Are you too comfortable?

Hey There, Mama!
Have you gotten too comfortable? Just taking it day by day?
When you get comfortable, you’re less likely to make improvements in your life.
Why?
Because you’ve settled.
You’ve become complacent.
nevergettoocomfortable
I’ll tell you right now that you won’t be able to achieve your dreams if you’re cozy in your comfort zone.
 
I won’t sugar coat it. I’m going to keep it REAL AF. Only because I’ve been there.
 
Wanting to achieve big dreams and move mountains only to realize I was comfortable in my little bubble.
 
Success and dreams require you to get up and out of that zone. They don’t sit around and come knocking on your bubble’s door.
 
They only come around when you’re off your butt and taking big, bold, action.
Want to find out if you’re too comfort comfortable?
 
I have a free worksheet for you to complete. No email required. No strings attached. Get it here.
 
Once you realize where you are settling, then you can take the steps to make the changes you want, live your life with purpose, on purpose and leave a legacy you want.
 
P.P.S. Stay tuned for my 7 Day Challenge on Wholistic Life Planning

Casey Kasem + End-of-Life + Step-Children

Casey KasemAfter two weeks of being in a hospital in Washington, Casey Kasem has passed at the age of 82.

His passing did not come without notoriety. The pubic battle over his health care began in October 2013 when his oldest children protested in front of their father’s home after their step-mother would not allow the children to visit with Kasem.

In 2007, when Kasem found out he had Parkinson’s, he signed a Health Care Directive granting authorization to his two oldest daughters to make decisions for him.

This document, which snubbed Kasem’s wife, set the stage for the legal battle that would erupt six years later as his health deteriorated and his children accused the stepmother of shutting them out of their father’s life. It would serve as a legal basis for his daughter to have doctors discontinue infusions of water, food and medicine.

So, what can we take from this public and emotional battle:

  1. A health care directive is helpful to give instructions and appoint an agent to act on your behalf.
  2. A health care directive does not however, guarantee that no one will contest it.
  3. A health care directive allows you to pass on your wishes regarding life support so a judge can use it to make determinations in court if the issue arises.
  4. A situation like this is one reason why blended families (especially) should have a comprehensive estate plan.

May Mr. Casem rest in peace.

 

You can leave a legacy like César Chávez

written by California Estate Planning Attorney Carmen Rosas. 

Live a life you're proud of

Live a life you’re proud of!

I spent Sunday afternoon watching the new César Chávez movie. As a granddaughter of an immigrant who initially came to the states as a farm worker, this story hit home and in honor of César Chávez day in California (March 31st), I thought today would be a good time to discuss how you too can leave a legacy.

Mr. Chávez worked tirelessly to improve the working conditions of migrant laborers.  He has left a legacy that includes recognition from U.S. Presidents, and parks, streets, university buildings, public schools, a college and a Navy ship named for him.  His greatest legacy is in the eyes and hearts of the many people whose lives he helped elevate.

Not many of us reading this blog will be as well known as César Chávez.  And not everyone who has followed his activities has agreed with every one of his positions.  However, there is no question that he has left a legacy.

In our own lives, most of us want to leave a legacy.  We might not aspire to have a postage stamp in our image, or to win the Presidential Medal of Freedom, or to have great structures named after us, but we hope that the fruits of our labors will be recognized, appreciated and well used by those who succeed us.

The organizing efforts of César Chávez that became effective and that had a lasting effect took careful planning and execution.  To leave our own legacy, we must also engage in effective planning.  One great opportunity we have is in creating and carefully maintaining a proper estate plan.  The worldly means and the principles we stand for can be left in an effective manner to bless generations to come.

If you have questions or would like to feel free to give our office a call at 650-503-3770 or send me an e-mail via our contact page.

Happy César Chávez Day!

Happy 110th Birthday Dr. Seuss!

written by Silicon Valley Estate Planning Attorney, Carmen Rosas

 

happybdayseuss

One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish

Yup, a childhood favorite, Dr. Seuss is 110 years old!

While we won’t likely live to be 110, its important to create a plan for the life we live and the life and loved ones we leave behind.  So, in celebration of good ol’ Dr. Seuss, do something that will protect your children.

Some options are:

  • Appoint a Guardian
  • Create a Will
  • Set up a comprehensive Estate Plan (Will, Trust, Guardian Appointment, Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney)

And…. Don’t forget to have a little cake!

4 Estate Planning Tips for Unmarried Couples

written by Bay Area attorney Carmen M. Rosas 

Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples

I have had quite a few clients contact me the past week, wanting to create an estate plan for their partners. These clients are unmarried and don’t intend to get married. So what does that mean? Well, it means that if they don’t necessary steps, their assets will go to their next of kin, not their partners.

