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

What Happens If I Don’t Pick A Guardian

Well, the simple answer is this – the court decides.

It’s not like the movies. It’s not as easy as someone simply taking custody of the child.

No, there’s a process. And that process could mean the foster care system gets involved, family and friends fighting over who will step up, a court system that is overflowing with cases, and lots of uncertainty, especially for your child…

When you don’t pick a guardian ahead of time, your child will have to wait until a judge determines who they should stay with. This process is called a guardianship proceeding.

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-7-46-58-pm

Sometimes the child goes to foster care temporarily until this is decided and the state basically becomes your child’s guardian. Now, not only is your child now confused about where their parents are, they are in the care of strangers. This can be really scary!

By picking a guardian, you have a voice in deciding who will raise your child. You maintain your power to make a choice that will protect your child from any additional uncertainty.

I get it. Thinking about mortality or not being around to actually raise your child is not fun. I know you’d much rather think about anything else than dying.

As a parent, you know it’s your responsibility to take protect your baby (or babies) – no matter how old they get. Thinking about their security doesn’t just mean college, financial savings, etc. because what happens when you can’t be around to guide them or to make decisions about education or investments?

So it all comes down to this – If you don’t make the decision, you leave the courts to decide for you. You are essentially allowing a judge – who you probably do not know, who does not know you and who does not know your child – decide who your child will live with.

Trust me when I say, it won’t just fall into place. Like I said, that’s for the movies. You need to make a decision.

Having a hard time deciding who to pick? Bad news here. There isn’t one straight answer. There are lots of things to consider when appointing a guardian, however they aren’t the same for everyone. You have to look at your lifestyle, expectations, hopes and dreams for your child.

Consider what is important to you – the legacy and life you’re living – and appoint someone who would do their best to fulfill your legacy and any goals you have for your children. And go with your gut – you know – Mother’s intuition.

What would happen to your children if you died?

Kids-Show-2014When you don’t appoint a guardian, your children will have to wait until a judge determines who they should reside with. Sometimes the children must go to foster care temporarily until this is decided- essentially the state becomes your child’s guardian.

If you don’t want that to happen, appoint a guardian!

Here are some tips to consider when appointing a guardian:

  • Is your child comfortable with the individual?
  • Does the individual have the same moral values as you?
  • Is religion important? Does the individual practice the same religion?
  • Are the individual’s parenting style the same as yours?
  • Do you trust the individual to raise your child as you would want your child to be raised?

There are lots of other things to consider when appointing a guardian, however they are not the same for everyone. Consider what is important to you- the legacy and life you’re living- and appoint someone who would do their best to raise your child as you would.

Our office offers FREE GUARDIANSHIP WORKSHOPS- call or email to schedule yours today!

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.

 

When is Probate Triggered?

probate

Do you know what PROBATE is?

Do you know how it is triggered?

Well, if you are over the age of 18, have more than $150,000 in assets, and die without a trust, probate begins.

That also means if you only have a will, your estate must still be probated. A will simply gives instruction as to how you want your estate distributed.

A trust is the only instrument that can keep you out of probate when you estate is over $150,000.

So, if you own a home or have other assets that exceed $150,000- be sure you create a trust!

April Showers Bring May Flowers!

May is known for flowers, Mother’s Day, Cinco De Mayo and many other celebrations. But, did you know, it’s also NATIONAL STROKE AWARENESS MONTH?

Stroke affects people of all ages, is steadily increasing in children, and causes the death of more women than breast cancer each year! My father suffered a stroke a few years ago, but lucky for us it wasn’t debilitating.

If you or someone you know has had a stroke, take some time to educate yourself a little bit.

Get prevention tips and learn how to recognize warning signs at www.stroke.org/SYMP

final_stroke

Spring Cleaning and Estate Planning

Now that tax season is over and Easter has passed, it’s time to finish up that Spring Cleaning!

Colorful_spring_gardenSpringtime is a great time to review your estate plan documents to ensure it is up to date and reflects exactly what you want to have done and the individuals on the receiving end are still supposed to receive!

Some other times when reviewing your estate plan is a good idea, are:

Getting Married or Divorced – if you are getting married or getting a divorce, give us a call.

Children – if you have a new child or a grandchild, or if one of your children predeceases you, call us.

Financial status – if your financial status has changed significantly, for the better or the worse, call us so we can update.

Business – if you own a business and are thinking about selling it, call on us before you take any action.

Relocation – if you are moving to another state or buying new property, call us to restructure. The estate laws may have changed based on your new location.

Death of a Loved One – call us when a spouse or someone else you have named as a beneficiary in your will or trust passes on.

Aging – when you are approaching the age of 70½, when required minimum distributions kick in for retirement accounts, time to give us a call.

Health – if you have been diagnosed with a serious illness (or if a parent has) it’s time to review and update your estate plan, even though it may be the last thing you want to do. We promise it’ll make you feel better than you think.

Inheritance – if you are coming into a large inheritance or even just anticipating one, give us a ring so we can help you plan for it properly.

Gifting – if you want to make a sizeable gift to a charitable organization, talk to us before you do.

If you’re in need of a review of your estate plan, call and schedule an appointment today! The next two individuals who schedule a meeting will receive a FREE planning consultation (valued at $450).

So, call us 650-503-3770 or send an email to carmen@carmenrosaslaw.com

Reduce the Risk of Identity Theft When a Loved One Dies

written by Bay Area estate planning attorney Carmen Rosas.
 

Don't let your loved ones be the victim's of identity theft.
Don’t let your loved ones be the victim’s of identity theft.

A common trend among identity thief’s?

Afterlife identity theft. And unlike, the recent comedy released, it’s not a funny topic. Identity thief’s are using obituaries to obtain information about deceased individuals.

Upon the passing of a loved one, be sure to contact all financial and government institutions, including:

  • Banks
  • Social Security Office
  • Credit Bureaus

 

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!

Do’s and Don’ts of Estate Planning During a Divorce

Written by Silicon Valley Estate Planning Attorney Carmen Rosas
 
Scrabble
 
 

Over the past few weeks, I have had a few client’s contact me regarding making changes to their estate plans while they are going through the divorce process. Some things can be changed, while others can’t.

For example wills and powers of attorneys can be changed to reflect someone other than your spouse as the agent or executor. You might not want your soon-to-be ex making decisions regarding life support or important medical decisions while the divorce is pending!

Below is a list of common assets that get overlooked after a final divorce decree is signed (i.e. “loose ends” that are never tied up):

  1. Beneficiary designations on life insurance policies
  2. Beneficiary designations on retirement accounts (IRA, 401(K), etc)
  3. Payable on Death or Transferrable on Death designations on bank accounts and investment accounts (meaning this account transfers immediately upon death to the person named)
  4. Title to real estate — did you execute a new deed for property you received or that your former spouse was to receive pursuant to a divorce decree?
  5. Title to vehicles
  6. Owners and signers of safety deposit boxes
  7. Beneficiary and Executor designations under a Last Will and Testament
  8. Trustee and Beneficiary designations under Trust agreement
  9. Agent designations under a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney (financial power of attorney) or Medical Power of Attorney

If you would like to update your estate planning documents or have questions about what you can change while your divorce is pending, give our office a call at 650-503-3770 or send me an email at carmen at carmenrosaslaw dot com.