Palm Springs Estate Planning Attorney

Palm Springs Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is often mistakenly viewed as something to be feared and avoided. In fact, it is quite the opposite -- an empowering process in which you take a hand in your own destiny, preparing for both the inevitable and the unexpected. By working with a knowledgeable and thoughtful estate planning attorney, you can map out your retirement and the future of your family in ways that will protect your assets and your loved ones. Estate planning gives you the opportunity to make important decisions calmly with the assistance of a legal professional who knows the ropes. When you come to Heritage Legal in Palm Springs, you have the added advantage of entering a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

How Heritage Legal Helps You Plan for the Future

At Heritage Legal, located in Palm Springs, California, lead attorney H. Christopher Heritage, Esq. has in-depth and comprehensive knowledge in the field of estate planning. He is both sharp and empathic, supportive of his community as well as of each and every one of his clients. Whether you are a young adult who wants to take charge of your life, a middle-aged individual or couple looking to plan for your child’s college or your own retirement, or people in your later years wanting to be sure that those you want to inherit will do so, and that your own end-or-life care will be administered as you direct, Chris Heritage is the estate planning attorney you should consult.

Though it is uncomfortable to contemplate your own death or potential incapacity, one of the ways you can show concern for the loved ones is by creating an estate plan that will:

  • Provide for the care of your minor children if they are orphaned
  • Protect the assets your beneficiaries will inherit
  • Prevent family squabbles about property distribution
  • Provide for those with special needs
  • Protect members of the family who are irresponsible with money from their own bad habits
  • Provide for your children from a first marriage if you have remarried

Chris Heritage and the whole Heritage Legal team make it their business to keep apprised of any changes in tax law or other legal matters that may affect you and your family. We are not only experienced in estate planning, but adept at clarifying your options and helping you to make the most practical choices for your particular situation. We realize that you want all your documents in order so that your family will be spared any unnecessary expense or delay in the event of your death or incapacity. The time you spend on estate planning will give you the peace of mind you deserve now, and save those you love most from unnecessary turmoil and confusion later.

Specific Estate Planning Issues Heritage Legal Will Cover

Well-schooled in estate planning matters, Chris Heritage is adept at all of the following:

  • Creating wills and handling probate (or, in some cases, helping you to avoid probate)
  • Establishing trusts to protect assets from excessive taxation and creditors
  • Handle special circumstances like charitable giving or protecting assets for minors
  • Planning for business succession of LLCs and FLPs
  • Providing fiduciary assistance to executors and trustees
  • Clarifying options and distinctions (e.g. between revocable and irrevocable trusts)

Every estate planning situation is unique, so we approach each client’s family structure and dynamics with fresh eyes to determine which estate planning tools will be most useful. Probate, for instance, can be a relatively simple matter for middle-income individuals, but can become complicated, expensive, and time-consuming for those with substantial wealth. Chris Heritage is committed to listening carefully to the specifics of your life so he can give you the most effective legal counsel.

If a member of your family has physical or cognitive challenges, for example, Chris is likely to format a special needs trust for that individual so that he or she can be provided for comfortably without forfeiting government assistance. If, on the other hand, you have a beneficiary who is known to be an extravagant spender or to have an addiction, Chris will assist you in setting up a spendthrift trust so that this individual will receive small regular inheritance payments rather than a large one-time sum.

Heritage Legal Will Help You Protect Yourself

We are ready to help you by crafting documents that will make certain all of those you love are provided for. We will help you to ensure that you will have, as you age and possibly become impaired or incapacitated, the medical care you want, and that you do not receive life-sustaining treatments you want to avoid. This is a very personal matter. Some people want to live as long as they possibly can. Others don’t want to be kept alive by “artificial” means. In any case, at Heritage Legal, we are dedicated to the principle that you have the right to make up your mind about such matters without interference or external judgment.

Heritage Legal Will Draft and Review Other Essential Documents

As mentioned earlier, one of the responsibilities of an estate planning attorney is to prepare clients for possible incapacity by having them legally declare healthcare preferences while they are still able to do so. Chris Heritage will also make sure that you have signed papers indicating which trusted person you have chosen to make medical or other important legal decisions for you should you become incapacitated. These documents will be crucial if you are severely injured, desperately ill, undergoing a surgical procedure, in a coma, or unable to think or speak clearly.

It is wise to remember that such incapacity may, tragically, occur at any time. You needn’t be elderly to be catastrophically injured in an accident, have a heart attack, or be diagnosed with a devastating illness. This is why it is critical that we make sure you have the following signed papers available should such an emergency arise:

  • General Durable Power of Attorney -- giving a trusted person authority to make financial decisions on your behalf
  • Advance Health Care Directive -- giving a chosen person the right to make healthcare or end-of-life decisions when you cannot speak for yourself
  • HIPAA Authorization -- giving chosen family members access to your medical data
  • Living Will -- delineating precisely what measures you want taken, or not taken, at the end of your life (e.g. intubation, feeding tube)

What Are The 7 Steps In The Estate Planning Process?

  • Gather your assets & debts: Take stock of everything you own and owe, from real estate to bank accounts to credit cards.
  • Choose beneficiaries: Decide who will inherit your assets, and consider naming guardians for minor children.
  • Craft your will: This document specifies your wishes for asset distribution and appoints an executor to manage your estate.
  • Consider trusts: Explore living trusts for asset protection and avoiding probate, or revocable trusts for flexibility.
  • Prepare healthcare directives: Detail your preferences for medical care and end-of-life decisions with an advance directive and living will.
  • Appoint powers of attorney: Grant legal authority for someone to handle your finances and healthcare if you become incapacitated.
  • Review & update: Regularly revisit your plan to ensure it reflects your current wishes and life changes. 

Remember, these are general steps, and consulting a California estate planning attorney is crucial for personalized guidance.

Contact Our Palm Springs Estate Planning Attorney

None of us can predict the future, but all of us can take steps to prepare for it. Chris Heritage is deeply committed to assisting you as you consider your options. Not only is he well-informed, he is a good communicator, responsive and a good listener. Bring your questions and concerns to Heritage Legal to ensure that all of your estate planning needs will be addressed with efficiency and compassion. Call for an appointment or contact us through out website.

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