Why Hiring a Professional to Assist in Your Estate Planning is Worth the Cost

Written by: Sally A. Clark -LDA with DP Legal Solutions June 4, 2018 When the important time comes to make decisions about planning for the future of your estate it shouldn’t come as a surprise that having professional assistance will save you money, and will also assist in making sure that there are no issues that could potentially come to bite your family down the road. Cost is always a potential factor in making a legal decision, but what should also be included is the time and effort it’s going to take to ensure that the process is done right and the peace of mind that comes from the certainty that your wishes will be carried out. While it may seem be cheaper to purchase a packet of documents at your local office store, or use some sort of online tools, in the long run, it could cost you hundreds, to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on if there were any errors or mistakes made. Therefore the simple answer as to why you would NOT want to do your estate planning you

Merit-Based Immigration Visas and the Trump Administration

Family-based immigrant visas could become much more difficult to acquire if the “merit based immigration bill” proposed by Donald Trump and the Republican Party were to become law. Under the proposed merit-based visa category, an alien would accrue points based on age, education, work experience, family ties in the United States and other attributes. Alien applicants with the highest overall points in a year would be given Green Cards. The merit-based system divides applicants evenly between two tiers: Tier 1:  Skilled workers—those who qualify for jobs that require extensive training and education. Tier 2:  Medium to low-skilled workers—those who qualify for jobs that require a medium to low amount of preparation. The new merit-based immigration system is designed for those who can quickly adapt to life in the US, find well-paying jobs to support themselves and their families and pay taxes. It will weed out those who require extensive assistance with housing and language an

Green Card 2017: Requirements and Benefits for Family-Based Immigrant Visas

Unfortunately, immigration in 2017 has become a highly contentious issue. We are constantly confronted with tragic stories about roundups–those who have lived in the US for many years, holding steady jobs, owning businesses, paying taxes and raising their families—who are now being deported. Those competing for the highly prized H-1B visas may be finding their opportunities threatened or curtailed. Now, as never before, a US  Green Card  is a prized commodity. We don’t yet know the extent of  immigration  reform, but there’s no question that it is more difficult to gain entry into the US and to obtain a coveted Green Card. Immediate family members: visa numbers available, yet the process remains lengthy At DP Legal Solutions, we work primarily with families who sponsor their immediate family members to come to the US.  The US government believes in uniting families . To that end, they make visa numbers available for immediate relatives of US citizens or  Green Card holders . “

Without Deed’s Joint Tenancy, Estate Ends up in Probate

We help many clients  transfer Deeds —it’s generally a simple process that we can accomplish quickly, sometimes in a day. The following example highlights the importance of what is called  vesting , or the way in which title to a Deed is held. It seems like a small thing, but a  Deed  is the legal document that identifies the property owner. Without the title, it is impossible to buy or sell a home. And as our client discovered, she also couldn’t update her  Living Trust.  This is a  cautionary tale , and unfortunately, we see this kind of situation all too often. “Sandra” came in to our office to update her Living Trust—something we recommend that people do periodically, with important life events. A physical therapist, Sandra had moved to the Bay Area from Boston ten years earlier to be closer to her mother, her daughter and grandchildren. She and her mother had bought a cottage in Oakland together, and she was delighted to be there for both her mother and daughter at this poin

Transfer on Death Deed: Streamlining Succession Planning

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the new Transfer on Death Deed (TOD). This statute went into effect in early 2016. The TOD Deed allows Californians to sign a deed transferring real property to another individual upon their death. The deed is revocable until the transferor’s death. Eligible property includes: Condominiums. One to four residential dwelling units. A single tract of agricultural land consisting of 40 acres or fewer that is improved with a single-family house. Upon the death of the transferor, the TOD Deed transfers all of the transferor’s interest in the real property to the beneficiary. If there are multiple beneficiaries, the beneficiaries take the property as tenants in common (TIC), in equal shares. What’s to like about the TOD Many people are creating a TOD Deed for their homes or other real property and circumventing having to create a  Living Trust . In these cases, their home represents the biggest share of their assets, so by cre

Estate Planning: Choose an Executor with Time and a Wide Range of Skills

When it comes to estate planning, choosing an Executor should be an important part of the process, not an afterthought. Depending on the complexity of the estate, it can be a time-consuming, demanding responsibility, and the person who assumes this role should have a broad range of skills and be comfortable working with lawyers, accountants and investment professionals. The Executor’s role  Executors are responsible for settling estates. Families most often name one of their children to act as Executor, but it can be the family’s attorney or a fiduciary. A financial institution, trust company or bank may also serve as co-Executors with an individual, such as the decedent’s spouse, child, advisor or other person. An Executor performs five basic functions:  Locates, collects and has responsibility for the estate’s assets until they are distributed to the beneficiaries. Determines and raises the cash needs for the estate. Pays the decedent’s funeral expenses, debts and estat

Guardianship Case Study: An Intervention for the Best Interests of the Child

These days, it’s not unusual for grandparents to end up raising their grandchildren. They take on this responsibility for a number of reasons—but in many cases it means that their sons or daughters are, at least temporarily, unable to care for their own children. An intervention: Daughter unable to provide a stable home for child Several months ago one such couple, Joe and Sarah, came in to our office seeking more information about getting a Guardianship for their ten-year old granddaughter, Zoe. As their only grandchild, they’d always been very close to Zoe, and now they were concerned about her wellbeing. Zoe lived with her single mother, Sandra, our clients’ daughter, who had been in and out of rehab facilities but was never able to remain clean and sober or hold a job for an extended period of time. Joe and Sarah were concerned about the lack of stability and consistency for Zoe; they were also concerned about the constant exposure to drugs, alcohol and Sandra’s friends.