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Maybe. Generally, the only way to avoid probate is with a living trust. For more information about why you want to avoid probate, check out the article I wrote on Regnum Legal. So, if you own more than $150,000 in assets, or if you own a home, then you need a living trust to avoid probate, which will cost an average of $22,000. But, if you own a home and the rest of your estate is under $150,000, then you may still be able to avoid probate without a living trust if you execute a “Transfer of Death Deed.” This allows your home to transfer to your heirs on your death without probate. Be careful! If you want to protect your children from creditors or judgments, and make their inheritance private, then the only way to do that is with a Living Trust.
It depends. Some clients know exactly what they want, and have no trouble picking trustees, and beneficiaries. For others the Family Legacy Strategy session may be the first time they have ever confronted the hard questions about what will happen when you die. For these clients, they take more time to make the tough decision. And that’s totally normal. Generally, once the questionnaire is complete, your legacy attorney will provide you a draft within a week. Once you approve the draft of the estate plan, it is ready to sign, and (if available) you can execute the estate plan the next day. So, the general rule would be, expect the process to take about 7-9 days.
At Regnum Legacy you will meet with your own legacy attorney. He or she will guide you through the process. In general, after you retain Regnum Legacy, the process begins with a questionnaire about your estate and planning goals. Your legacy attorney will use your answers to evaluate the types of trusts you can create, and will recommend which trust you should use. After that, your attorney will start drafting your estate plan. Within one week, your legacy attorney will provide you with a draft of your entire plan, as well as a summary of what everything means. You will have the ability to make any changes you want, or ask your attorney any question you want. Once you approve the draft and/or give your legacy attorney any changes or revisions, your estate plan is finalized and your legacy attorney will schedule a time an date to execute the documents. When the documents are signed and notarized, Regnum Legacy makes a digital copy of your entire estate plan and then sends you your original, signed documents in a premium estate plan binder. If your plan comes with basic trust funding, then Regnum Legacy will ensure that your transfer deed are recorded properly and the proper transfer documents get logged with the County Recorder.
If you already have a trust, your legacy lawyer will review the trust and go over any changes you want to make. After you retain Regnum Legacy, your legacy lawyer will also verify that the trust is properly funded.
It depends on the type of amendment. Some amendments are really simple requiring just a page or two. Others are more complex and require a lot more planning. Additionally, depending on the changes you want to make, you may want to do a restatement and not a standard amendment. This is recommended if you are disinheriting someone who was previously listed as a beneficiary. All that said, an amendment will cost between $500 and $1,000.
An executor and a trustee are similar. They are both fiduciaries who manage your estate. But there is one major difference: An executor is someone who is managing your estate distributed by a Will. A trustee is someone who is managing your estate distributed by a Trust. In short, Wills have executors and Trusts have trustees.
Yes. In fact, all real property you own should be transferred into your trust. Every estate planning package offered by Regnum Legacy comes with the deeds necessary to transfer your real property. The Platinum and Legacy Packages also include recording of the deed to your primary residence to change title to the property. If you have more than one real property, and you want Regnum Legacy to handle the transfer of title, there is a fee of $250 for each additional property.
The simple and honest answer is “yes.” There are a lot of great “DIY” resources you can use to create your own estate plan documents. The real questions is “will it work?” The answer to that is “I do not know” but probably not. We have personally attempted to make estate plans using these DIY services and while all of them do a good job at giving you “documents” none of them will actually work the way they are supposed to because NONE of them actually fund your estate plan. Which means your family will have to pay approximately $22,000 in probate fees after your death. We have an entire series on our YouTube channel about each of the major DIY estate plan services if you’d like to learn more.
Most families end up spending about $3,300. The basic level of planning ($2,300) is fine for a lot of families since it will ensure your family is out of the probate system and that your plan is creative, customized, and uniquely tailored to your family’s needs. But if you want additional asset protection features, and more protections for your family after you pass, then your plan becomes more complicated, which adds to the cost.
No. LegalZoom, Nolo, and Rocket Lawyer are not estate planning services. They DO NOT offer estate planning. Instead, they provide you with documents to be used in an estate plan. But the documents themselves are not the “plan.” In fact, LegalZoom’s “Terms of Service: specifically says that “its forms or templates are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.”
Estate planning is about strategically thinking about all of the things that could happen to your loved ones after you die. The “planning” part of estate planning is about setting a plan in place to protect your loved ones from those things.
