welcome to dayton law firm
We Help Make People's Lives Easier in Times of Crisis
Helping California Families With Their Estate Needs
welcome to dayton law firm
Build A Plan That
Works For You
Anyone with assets can benefit from an estate plan. We offer options for people from all walks of life. Estate planning can save your loved ones from making difficult decisions after you pass away or if you become unable to make your own decisions. It can also ensure that your wishes for both your assets and your care will be met.
At The Dayton Law Firm, P.C., our team of San Jose estate planning attorneys is compassionate to families and individuals. We aim to help answer questions about your long-term planning options. We help with a variety of estate needs, including:
Why Choose Us?
We focus on our clients. While some firms seek the highest-value cases with disregard for the clients’ needs, we focus solely on what techniques are going to help you most.
Our firm is located in San Jose and serves the entire Bay Area. We also serve clients throughout California.
Our Recent Blogs
A power of attorney document allows you to give someone the ability to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. The person you name in these documents will be considered your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact,” and the decisions they make for you will be treated as if you had made them.
That is why choosing the right person to be your agent when planning your estate is crucial. You must trust that your agent is trustworthy and responsible enough to make decisions according to your best interests.
The Responsibilities Granted by Power of Attorney
You can use a power of attorney document to grant someone the right to make financial, legal, or medical decisions on your behalf. These powers may be limited or general. Limited powers mean your attorney-in-fact can only act for you in specific circumstances, while general powers grant a broad range of rights.
For example, you can grant someone only the right to make medical decisions for you or to cash checks on your behalf. You can also give them the right to make a wide range of financial, legal, and medical choices for you. You may even grant different people different rights as your agents. These documents are flexible, so you can structure them to fit your unique preferences.
Regardless of what powers you grant your agent, they have several fundamental responsibilities:
- Understand the gravity of their role: The person you choose should know the trust you place in them by naming them your agent. They need to be prepared to take on the responsibility to make decisions on your behalf and to treat their new role with all due respect.
- Know your wishes: Your agent should understand what you want should you be incapacitated. This may be accomplished by talking to them about your preferences in-depth or providing them with a comprehensive instruction document such as an advanced health directive.
- Act in your best interests: Finally, your agent should be someone you trust to act in your best interests, even if it is difficult, stressful, or not going to benefit them.
Signs of a Good Potential Power of Attorney
When choosing your attorney-in-fact, you should carefully consider their fundamental responsibilities. You may already have an idea of who may be a good fit for the role. If not, you can think about people in your life who demonstrate the following traits:
- Loyalty: An attorney-in-fact should be someone loyal to you. They should care about you and your best interests and be willing to put you first over their own interests or those of others who may benefit from using your estate in ways you would not want.
- Reliability: They should be someone you trust to respond to and handle ongoing tasks for your medical, legal, or financial concerns. Even the most loyal person will not make a good agent if they cannot handle the tasks reliably.
- Tenacity: In some cases, your attorney-in-fact may need to work hard on your behalf to ensure your wishes are followed, making tenacity a valuable trait for your chosen agent.
- Clarity: To carry out your wishes, your agent needs to both understand what you want and be able to communicate that with others. Clear and articulate communication skills can make this significantly easier.
- Locality: Many tasks an agent is expected to perform may require them to appear in person. If they live across the country, this expectation can pose a significant hardship to them. If possible, it’s best to choose someone who lives nearby, so they don’t have to travel long distances to fulfill their duties.
Draft Power of Attorney Documents With Confidence
Power of attorney paperwork can play an essential role in your estate plan. Choosing the right person ensures that your wishes will be respected and carried out even if you are incapacitated. If you have questions or concerns about drafting power of attorney documents, you can reach out to the expert attorneys at The Dayton Law Firm, P.C. Our team has decades of experience helping clients like you choose agents and draft powers of attorney that will support your overall estate plan. Call 408-758-5750 or reach out online to schedule your consultation today.
The heart of estate planning is about providing for the people, organizations, and causes that you care about even after you are gone. However, in some cases, a will is not enough to accomplish this. If you want to pass on specific assets or retain control over how they are managed, you may also need to develop an asset protection plan.
These plans can be invaluable for ensuring beloved properties, businesses, or heirlooms are protected from estate taxes and mismanagement. Below, we discuss what asset protection plans are and the steps involved in creating a plan that will fit your unique circumstances.
What Are Asset Protection Plans?
An asset protection plan is a collection of documents, legal entities, and strategies for transferring assets safely from one generation to the next while minimizing the tax burden on the recipients. These plans can be quite complex, especially for high-net-worth individuals. However, they are often worth the effort to develop because they can save your heirs thousands or even millions of dollars in inheritance taxes, depending on your estate.
Trusts are the most common tools used in these plans. There are a wide variety of trusts that can be used to protect different types of assets, including:
- Joint marital trusts to protect your assets from taxes until your spouse passes.
