Be a Good Friend – Educate Them About Advance Healthcare Directives

Advance Healthcare Directives

Do you have a friend who haven’t created their estate plan yet? If so, please share this article to them and help them understand the benefits of Advance Healthcare Directives.

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Nobody likes to think about their own mortality. But if you wish to maintain control over what happens to you if you get into an accident or become severely ill, it is important to consider your wishes for the worst-case circumstances.

Developing Advance Healthcare Directives ensures you leave instructions for doctors and family members about the types of end-of-life care you do and do not wish to receive. Not only will this provide you with some peace of mind, knowing you have clearly communicated your wishes, but it will also take a significant burden off your family members.

If you become incapacitated, your selected agent who has healthcare power of attorney will be in charge of making healthcare decisions on your behalf. Your advance directives will essentially make these decisions for them, preventing them from having to make a stressful and emotionally difficult decision by themselves.

When you work with Celaya Law, we will talk you through the process of developing advance directives and help you determine what the best choices are for your situation and your wishes. Then you can feel completely comfortable, knowing your loved ones will not have to deal with any additional, unnecessary stress if you become incapable of communicating your own wishes.

Contact us today and we will be happy to be your caring advisors during the difficult yet necessary process of developing your advance directives.

Refer Your Friend to Celaya Law

Please contact us at Celaya Law Firm if you have any clients you believe could benefit from our services: (707) 492-3112.

Celaya Law is an estate planning law firm in Napa, California. Attorney Anthony Celaya helps families in Napa, Sonoma, St. Helena, Calistoga, and the surrounding areas with setting up wills and living trusts, special needs planning, asset protection, probate administration, business law, and retirement planning.

What Financial Advisors Must Know About the New $11.2 Million Estate Tax Exemption

New $11.2 Million Estate Tax Exemption

As many financial advisors may know, the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raises the estate tax exemption to $11.2 million for singles and $22.4 million for married couples, both figures being about double what they previously were.

For many Americans who previously were right on the cusp of being affected by the estate tax, this provides them with ample breathing room in their financial planning. But now, there is a different set of high-wealth individuals and couples who need comprehensive financial planning to minimize their potential estate tax burden.

Perhaps the best way for you as a financial advisor to strengthen the relationships you have with your clients is to begin having discussions about the legacy your client wishes to leave behind:

  • What will they leave to their heirs?
  • What will they leave to charitable organizations?
  • How will they set their business up for success even after they are gone?

A truly comprehensive financial plan requires a focus on estate planning as well. The implementation of various types of trusts to reduce taxable income and pass down assets to beneficiaries is a highly beneficial estate planning strategy that aligns with the financial planning goals of your high-income clients.

Please let me know if you have any clients you believe could benefit from my services.

Refer Your Clients to Celaya Law

 
Please contact us at Celaya Law Firm if you have any clients you believe could benefit from our services: (707) 492-3112.

Celaya Law is an estate planning law firm in Napa, California. Attorney Anthony Celaya helps families in Napa, Sonoma, St. Helena, Calistoga, and the surrounding areas with setting up wills and living trusts, special needs planning, asset protection, probate administration, business law, and retirement planning.

Why It Is Important To Hire A Healthcare Proxy

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It is quite comforting to know that medical professionals today are ready to use various treatments and tools at their disposal to save our lives. It is also important to have the assurance that those caring for us at a time of crisis do so according to your desires and wishes.

Life-sustaining procedures such as feeding tubes, respirators, DNR orders, cardiac resuscitation, etc. might not be what you want. Treatment preferences usually reflect a person’s religious views and personal values.

If you become unable to communicate your healthcare decisions to the care providers, your treatment preferences could be at risk. Fortunately, you can use a Healthcare Proxy to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

What is a Healthcare Proxy?

It is a legal document giving specific instructions and rights regarding medical care. It ensures that the person’s preferences are adhered to in case he or she is unable to communicate their healthcare decision.

