[Video] Preparing and Executing or Amending Estate Plans

As a tax and trust lawyer with experience in litigation, I can help my clients navigate different estate planning situations.

As an Estate Planning Lawyer in Walnut Creek, I can:

  • Prepare, execute and amend estate plans
  • Help families navigate through difficult or uncomfortable times
  • Facilitate communication between family members
  • Advocate for my clients to make sure they receive updates and information
  • Help resolve wrongful actions by a trustee
  • Clear up issues after a loved one’s passing
  • Perform legal actions such as a petition to the courts
  • Advise against elder abuse

Looking for an estate-planning attorney in Walnut Creek? 

Get in touch with Mendes Weed, LLP, your trusted, experienced estate-planning law firm today!

Christina Weed has worked with clients in San Francisco, the East Bay, and throughout the United States. As a licensed attorney with an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy, Christina offers a unique combined focus on Trusts & EstatesTax LawTax Litigation, and Business Law. Christina is Chair of the Tax Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and is also a member of the Estate Planning Council Diablo Valley and the Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council.

Disclaimer: The tips and materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information on this website should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

 

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667

Estate Plan Tips: What Questions Should I Ask an Estate Planning Attorney?

Estate Plan Tips: What Questions Should I Ask an Estate Planning Attorney?

Estate planning is essential if you want to secure your long term financial goals, health care needs, and the security of your loved ones. A well-crafted estate plan can address potential complications before they arise, taking the chance out of your financial future, and giving you full control over how your assets and healthcare are managed.

When you are looking for a trustworthy estate-planning attorney, here are some basic questions you can ask: is your experience with Estate Planning and Trusts?

This question will give you a sense of how familiar the tax attorney might be with your estate planning needs. If they are able to talk at length about the benefits of estate planning and how they have seen it work in the past, that’s a great first sign. Follow up with questions about their experience and any expert opinions they are willing to share.

Why do I need an Estate Plan?

This is a basic question that an estate planning attorney should be able to answer based on their understanding of your current situation. They should offer suggestions for how you can provide for your loved ones, ensure that your assets are managed to meet your wishes, and more. It’s a good sign if an estate-planning attorney asks as many questions as they answer.

Is an Advance Healthcare Directive or Durable Power of Attorney right for me?

Asking more specific questions about the components of an estate plan is a way to develop understanding of how your estate-planning attorney will approach your specific needs. An Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD) ensures that your healthcare is handled the way you wish in case you are unable to advocate for yourself. A Durable Power of Attorney is another document that allows someone to step in to handle your finances, gather your mail, etc., in the event you are not able to do these things for yourself.

How do we avoid probate and set a program for long-term success?

An experienced estate-planning attorney will be familiar with the probate process, trust administration, and how to avoid pitfalls. Not only do you want to have an estate planning attorney that does everything they can to avoid probate, it is also helpful to know they can help you out if you or a loved one’s estate needs to be administered through the probate court.

How regularly should we review my estate plan?

Estate plans can become stale over time due to changes in your life, or even changes in the law. That means you should have a plan for reviewing your trusts and other estate planning documents. Each estate planning attorney will have a slightly different standard, and you should feel confident about your attorney’s plan for keeping up with laws as they change, and for ensuring that your estate plan is always working hard for you and your loved ones.

Overall, an attorney’s advice should make you feel confident that your assets and trusts will be handled with care. These questions should give you a good sense of how well an estate-planning attorney will work for you.

Christina Weed of Mendes Weed, LLP has worked with clients in San Francisco, the East Bay, and throughout the United States. As a licensed attorney with an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy, Christina offers a unique combined focus on Trusts & EstatesTax LawTax Litigation, and Business Law. Christina is Chair of the Tax Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and is also a member of the Estate Planning Council Diablo Valley and the Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council.

Contact Mendes Weed, LLP today for help with your Estate Plan or Trust.

Disclaimer: The tips and materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information on this website should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667

[Video] What to Expect at Your Estate Planning Meeting

At Mendes Weed, LLP, we can help you feel at ease planning for major life events.

If you have recently gotten married, had children or grandchildren, or are concerned about elderly parents, now is the perfect time to connect with us and make an appointment.

Here’s What to Expect at Your Estate Planning Meeting

At our initial meeting, I make it a point to listen carefully to my clients and their concerns and identify goals for their estate plan.

Once the Estate Plan is in place and executed, my clients feel like a huge burden is lifted and have the peace of mind knowing their estate plan is complete and they’ve done something great for their family.

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667

Estate Plan Tips: What Questions Should I Ask an Estate Planning Attorney?

Estate Plan Basics: What is Estate Planning & How Can I Get Started?

When planning a secure future for yourself and your loved ones, an Estate Plan is the best way to ensure long-term financial security. By determining how your estate and assets will be managed after your death, you ensure that a bright future awaits your family.

It’s never too early to start planning for your loves ones’ future.

What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a collection of legal agreements created to ensure that your property and assets are left behind in the way you wish. It can also include provisions that determine how your health care will be managed in the case that you are unable to actively advocate for yourself.

With a strong estate plan, you can provide protections for your children and loved ones, even if they are minors at your time of death. An estate plan will also allow your loved ones to avoid the costs, monetary and otherwise, of court-monitored probate following your death. Basically, your estate plan is a legal framework that ensures a healthy and secure future for you and your loved ones.

Want to learn more? Read Christina Weed’s free estate planning guide.

What is Included in Estate Planning?

