks are limited to two per month, require a minimum 3 week advance scheduling, and payment is due in advance.

If this seems like something you might be interested in, send me an email carmen@carmenrosaslaw.com

Now, let’s EAT!

Time flies……

….when you’re having fun!

Hi and Happy February!   february

I cannot believe how quickly time has flown. It’s been almost a month since my last post and I promise to keep in touch more! We have been busy with new estate plans and planning tricks and tips for our clients. On top of that we have been busy out in the community.

Not sure if I mentioned it, but I was elected president of the Santa Clara County La Raza Lawyer’s Association. I was so honored to be nominated and know I have some big heels to fill. If you don’t know much about the organization, visit our website www.scclarazalawyers.com and see what new and exciting events we have going on.

In addition to that, two of my estate planning articles were published in an online magazine and I am in the process of writing a third article for another online magazine! The articles are here– take a look and please let me know your thoughts!

Well, just wanted to check in with you and give you an update. I will also be sending out my Valentine’s Day Newsletter this week so stay tuned!

If you do not yet have an estate plan, have questions or need help with a trust administration or probate proceeding, schedule your  30 minute complimentary strategy session. Simply schedule your call on our website contact page or simply click this link!

 

What is a Trust?

A trust is simply a contractual arrangement between three parties – the Trustor (aka the Grantor or the Settlor), the Trustee and the Beneficiary – which specifies the rights, responsibilities and obligations with respect to assets that the Trustor has transferred to the trust and that should be distributed to the Beneficiary.

Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust means that it can be changed/amended during the Trustor’s lifetime. An irrevocable trust cannot be changed. A revocable trust, depending on the language can become irrevocable immediately upon death.

Trusts help to avoid Probate upon death and Conservatorship during the lifetime. In addition, trusts can accomplish a variety of objectives when planning an estate:

  • Minimize estate taxes
  • Hold assets for minor, disabled, or financially irresponsible beneficiaries.
  • Create flexibility in estate planning for couples in a second marriage.
  • Living TrustProvide asset protection and divorce protection for beneficiaries of the deceased.

The next question is DO I NEED A TRUST?

Well if you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you should consult an attorney to figure out whether or not a trust is the right move for you.

  • Do I have minor children who I wish to provide for at my death, but yet delay distributing money to them until they are older so that they are better able to handle the money responsibly?
  • Do I have an adult child who is disabled or incapable of handling his finances?
  • Do I have a child with a drinking, drug or gambling problem?
  • Do I have an adult child with an untrustworthy spouse?
  • Do I have a child who is so successful that he will be subject to his own estate taxes?
  • Do I have a child who is in a business or profession potentially subject to personal liability?
  • Am I divorced and do I have minor children?
  • Am I re-married and have children from a prior marriage?
  • Am I concerned about the privacy of my affairs and the affairs of my heirs after my death?
  • Am I concerned about the costs and timeliness of concluding my affairs after my death?
  • Do I own real estate located in a state other than the state in which I reside?
  • Do I trust the federal government to continue to allow a couple to transfer $10.5 million of assets at death without paying federal estate taxes?

If you want to know more about the Top Estate Planning Documents check out our old post here.

Want to know more or set up a plan? Give us a call.

Sherlock Holmes and “Multiple Personalities”

Here is some “celebrity gossip” for you to start the week. The estate belonging to the writer of the infamous Sherlock Holmes is being sued.

Leslie Klinger, an author, editor and Sherlock Holmes expert sued Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s estate and wants an order that enjoins the Doyle estate from further asserting certain rights. Klinger states that the copyright has expired on major story elements of the famous detective.

Throughout the years, there’s been many versions of Sherlock Holmes including Warner Bros.’ two recent films starring Robert Downey Jr. and CBS’ Elementary, which gives a modern take on the character.

Image courtesy of wikipedia

Image courtesy of wikipedia

While working on his book, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, Klinger was contacted by agents for the Doyle estate who asserted a license was needed to continue his work. Instead of agreeing, Klinger sought a declaratory judgment in Illinois federal court, pointing out that many of Doyle’s stories were published before 1920s, which is argued puts them in the public domain.