If you have a long time boyfriend/girlfriend/life partner  or whatever tittle it is you call each other, and you don’t intend to tie the knot , there are some steps you can take.

  1. Name each other as beneficiaries on all pensions, retirement accounts and insurance policies. Of course there are tax penalties when those plans are distributed to a non-spouse. Just check with your institution and financial advisor to see the best way to handle this.
  2. Create a will (and a trust). If you do not have either of these documents, your stuff can pass to a sibling or parent. So, if you want your partner to inherit your assets, be sure to create at minimum, a will.
  3. Create a Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive. If there is an emergency situation or accident, you will be unlikely to make any decisions. f you don’t appoint your partner — in writing — someone in your family or the state can appoint someone else to make your health and financial decisions.
  4. Plan for a Breakup. Well, not all relationships last whether it’s married or unmarried couples. Sometimes living together without getting married seems easier, but when there is a breakup, unmarried couples split, there isn’t a court proceeding. Draft up a “Living-Together Agreement” that dictates what happens upon a break up. Just be sure not to mention anything about sex since it could be deemed to be a contract for prostitution (and that would open up a whole other can of worms!)

Hopefully theses tips helps you start the process. As you may see, #1-4 are basic estate planning documents and are important for any individual- single, married, co-habitating. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact my office at 650-503-3770 and we can schedule a FREE 30 MINUTE CONSULTATION.

A Funeral Full of Strangers

written by Bay Area Estate Planning Attorney Carmen Rosas
 

As I was watching the news last night, I heard about a man named Harold Percival. The attendees at his funeral were all strangers. Mr. Percival, age 99, died in a nursing home last month. He did not have any close family members, nor was he married.

The thought of this made me both heartbroken and relieved. Heartbroken, because I could not imagine what it would be like to live to be 99 without having family or friends that would attend my funeral (or present in my life for that matter!) Relieved, because there are still people out there who would honor a man they have never met.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” -John Donne

Have you thought about your funeral arrangements? Would you want to be cremated? It’s not a topic everyone is anxious to discuss, but it’s important.

Have you thought about the legacy you want to leave behind? Are you a d0-g0oder who volunteers? Are you a workaholic? A veteran? How do you want to be remembered? legacy

I think too often we all forget how quickly and unexpected death can come. It’s important to live our lives exactly how we want to. Be happy. Do your best to not get angry. Love, just love. But most of all be true to yourself and the legacy you hope to leave behind.

When you pass away, years down the line those who remember you will talk, and say “I remember ____(insert name). He/She was such a ______”- what life are you living and what will those blanks be?

And if for some reason you live beyond your friends and family, the life  you live may touch the hearts of strangers- so much that they will attend your funeral.

A little ray of hope in humanity has been restored!

Happy Veteran’s Day! THANK YOU to all those who serve!

written by Redwood City Estate Planning Attorney Carmen Rosas
 
As a thank you, we are offering FREE wills to veterans November 11-15. Contact us!

As a thank you, we are offering FREE wills to veterans November 11-15. Contact us!

Today is a day we remember all those who have risked their lives to protect our country.

As a thank you for putting your life at risk for our freedom, our office is providing FREE WILLS to all Veterans beginning today. This offer requires proof of past service and will continue through November 15th.

If you know someone who could benefit from a free will, please send them our contact info.

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

“My parents aren’t getting any younger. How do I talk to them about Estate Planning?”

It’s Monday! That means its the start of a new “work” week and time to get things done!

I was talking to a client last week (let’s call her Cristina), a wife and mother of two young children. We were getting her estate plan executed. At the end of our meeting she said, “My parents aren’t getting any younger. How do I talk to them about Estate Planning?” Cristina continued on to tell me how she knew it was important, but couldn’t find a way to begin the discussion with her parents.

Aging-Parents

Cristina isn’t alone. There are thousands, possibly millions, of people who have reached retirement age and still don’t have estate plans. As a young professional, starting a family of your own, it’s important for you to create an estate plan for your family but it is also very important to make sure your parents have one.

I came across this article this morning from the Guardian Fiduciary Services on the 25 Best Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents. Although this isn’t a full and complete list, its a starting to point to get your parents discussing their plans in regards to estate planning.

When discussing estate plan options with your parents and their plans, it’s important to emphasize the importance of THEIR wants and desires- you and your siblings (if any) want to know how to distribute their hard earned assets in whatever way they want.

It may be hard at first, but GET TALKING! Use the questions above to open up a dialogue. You know your family’s dynamics best, but be sure that everyone that needs to be included in the conversation is present, or at least knows whats going on.

Do you have any suggestions on how to begin this conversation? What has worked for you? We look forward to your feedback!

And if you want to have a one-on-one chat with our San Mateo County, Alameda County or Santa Clara County attorney, feel free to send us a note.