When developing an estate plan, you work with a trust and estate planning attorney to bring together the right agreements for your unique situation. The primary documents are a will and a living trust. Your will gives you control over how your estate is administered and distributed. A living trust determines whom you will designate as a trustee, and describes how they will carry out the instructions indicated in your trust.

Other documents that can be included in an estate plan are:

  • Advance Healthcare Directive: An Advanced Healthcare Directive allows you to designate a person to take charge of your healthcare and end-of-life decisions in the event that you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
  • Durable Powers of Attorney: A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a loved one to make financial choices and pay bills in the event that you are no longer able to do so. They ensure that the best interests for you and your family are always followed.
  • Guardianship Documents: Use Guardianship Documents to ensure that your children, if they are minors, are always in the best possible care. When prepared correctly, Guardianship Documents let you control every aspect of your child’s care, not the court. 

Thinking about setting up an estate plan? Get in touch with Mendes Weed, LLP, your Bay Area trust and estate planning firm.

How Can You Get Started?

First, I recommend that you take a look at our free estate planning guide. The guide will help you see how your estate plan might function, and will get you ready for the next step: finding a trusted estate planning attorney.

It is essential that you work with an experienced trust and estate planning attorney. Christina Weed is an experienced estate planning lawyer working with clients in San Francisco, the East Bay, and nationally.

As a licensed attorney with an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy, Christina offers a unique combined focus on Trusts & EstatesTax LawTax Litigation, and Business Law. Christina is Chair of the Tax Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and is also a member of the Estate Planning Council Diablo Valley and the Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council.

Disclaimer: The tips and materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information on this website should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667

Tax Tips from the Tax Lawyer: What Retirement Plan Fits Your Business?

Tax Tips from the Tax Lawyer: What Retirement Plan Fits Your Business?

Whether your business is considering an IRA, 401(k), pension, or any other retirement plan option, it’s crucial that you find the best fit for your business size, future growth goals, and tax needs.

Retirement plans keep you and your employees on the right long-term financial track. They not only save money for both yourself and your business, they also modify how you pay taxes. Another major perk is that with the right retirement plan benefits, you ensure that your business stays competitive in the hiring market.

So, let’s take the confusion out of retirement packages and examine how each possibility impacts your taxes and long-term financial interests.

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA

Tax Tip: SEP IRAs are great for self-employed individuals or small business owners of Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Corporations, and S Corporations. They offer easy to set up and a low cost.

SEP IRAs have a quick and easy set-up process and do not require maintenance fees. That makes them appealing for small businesses with a smaller budget. One thing to keep in mind is that SEP IRAs offer large contributions compared to Roth IRAs—the lower of 25% of your income or $53,000. Your tax-deductible contributions go into a traditional IRA account and are not taxed until they are taken out.

A potential problem is that the employer makes 100% of the contributions in a SEP IRA. Employees do not make individual contributions. Beyond that, all employees in your organization are required to participate. That aspect is appealing to employees, but it can make growth more expensive for the business.

Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA

Tax Tip: SIMPLE IRAs work for businesses with a staff of 100 or fewer employees, including Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Corporations, and S Corporations. They require your business to match employee contributions.

The primary difference between SEP and SIMPLE IRAs is that with a SIMPLE IRA, your business is required to match employee contributions up to 3% of their salary or 2% of pay.

While there is some cost associated with a SIMPLE IRA, fees are lower than other plans. Your set-up costs will end up being either $25 per participant or a $350 fee for the plan as a whole. Also, like SEP IRAs, you have higher contribution limits than a Roth IRA.

One drawback is that if you are contributing to a 401(k) elsewhere, all contributions to a SIMPLE IRA will count against your 401(k)’s contribution limits. SIMPLE IRAs are also limited to small companies with a cap of 100 employees, and early withdrawal penalties are relatively high—as much as 25%.

Self-employed 401(k)

Tax Tip: Self-employed 401(k)s are perfect for small businesses with no employees other than their spouse, or corporations with no common-law employees. They give you the ability to contribute a larger amount to your retirement.

Self-employed 401(k) plans have a very flexible approach to contributions. For instance, your contributions are able to fluctuate each year and, if you are over 50, you can make a “catch up” contribution of up to $6,000. Contributions after the pre-tax limit are allowed, as they are converted into Roth solo 401(k) designated funds. Also, if your spouse does work as an employee for your small business, you can contribute to their plan as an employee and as an employer, offering greater potential savings.

If you’re looking for a very simple plan, however, a 401(k) might not be for you. With self-employed 401(k) plans, it’s crucial that you have a plan administrator, which means higher fees. You will also be required to file additional tax paperwork with the IRS, including Form 5500-EZ.

Looking to set up a self-employed 401(k)? We recommend seeking trusted advice as soon as possible.

Defined-Benefit Plan (Pension)

Tax Tip: Defined-benefit plans are best for businesses looking to have company-wide savings contributions that payout based on the duration of employment and other formulas.

While Defined-Benefit Plans are less popular these days, they do have some perks. For instance, you can combine Defined Benefit Plans with other retirement savings. Also, pension plans allow you and your employees to develop substantial benefits over a short period of time.

The catch is that Defined-Benefit Plans are the most expensive to set up and maintain. Businesses will need an enrolled actuary to file taxes and will pay high minimum contribution requirements. In addition, excise taxes can be applied if you either contribute too little or too much each year.

Thanks for reading our tips for choosing your business retirement plan. Mendes Weed, LLC is ready to work with you to pursue your best interests. Give us a call today.

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667