Typically, the copyright term is life of the author plus 70 years or 95 years after publication, whichever is earliest. How many of Doyle’s Holmes stories are “in” copyright depends on how you count. Doyle’s estate counts ten stories are still subject to copyright.

Now that the estate has finally responded, the judge presiding over the case can begin hearing evidence and arguments to make a decision.

Happy Monday 🙂

P.S. Dont forget to schedule your consult before the end of the month to receive our birthday discount off your estate plan!

“I only own a house, I don’t need a trust!”

Let me tell you a story……

Mike’s daughter Jessica came to him one day after attending a seminar on living trusts, and told her father that he needed a living trust.   “Why do I need a living trust,” Mike replied, “all I have is the house your mother left when she died.”

Here are some of the reasons that Mike should strongly consider having the home put into a living trust:

1.       Mike didn’t realize that ownership of a house or any other real estate in California with a market value of $50,000 or more (as of January 1, 2012) was sufficient to require that a Probate proceeding in the Probate Court would be necessary in order for him to pass the family home on to his daughter at his death.   Because the house is worth $600,000, well over $50,000, Jessica, will have to go through a Probate proceeding that could end up costing court filing fees, publication fee, court appraiser’s fee, and attorney’s fees of thousands of dollars, perhaps as much as $10,000 to $15,000 or more.   Also, because the Probate process has many time delays, it would probably take her at least 1 year to 2 years or more before Jessica would actually own the family home or receive the proceeds from the sale of the home.   Owning the home in a living trust will avoid much of the lost time and expense of Probate;

2.       If Mike becomes disabled and it becomes necessary for Jessica to take over Mike’s finances to help him out, without a living trust owning Mike’s house, Jessica will have to start a Conservatorship proceeding in the same Probate Court, incurring thousands of dollars of additional expense in attorneys fee, filing fees, Court Investigator’s fees, and accountant’s fees.   With a living trust and a document called a Durable Power of Attorney, Jessica can handle things for her father without getting the Probate Court involved;

3.       Additionally, if Mike becomes disabled and needs medical care, Jessica will likely have to use the same Conservatorship proceeding to request authority to make medical and health care decisions for her father, again incurring the lost time and expense noted above.   An additional document called an Advance Health Care Directive can grant Jessica the authority she needs to handle her father’s medical and health care needs without getting the Probate Court involved.

To sum this story up, a comprehensive estate plan involving the use of a well-drafted living trust, pour-over will, Durable Power of Attorney, and Advance Health Care Directive is essential for Mike to make sure that his daughter Jessica does not have to spend thousands of dollars and countless weeks waiting to inherit Mike’s house.

Unfortunately, self-help books and legal websites are inadequate to prepare a good, comprehensive estate plan.  Mike needs the help of a qualified estate planning attorney who can ask the hard questions and craft a plan that is unique and suited to his needs.

If you or your loved ones need more FREE information regarding estate planning design, contact our Redwood City estate planning office to assist you.

Don’t be a Fool this April- Plan ahead!

1300137640fZ1a4THappy April Folks!  We hope everyone enjoyed their Easter holiday (if it was celebrated)! Our office has been busy assisting clients with estate planning issues, probate hearings, child visitation modifications, writing a new e-book, working on an “Estate Planning 101” Basics seminar, working on our Vlog  and podcast series, and revamping our website! So we have been just a little bit busy!

How have you been? Have you been busy and completing your Estate Planning Homework Assignments? Have you made an appointment with an estate planning attorney in your area? (We have experienced estate planning attorneys in California, specifically Redwood City and San Jose AND we have a virtual law office to serve the rest of California 🙂 ) Are you just starting assignment #1? Don’t wait too much longer- you don’t want to be the April Fool who waited too long to create an estate plan (insert fake laugh here!).

So as promised here is some discussion about one of the Must Have Documents– a will. This scenario can apply to individuals either in their first, second or third marriage, or just have children from previous relationships; It can also be considered where there are issues of separate property and inheritance.

WHAT WILL YOU PICKReciprocal and Non-Reciprocal Wills

When thinking about your will, decide whether you and your spouse will execute reciprocal wills. Reciprocal wills are wills executed by husband and wife, which are exactly alike. This means that each will leaves the same asset(s) to the same person(s) in the same proportion. For example, Jane and John, each on their second marriage are married to one another, and each has one child from a previous marriage. They both execute wills, which leave everything to the other, and in case the other is deceased, one-half of the estate to Jane’s child and one-half to John’s child. Some things to keep in mind when deciding whether to execute reciprocal wills.

