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February 2019 Archives

Estate planning can help people in various circumstances

When people in California think about the future, some people think that an estate plan is not necessary. They may think that only extremely wealthy people need to plan to distribute their assets or plan to put it off until an older age. However, people in general can benefit from laying out an estate plan, including young, single and healthy people with relatively small assets. Even though there can be substantial benefits for loved ones and people's own peace of mind, surveys indicate that over 50 percent of adult Americans and 78 percent of millennials do not have basic estate documents like wills or trusts.

Is it time to review and update your estate plan?

As we age, staying on top of our estate plan can feel like a chore, and may even seem unnecessary to some. Unfortunately, neglecting to update an estate plan is one of the easiest and quickest ways to cause problems for your loved ones and beneficiaries once you are gone. If you have an estate plan and have not reviewed or updated it in at least five years, then you should make this a priority.

Why estate planning is important for everybody

California residents can benefit from estate planning even if they don't consider themselves to be wealthy. Not having an estate plan could leave assets in limbo, and it could cost money currently earmarked for beneficiaries to determine how they should be distributed. One of the first steps to creating an estate plan is to make use of beneficiary designations on assets such as bank accounts or retirement plans.

Trusts provide privacy and do not require probate

Trusts can support many estate planning goals for people in California. A trust creates a legal entity that can accept ownership of various assets that a person chooses to transfer into it. Significant advantages provided by trusts include the private transfer of wealth and avoidance of the public probate process.

Identifying the interested parties in probate legislation

When a will is contested in California, a question comes up as to who the interested parties are with regards to the estate. At first glance, the answer to this question might seem clear-cut. However, after more investigation is done, it may come to light that there are a number of interested parties, many of which the individual or individuals initiating the will contest might not have even known about or anticipated. The interested parties are not confined to individuals who are listed in the last will and testament.

The nature of work performed is a disability factor

In the five-step sequential process for getting Social Security Disability Insurance, it first must be determined that a claimant is not engaging in substantial gainful activity and has a severe impairment. Many California residents who apply for SSDI benefits are denied because their impairments do not meet the Social Security Administration's threshold, which is required at step three of the process. At steps four and five, the nature and type of work previously performed becomes a factor, and it is not only the last job held that matters.

SSD benefits may not be permanent

Social security disability benefits are often awarded only after a rigorous and contentious process. Many California claimants are denied on the initial application and then again on the first level of appeal, reconsideration. Often, only after the claimant has appeared before an administrative law judge at the next level of appeal, the disability hearing, do the monthly payments begin. The good news is that in many cases back benefits are available from when the disability first began, but the bad news is that the disability award is not necessarily permanent.

Disability hearings are often important but short

People in California may think about and prepare a great deal for an upcoming disability hearing to appeal a denial of Social Security Disability benefits. After all, these hearings conducted before an administrative law judge provide the greatest opportunity for people to obtain the disability benefits they need and deserve. Despite all the preparation and materials that people develop for these hearings, they are often fairly short. Some disability hearings may take only 10 to 15 minutes.

Secure Your Future & Your Loved Ones’ Future By Planning Today.

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