Estate Planning

Family Estate Plan

Estate Planning is crucial for every family and individual in order to ease the transfer of property and assets to the next generation quickly, while limiting loss due to post-death administration expenses and tax exposure. Engaging an experienced and trusted attorney to facilitate this process can ensure a smooth transition when a loved one passes.  Our attorneys understand that just as no two estate planning situations are alike, no two estate plans are alike. At Seaman & Seaman, your attorney will take the time to understand your needs, and explain your options so that you understand the process. We will design a plan to protect your interests and ensure a smooth transfer of your property to the beneficiaries you designate, whether heirs, charities or other entities. 

Working with an experienced estate planning lawyer to advise and prepare appropriate documents for asset protection, caring for dependents with special needs, mitigating taxes and other sophisticated strategies will ensure your estate plan is comprehensive and focused on your unique requirements.  

Trusts

 A well drafted Trust can serve a variety of legal, personal, and tax planning purposes. For most clients, a Trust serves as a vehicle to transfer assets to the persons or entities of their choosing, while avoiding the timely and costly process of probate. In California, decedent’s estates with gross values over $150,000.00 are required to be probated. By transferring assets to a Trust during your lifetime, the assets owned by the Trust will pass to the trust beneficiaries immediately upon the death of the Trust creator with no probate required.  Trusts may also be drafted to provide creditor protection, lower tax exposure and to provide for the proper management of assets in the case of incapacity. Tax law is constantly changing and evolving, our attorneys will insure that you are provided with an up to date Trust that takes advantage of the current tax laws.    

Wills

 If the gross value of your assets are under $150,000.00, a Will may be the appropriate vehicle to insure that your assets pass according to your desires. A Will also allows you to designate a Guardian for your minor children. Combined with a Power of Attorney to ensure that your assets are properly manager during incapacity, a Will is a powerful estate planning tool that can be prepared quickly by our attorneys.      

Special Needs Trusts

Specialized estate planning is needed when providing for a child or loved one with special needs. Despite good intentions, a direct bequest to a person with special needs may disqualify them from receiving essential benefits through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid programs. A Special Needs Trust will protect government benefit eligibility, while at the same time providing assets that will meet the supplemental needs of the person with a disability. Our attorney are experienced in drafting Special Needs Trusts, as well as petitioning the Court to modify existing Trusts to safeguard beneficiaries with special needs.  

IRA Inheritance Trusts

Many clients hold a majority of their assets in retirement accounts. On June 12, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Clark et ux v. Rameker, Trustee, et al that inherited individual retirement accounts are not protected from creditors in bankruptcy when inherited by someone other than the decedent's spouse. In order to insulate your retirement accounts, our attorneys can draft an IRA Inheritance Trust to enhance the protection of your beneficiaries' inheritance and help stretchout the required minimum distributions.

Agricultural and Business Succession Planning

  The estate planning needs of agricultural businesses in California are unique. As such, it makes sense to engage an estate planning attorney who has the unique experience of supporting farmers, ranchers and other agricultural businesses and their families throughout the Sacramento Valley from Modesto to Redding. Our law firm has extensive experience in representing businesses with succession planning to keep family businesses growing from generation to generation.