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"Voted Best Attorneys in Ventura County
by clients and peers in the
Ventura County Business Digest Publication"
The Law Office of Ventura Estate Planning Lawyer Robert Baskin has been providing intelligent, caring and thorough Estate Planning services to clients throughout the region for more than 40 years.
When the time comes for you to draft a comprehensive Estate Plan, you need a lawyer who will listen to your needs, wants and concerns, and who will work diligently with you to ensure that the Estate Plan we help you devise meets your goals. An attorney with a thorough understanding of Estate Law and the tax consequences can help you maximize protecting your assets, while minimizing tax liability.
Please contact a knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney at the Law Office of Robert Baskin by calling (805) 658-
At the Law Office of Robert M. Baskin, you will meet with a skilled Estate Planning Attorney who will thoroughly discuss and review all of your options for preserving and protecting your assets for future generations.
We have substantial experience utilizing a broad range of Estate Planning techniques, including (but not limited to) the following:
Advanced Health Care Directive – to inform your physicians and family members about your wishes regarding the type of treatment you will receive in case of catastrophic injury or illness
Business Succession Planning – to ensure that your family business is able to continue uninterrupted upon incapacitation or death
Charitable Trust Planning – to minimize Estate Tax liability and provide funds for any charitable organizations to which you wish to contribute
Asset Protection Trusts – trusts such as Dynasty Trusts to protect your assets from creditors or third party liability
Irrevocable Trusts – designed for long-
Revocable Trusts – trusts which are set up during the grantor’s lifetime and administered for the grantor’s benefit until death, and naming beneficiaries who will benefit upon the grantor’s death. A properly drafted trust can prevent the expensive costs of Probating a Will upon death.
Spendthrift Trusts – a trust that will provide for the care and living expenses of the named beneficiary, and administered by another individual to ensure that the beneficiary will not spend all of the trust assets in a short time period.
Power of Attorney – a document which gives named individuals the ability to manage your affairs and finances in case of incapacity or severe illness.
Wills – a document that will provide for the distribution of assets through the Probate Court upon death. A properly drafted Trust may be executed in place of a Will to avoid the expense of Probating a Will.
A highly knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer at the Law Office of Robert Baskin will thoroughly review the advantages and disadvantages of each type of Estate Planning tool. Our goal is always to help our clients create an Estate Plan to protect assets, minimize tax liability, and ensure that your heirs and beneficiaries are provided for properly.
1. What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is the process by which individuals make decisions regarding how their assets will be handled. Various estate planning tools are utilized based on the client’s choices regarding how they wish their assets to be distributed. Some allow for the transfer of assets during the individual’s lifetime, make provisions in case of incapacitation, and determine who will receive those assets upon death.
Estate Planning tools allow for the following: naming a specific individual to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf in case of illness or incapacity; determine who will inherit upon your death; and in cases of business ownership, set forth a business succession plan.
Property may be passed upon death via a will, various types of trusts, or a combination thereof.
2. What are Wills?
The state of California provides for several different types of wills. Testator is the legal term for the individual on whose behalf the will is drafted. Wills recognized by the state include holographic wills (handwritten by the testator), attested wills (typically drafted by a lawyer and executed [signed] by the testator in the presence of witnesses), and statutory wills. Statutory wills consist of fillable forms and must be signed before witnesses and dated.
All witnesses must be third-
Both attested and statutory wills must incorporate a clause clearly stating that the testator is of sound mind, possesses the testamentary intent to execute a will, and that the will has been executed absent any outside influences or under duress.
Unless incorporated in a trust (known as a pour over will), all wills must be processed through the Probate Court and are a matter of public record. The executor is the individual / individuals named to carry out the wishes of the decedent.
3. What are Trusts?
Trusts are Estate Planning devices that are utilized to not only protect assets from high taxation, but also distribute assets in a number of different ways. Those who establish trusts are called testators. When drafting a trust, the party typically names an individual or individuals, called trustees, whose job it is to distribute assets to beneficiaries.
California recognizes a wide variety of trusts, including those set up to distribute funds during the individual’s lifetime, to control how and when named beneficiaries receive assets, and provide for several other unique situations.
These may include charitable donations, educational trusts for beneficiaries, provide for the testator’s care in case of incapacitation, and spendthrift trusts to protect inherited assets of those deemed to be financially irresponsible.
Trusts do not pass through probate and are fully confidential. As a result, they are less costly and assets are distributed much more rapidly.
4. Why are Business Succession Plans Necessary?
If you own or have an ownership interest in a business, it is vital to set up a business succession plan to ensure the viability of the business continues beyond retirement, incapacity or death.
A business succession plan sets forth who will take over your ownership interests. This allows for regular business operations to continue as usual without any disruption should you become unable to carry out your duties or upon the testator’s death.
5. What is Trust Administration?
Trust Administration is the procedure by which the named trustee/trustees carry out the wishes set forth by the terms of the trust. The law imposes a fiduciary duty upon trustees, requires that they carry out specific duties for the benefit of all beneficiaries.
These duties include creating an inventory of all assets, obtaining appraisals where necessary, determining those to whom the debts are owed, paying those debts, and distributing assets based on the trust’s requirements.
Failure to carry out their duties to the beneficiaries may result in a breach of their fiduciary duties, and trustees may be held personally (financially) liable for harms caused.
Many individuals name family members as trustees. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of trust administration, it is not unusual for those unfamiliar with the procedures and processes to make mistakes. As a result, it’s generally preferable to name a professional trust administrator who understands the duties that must be fulfilled to avoid litigation. Doing so also helps protect your assets, as several types of trusts require intelligent investment to grow the trust assets.
6. What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process, whereby a decedent’s will is filed with the probate court. The probate court will determine the validity of the will. If deemed valid, distribution of assets and payment of debts will be carried out by the executor and overseen by the court. If a decedent’s will is deemed invalid and no other prior wills are found, property will pass via California’s laws of intestacy.
All cases filed with the probate court are a matter of public record. This means that anyone can pull a copy of your will and examine it. Additionally, probate is a very costly process as court fees are determined based on the overall value of your estate.
It may take years to settle a will and distribute the decedent’s assets based on the complexity of your will, any disputes regarding its validity, as well as numerous factors unique to the situation. For this reason, many choose to create trusts and incorporate a will in the trust. Doing so maintains the decedent’s privacy, the privacy of the beneficiaries, and prevents the case from being handled within the confines of the probate court’s rules and restrictions.
sets will be handled. Various estate planning tools are utilized based on the client’s choices regarding how they wish their assets to be distributed. Some allow for the transfer of assets during the individual’s lifetime, make provisions in case of incapacitation, and determine who will receive those assets upon death.
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