The Healthcare Proxy is designed to help you (the Principal) to select in advance the person that will be responsible for making your healthcare decisions if you become unable to make your own decisions regarding your health.

How Does a Healthcare Proxy Work?

It permits you to appoint an “Agent” who is allowed to make various medical decisions on your behalf if you are not able to communicate your wishes. The Healthcare Proxy can be more or less specific on the choices that you would like the Agent to make on your behalf.

The Healthcare Proxy goes into effect once the attending physician determines in writing that you are not able to communicate or make healthcare decisions yourself. If this determination is made on the basis of developmental disability or mental illness, the physician is required to consult with a specialist before making the final decision regarding the inability of the patient to make decisions.

Once it is determined that the patient is no longer able to make his/her own decisions, the medical facility will turn to the Agent named on the Healthcare Proxy to make healthcare decisions on his/her behalf.  The Agent’s authority ceases once the patient regains his/her ability to make informed health decisions.

How Do You Choose the Best Agent?

The Agent should be a person you trust to make significant healthcare decisions in certain medical situations including the use of experimental treatments, treatment options for patients in persistent vegetative states (very deep comas), and the use of feeding tubes (food delivered to the person’s stomach through a tube).

It is also important to consider the Agent’s willingness to follow through on difficult healthcare decisions. Disagreements may occur among relatives, physicians, and friends as to the proper course of treatment. It is during such times that the Agent should communicate your wishes and ensure that your expressed wishes are followed.

The Bottom Line

It is essential to have a Healthcare Proxy in place so that in the event of your medical incapacitation, someone with your authority will be there to ensure that the medical decisions are made according to your wishes. While some simple forms are available at nursing homes and hospitals, getting the more extensive forms and the associated counseling from an experienced elder law attorney is the best way to make a Healthcare Proxy more effective.

Schedule Your Consultation with Our Experienced California Estate Planning Attorney

Celaya Law is an estate planning law firm in Napa, California. Attorney Anthony Celaya helps families in Napa, Sonoma, St. Helena, Calistoga, and the surrounding areas with setting up wills and living trusts, special needs planning, asset protection, probate administration, business law, and retirement planning.

Schedule a planning session with our experienced Napa attorney today to learn how we can help you and your family: (707) 492-3112.

3 Important Reasons to Avoid Probate

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With or without a will, estates may have to go through a probate process. Typically, the probate process is used for one of two things. It might certify the validity of a will and the executor’s authority to carry out the wishes in the will. Without a will, the probate process must name an administrator to ensure that assets get distributed fairly and that taxes or other estate debts get paid. Depending upon the circumstances, probate can become a long, drawn-out, and expensive process.

Three Critical Reasons to Avoid Probate

In any case, it’s best to ease or even entirely avoid the probate process by planning well in advance. These are some of the best reasons to avoid or minimize probate:

  • During this process, none of the estate’s inheritors can touch their inherited assets.
  • Besides having to wait for a distribution of assets, somebody may have to pay an attorney a considerable amount of money to represent them.
  • Also, since the court has to make probate records public, the will’s beneficiaries cannot maintain their privacy.  

Most families would prefer to get the assets from an estate divided up as quickly as possible. Certainly, they would rather avoid having to pay a lot of funds to a lawyer before they can even claim their assets. Some families would also prefer to keep their affairs as private as possible.

How To Avoid Probate Court After a Loved One Passes Away

Even a will cannot help the survivors entirely avoid a probate court. However, some tools can be used to accomplish this.

Living Trust

With a living trust, the owner of assets is free to use them in any way he or she pleases while alive. After death, a trustee will ensure that there will be a distribution of assets according to the deceased owner’s wishes. Unlike a will, a living trust can be used to avoid probate. It’s a little more complicated to set up, but it can avoid problems later.