LLCs (Limited Liability Companies)
An LLC is a “limited liability company.” The “limited liability” part means that the owner’s personal liability is limited to his or her initial investment. There are four kinds of LLCs: single-member LLCs, multi-member-managed LLCs, manager-managed LLCs, and serries LLCs. Owners of LLCs are called “members.”
A “member managed” LLC is a type if LLC where the day-to-day management responsibilities are carried out by the individual members of the LLC.
A “manager-managed” LLC is a type of LLC where the day-to-day management responsibilities are carried out by an individual manager (or group of managers) elected or appointed by the members of the LLC.
LLCs must update their statement of information every two years.
No. Unlike corporations, which hare required to have annual meetings of shareholders and directors, LLCs do not have any requirement to host an annual meeting. But, if the LLC Operating Agreement requires an annual meeting, then the annual meeting is required.
The Secretary of State charges $70 to file your articles of organization and $20 to file your statement of information. Additionally, the LLC will be required to file a corporate tax return every March 15, and the California Secretary of State imposes an $800 minimum tax on every LLC each year.
Regnum Legacy charges a flat fee of $1,500 plus costs to form your LLC. We handle everything for you, the drafting and filing of your articles and statement of information, the drafting of your operating agreement, procuring your EIN from the IRS, and issuing your membership certificates. Additionally, we provide unlimited guidance and consultation for getting your business started.
A corporation is an artificial person under the law. It is run by a person or group of persons called “Directors” and it is owned by people called “shareholders.” There are two types of corporations S-Corporations and C-Corporations.
A S-Corporations is a corporation that has elected to be taxed like a partnership by filing what is called an “S Election.” S-Corporations must have no more than 100 Shareholders, must only have one “class” of stock, and each shareholder must be an individual (not a company).
A C-Corporation is the default corporation. Unless you file an “S-Election” your corporation will be a C-Corporation.
Corporations must update their statement of information every year.
Yes. Corporations are required by law to hold annual meetings of the Board of Directors, and annual meetings of Shareholders. The purpose of these meetings is to elect officers and directors of the corporation, and to vote on major issues of corporate policy.
The Secretary of State charges $100 to file your articles of incorporation and $25 to file your statement of information. Additionally, the corporation will be required to file a corporate tax return every March 15, and the California Secretary of State imposes an $800 minimum tax on every corporation each year.
Regnum Legacy charges a flat fee of $1,500 plus costs to form your Corporation. We handle everything for you, the drafting and filing of your articles and statement of information, the drafting of your bylaws, initial minutes of Shareholders and Directors, procuring your EIN from the IRS, and issuing your stock certificates. Additionally, we provide unlimited guidance and consultation for getting your business started.
Probate can take as little as 12-momnth but more likely between 12 and 18 months (depending on how impacted the court is and whether there have been any challenges to the estate. Since the probate courts were the last to open after the COVID lockdowns you can expect a probate case to last between 16 and 24 months.
If someone dies without a will, then they are what the court calls” intestate” and the laws of intestate succession will decide where the deceased persons property goes. In general the property will go to the spouse and children first. If there are no spouse or children, then the estate will go to the parents, then to the brothers and sisters, then to nieces and nephews, then to cousins, then to in-laws.
1. There is a $495 filing fee to file a petition in the probate court. Additionally, there are fees for the probate referee, notice fees, and other filing fees. You can expect to pay at least $1,200 in court filing fees. In addition both the attorney (if you have one) and the person in charge o the estate are entitles to statutory probate fees, which is a percentage of the value of the entire estate. Check out our probate calculator to see how much your fees could be.
1. If someone dies without real property, AND their estate is worth less than $166,000, then you DO NOT have to go through probate. Instead, you can file or execute a document called a “Small Estate Affidavit” which will allow you to gain access to your loved one’s estate without court intervention. But if the estate is worth over $166,000 then even if there is no real property, the estate will need to go through probate.
Yes. But you need to follow strict procedures. If you were given independent authority (“IAEA Powers”) then you can go through the “notice of proposed action” procedures. If you do not have independent powers, then you will need to petition the court to approve the sale.
Every probate filing is reviewed by the court’s team of probate attorneys. Those attorneys comment on any deficiencies in the filings and make recommendations to the judge about what to do. The Judge almost always follows the recommendations of the probate referees. Their recommendations are contained in “probate notes” maintained for each probate case. You can find them on the court website or at the probate courthouse.
When a judge tells you to clear the probate notes it means that there are problems with your filing. The probate examiners have noted them in the probate notes, and you will have to address each “note” before the court will move forward on your petition.