When executing RECIPROCAL wills, your spouse is free to change his or her will at any time. For example, John and Jane, each on their second marriage are married to one another, and each has one child from a previous marriage. They both execute wills, which leave everything to the other, and in case the other is deceased, one-half of the estate to Jane’s child and one-half to John’s child. Jane dies, and John inherits the entire estate. He then may change his Will to leave the entire estate to his child, and disinherit Jane’s child.

When executing NON-RECIPROCAL wills, you will need to determine what assets belong to each of you so that there is no confusion about what property each party may leave to his or her heirs. If you experience any difficulty reaching an agreement concerning ownership of your property, a pre-nuptial agreement or your state’s marital property, laws may dictate ownership of some or all of your property for you.

Your spouse is not required to inform you of changes made to his or her will.

Whether executing reciprocal wills or not, your spouse is free to change his or her will at any time and is under no obligation to inform you of the change. This means that he or she may remove your children as beneficiaries and leave their entire estate to their own children, without your permission or knowledge.

Feel free to contact our office if you have any additional questions! Enjoy this beautiful Spring weather!

Tight Budgets Need Quality Representation

You want a divorce but don’t know how to manage with an already tight budget. Or maybe you need help with a custody issue but are worries about the cost of hiring a lawyer. To be honest, hiring an attorney is just simply more than you can afford right now. Well, good news- there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Whether Limited Scope Representation is right for you, depends on how complicated your issue is. Often times clients don’t need to hire on an attorney for the full range of services. At the Law Office of Carmen M. Rosas we work with our clients to package services that not only fit the needs of the client, but their wallet too.

Some examples of matters we handle under a limited scope representation include:

  • Drafting of Marital Settlement Agreements
  • Custody/parenting plan requests, hearings, and negotiations
  • Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) hearings
  • Settlement Conference
  • Non-DCSS support modification requests and hearings- Request for Orders

When representing our clients in limited scope, we prepare a fee agreement stating exactly what services are included in the cost. This avoids any confusion as to what is included and what is additional to the cost quoted. And, if there is a hearing in which an attorney will be present, we prepare the Notice of Limited Scope for the Court so they know our attorney is representing you at that hearing only.

“Does hiring an attorney in limited scope mean I can’t hire the attorney for full services?”- No! The limited scope representation is usually a starting point for many clients. Sometimes, if their budget permits or legal issue requires, clients will hire on our attorneys for the full range of services our office provides.

If a client does decide to hire our attorney for more comprehensive representation, we simply draft a new fee agreement stating such.

Getting Help– at the Law Office of Carmen M. Rosas we have a compassionate and experienced attorney in Redwood City and San Jose. Contact Carmen Rosas today for knowledgeable and trustworthy representation. Call us at (650) 503-3770 or e-mail us at carmenrosaslaw@gmail.com

You Don’t Have to Be Elizabeth Taylor….

Liz and her husbands

Liz and her husbands

You don’t need to be Elizabeth Taylor to be on your second, third, or even fourth or fifth marriage. If you have had more than one spouse, you have special estate planning needs, especially if you have children with each spouse. If you avoid these issues, it is almost certainly a way to create a less-than-desired result in the event of illness, incapacity, or death. The best way to have a smooth transition upon disability or death is to create a comprehensive strategy before you aren’t here to execute the papers.

Remarriage may result in cordial, but often not close, step relations. Frequently, such people thrown together by marriage simply tolerate each other until the biological parent dies or becomes disabled, or divorce occurs.

On the death of the biological parent, what happens? If proper estate planning isn’t done, the surviving spouse and step-parent has the option to take all that you intended to leave to your biological child.

By working with an estate planning attorney, you can ensure that both your new spouse and your children receive what you want them to. This can be done through either a prenuptial agreement and/or a fully funded trust (new post coming soon regarding “funding”).

Contact our San Jose, Fremont, or Redwood City Estate Planning Attorney. We will be more than happy to help you create the plan that best suits your needs or update the one you currently have.