Designating Beneficiaries

Some financial investments are handy because the owner can set up beneficiaries. Upon death, these assets will pay directly to those named beneficiaries in the portion initially requested by the deceased owner. Some common examples of these kinds of assets could include life insurance, annuities, and other retirement accounts. In some cases, it may also be possible to set up beneficiaries on other financial instruments like home mortgages.

POD Accounts

A payable upon death or POD account can be used by the owner just like any other bank account while they are alive. However, the account can be set up to include a beneficiary who will have access to the funds in the account upon the first owner’s death. These can serve as a quick way to pass some immediate cash to an heir. However, they aren’t as good for complex estates because they only name the beneficiaries but don’t give any instructions about how to use the money.

Shared Accounts

In simple cases, the owner of an account might simply put the name of a close family member on the account with them. This requires confidence and trust, and it has some of the same drawbacks of a POD account.

Get Help to Avoid Probate

In any case, it’s best to make some plans to ensure that an estate can be distributed quickly, fairly, and privately. There are several ways to do this, but they usually take some work before the owner passes away. It is best to call upon an estate planner for advice.

Schedule Your Consultation with Our Experienced California Estate Planning Attorney

Celaya Law is an estate planning law firm in Napa, California. Attorney Anthony Celaya helps families in Napa, Sonoma, St. Helena, Calistoga, and the surrounding areas with setting up wills and living trusts, special needs planning, asset protection, probate administration, business law, and retirement planning.

Schedule a planning session with our experienced Napa attorney today to learn how we can help you and your family: (707) 492-3112.

Tips For Updating Your Estate Plan As You Approach Retirement

While most people look forward to retirement, not everyone has their estate plans in proper order. Even if you have created a will and related documents in the past, it is essential that you have them updated as you enter the retirement years.

The most basic document in your estate plan is your will. Though some people think this unnecessary, lack of a will can create undue problems for your loved ones. Without one, your heirs will have to undergo the costly probate court processes.

If you have any retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), review the beneficiaries. You might be surprised to discover that you never changed it after a life-altering event, such as a divorce. Make certain that the appropriate powers that be have the updated information on file.

Trusts are an excellent estate planning tool that can keep some or all of your assets out of probate court. There are several different types available, and in most cases you will have access to the assets as long as you are of sound mind and body.

Revocable and irrevocable trusts are also ways to reduce your tax obligation. Of course, you need a legal professional to help ensure that you have set the trust up according to the law. Your representative will also guide you in making the choices that best suit your current financial situation.

Though most people don’t want to think about the possibility of becoming incapacitated, you need to. Ignoring it will only put your estate planning efforts in vain. A living trust is one method you can use to express your wishes regarding what types of life-saving interventions to use in case of incapacitation. For instance, many people have clear instruction regarding resuscitation and life support. For this to be effective, you need to distribute it to at least one trusted family member and your primary care physician. Some hospitals also allow you to include a copy in your patient records.

Since these documents don’t account for every possible scenario, you should also have a health care proxy. A designated party will speak your medical wishes should you be unable to voice your wants and needs.

In addition to this health care power of attorney, you need to designate a financial power of attorney. This person can handle your financial accounts while you are incapacitated. For instance, during your recovery time after a complicated medical procedure. A limited power of attorney provides them restricted abilities related to your finances.

While not an official document, you should make a complete list of all of your assets and debts. This should be put together in a professional manner that makes it easy for your loved ones to navigate through the legal system.

Your retirement years should give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy life. By taking care of these important estate planning needs, you can scratch that worry from your list. Then, you can focus on packing for a trip to your favorite tropical island, or whatever else excites you!

Schedule Your Consultation with Our Experienced California Estate Planning Attorney

Celaya Law is an estate planning law firm in Napa, California. Attorney Anthony Celaya helps families in Napa, Sonoma, St. Helena, Calistoga, and the surrounding areas with setting up wills and living trusts, special needs planning, asset protection, probate administration, business law, and retirement planning.

Schedule a planning session with our experienced Napa attorney today to learn how we can help you and your family: (707) 492-3112.