Estate Planning Attorney in Irvine
Each Irvine Estate Planning Attorney at Modern Wealth Law brings a sophisticated level of understanding to the area of estate planning. We have years of estate planning experience working with the community of Irvine. We can provide you with the estate planning expertise you need, from assisting you with preparing a will or living trust, to transferring your assets to your family and loved ones according to your wishes.
Background and Expertise of Each Irvine Estate Planning Attorney
Each of our attorneys are knowledgeable of the many unique issues specific to Irvine residents. Estate planning in Irvine requires a vast knowledge of Irvine property taxes, including HOAs and Mellos Roos.
Irvine Estate Planning Attorney, John L. Wong has represented some of the most well-known estates in the country, including the Estate of Michael Jackson and the Estate of Britney Spears. John’s clients in Irvine range from working professionals and small business owners to the mass affluent and high net-worth individuals. John has represented generations of families, from a great grandmother at 95 years of age, to her great grandson at 25 years of age.
Irvine Estate Planning Attorney, Anh P. Tran previously worked at Ayco, a Goldman Sachs company located in Irvine, where she advised executives of Fortune 100 companies on estate and tax planning issues. Anh continues to work with executives of large companies and tech startups in the Irvine area.
As the founding shareholders of Modern Wealth Law, John and Anh continue to work closely with residents and business owners throughout Irvine and Orange County.
Estate Planning Process and Documents
In order to most effectively design an estate plan for you, we take the time to learn about your family, occupation, businesses, financial outlook, and your estate planning goals, to create a customized estate plan that meets your needs. We have worked closely with several families living in Irvine to accomplish these goals. Our estate plans include the following documents:
- Revocable Living Trust
- Pour-over Will
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
- Advance Health Care Directive
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Trust Certification
- Trust Funding (Transferring Your Home to Your Trust)
Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?
There are 4 primary reasons why you need an estate plan: 1) Probate avoidance; 2) designating beneficiaries of your estate; 3) ensuring your minor children are taken care; and 4) avoiding estate tax.
Probate Avoidance in Irvine
One of the primary reasons to have more than a basic will is so that you can avoid Probate. Any assets not in your Trust, and therefore distributed pursuant to your Will, will be distributed through the Orange County court system called Probate. Most people want to avoid probate because it is 1) lengthy, 2) costly, and 3) very public.
Designating Beneficiaries of Your Estate
Besides avoiding the cost of probate, an estate plan allows you to choose the beneficiaries of your estate. Without a well drafted estate plan, the probate court’s distribution of your assets will likely not conform to your wishes. See Probate Code section 6400 et seq. Often times this leads to disagreement among your beneficiaries and leads to Trust and Probate Litigation.
Caring for Your Minor Children Irvine
For most parents with young children, the primary concern with estate planning is what will happen to your children if both parents are deceased. Do you want your children to remain in Irvine? Will the guardians also live in Irvine? Without guidance from you, the court will be left to decide who, where and how your children will be taken care of. Again, this will likely lead to a result that you do not desire and become very expensive. A properly drafted estate plan can help you and your children from paying court fees for the next several years.
Irvine, California and Federal Estate Tax Avoidance
The federal government will tax your assets after your death if your assets are above certain thresholds. These thresholds vary from year to year. Depending upon the value of your assets at your death, this may or may not be a concern. However, with a 40% tax on assets above the exemption amount, it is imperative that you structure an estate plan that delays, reduces or eliminates these taxes.
Although there is no California or Irvine estate tax on your estate, a properly drafted estate plan can help your loved ones avoid income taxes or capital gains from the sale of assets after your death. If your beneficiaries live in Irvine, or other parts of California, they will pay some of the highest taxes in the country without proper planning.
Irvine Property Tax
As many of you know, California property tax law is different than many other states. Under Proposition 13 tax reform, property tax value was rolled back and frozen at the 1976 assessed value level. Property tax increases on any given property were limited to no more than 2% per year as long as the property was not sold. Once sold, the property was reassessed at 1% of the sale price, and the 2% yearly cap became applicable to future years. Depending on how your property is transferred, and who it is transferred to, our Irvine Estate Planning attorneys can assist you to ensure that your property is not reassessed after your death. Proper estate planning advice on this issue alone will save your beneficiaries thousands of dollars every single year.
Why Do I Need More Than a Basic Will?
If your total assets (cash, investments, real estate and personal belongings) exceed $150,000 (as of 2016), you will likely need more than a basic will. If you live in Irvine, you know that you will not find a condominium or house for less than $150,000. Often times residents believe that their assets are less than $150,000 because they do not have $150,000 of equity in their Irvine property. The Probate Court does not care. If the gross value of your home is more than $150,000, you will need more than a basic will to avoid probate.
Beyond the Basics: Asset Protection in Irvine
If you are in a highly litigious industry, whether you are a physician or a small business owner, you have probably heard the stories about people being sued and losing all of their assets. While protecting your assets has its limitations, there are many vehicles available to protect your assets, or at a minimum, make it more difficult for creditors to take your assets. Asset protection is not bulletproof, but the sooner you begin to prepare to protect your assets, the more likely you will be successful. There are steep penalties for certain types of transactions, known as a fraudulent conveyance, which should be explored before considering each of these vehicles.
Contact Our Irvine Estate Planning Attorneys
If you or family member live in Irvine, and you would like to learn more about our estate planning services, including living trusts, wills, probate administration and trust litigation, call us at (949) 371-5003 or email us by contacting John Wong, an Orange County Estate Planning Attorney at Modern Wealth Law. If you live outside of Irvine, our estate planning attorneys also serve residents throughout Orange County and Los Angeles County.