- Beneficiary-controlled trusts to allow your heirs to manage the assets you gift to them.
- Retirement trusts to maximize the benefits of IRAs and other retirement accounts.
While developing your asset plan, you will work to determine the best combination of trusts and other tactics to protect your assets effectively.
Four Steps to Create an Asset Protection Plan for Your Estate
Creating an asset protection plan is best done with the assistance of a proven estate planning attorney in San Jose. They will counsel you on the best tactics for your specific circumstances and draft the documents for you when you are ready to finalize the plan. With your attorney, you will proceed through the following four steps:
1. Identify What Assets You Want to Protect
Not every asset you own needs to be protected the same way. Asset protection plans are typically reserved for high-value items that you want to pass on to your heirs after your death. For example, homes, vacation properties, valuable heirlooms, and retirement accounts are included in most asset protection plans. Items like most vehicles, furniture, and things with significant emotional value but little resale value are not. Talk to your attorney to determine what assets would be best to include in your plan to make sure you do not leave anything out by accident.
2. Determine the Right Protection Strategies for Your Property
Once you know what property you must protect, your attorney will help you determine the correct strategies and tools. If you have a large estate or you have multiple classes of heirs to whom you will be distributing property, you may implement two or more trusts to accomplish your goals. Your lawyer may also advise you to distribute certain assets during your lifetime to minimize taxes.
3. Develop Plans and Schedules for Distributing Assets
After you have determined the tools that will best protect your property, your attorney will assist you with drafting the documents to create and inform these legal entities. You will name trustees for each trust, provide the terms and conditions for the trusts, and develop schedules and instructions for how funds or property should be disbursed. Finally, your attorney will instruct you on how to handle your property in the future now that it is protected.
Consult Proven Estate Planning Attorneys to Protect Your Assets
Don’t delay the process of protecting your property. If you understand the importance of a will for your heirs, you may also benefit from developing a California asset protection plan. You can discuss your needs with the accomplished estate planning attorneys at The Dayton Law Firm, P.C. We have decades of experience working with clients to develop comprehensive estate plans to guard their interests and assets. Learn more by calling 408-758-5750 or emailing us today.
If you have already written a will, you’re in the minority. Less than half of all American adults report having a will describing how they want their estate to be handled after they pass. However, having a will isn’t always enough to ensure your final wishes are respected. It’s just as essential to make sure your will is up-to-date.
If you haven’t revised your will in a few years, it is in your best interest to review it and look for anything that may need to change. You may even need to update a brand new will if your circumstances have changed. Here’s why wills need to be changed and some of the most common reasons to update a will.
Why Your Will Matters
Wills are legal documents that explain how you want your property and assets to be divided after your death. They allow you to set your own terms for your estate instead of having everything resolved by California’s intestate probate laws. If you have written a will, the probate court will use the most recent copy available to determine who will receive what after you pass.
However, that can lead to problems if your life has changed since you wrote your will. If the document is 20 years old when you pass, your financial circumstances, relationships, and opinions have likely changed significantly. The will may not accurately address your assets or leave out people or organizations that have become important to you.
That’s why you need to revise your will regularly. Even if your daily life has changed, probate will follow the last extant will you wrote to the furthest extent possible. If you haven’t kept it up-to-date, you risk leaving people out or causing lengthy probate disputes among your heirs.
4 Reasons You Need to Update Your Will
It’s never a bad idea to revise your will, but some situations make a revision critical. The following four situations are grounds for a thorough review to make sure it reflects your wishes.
1. Your Children Have Gotten Older
If you first wrote your will while your children were young, you likely left their future guardians assets to care for them. However, if your children are now legal adults, that’s no longer necessary. You can revise your estate plan to account for their age and leave them assets directly.
2. You’ve Moved
Any kind of move can significantly alter your estate. Just moving from one home to another affects your finances significantly. You may have purchased or given away assets to make a move more manageable, and you may want your new home handled differently than the old one. This needs to be addressed with a revised will.
Furthermore, if you moved to California from another state, the estate administration and probate laws may be completely different. You should review your estate plans after any interstate move to make sure they follow your new state laws.
3. Your Finances Have Changed
Significant financial changes may make adjustments to your estate plan necessary. For example, if you have had expensive medical events, you may have to adjust the monetary amounts listed in your will. On the other hand, if you have inherited or earned a significant amount since you first wrote your will, these additional assets need to be accounted for.
4. A Beneficiary Has Died
Unfortunately, it is possible that one of your beneficiaries may pass before you do. In that case, revising your estate planning documents to reflect their absence is essential. Failing to do so may leave assets unaccounted for, which may lead to disputes during probate.
Update Your Will With Expert Legal Help
If it has been a while since you last reviewed your will and estate plan, it is time to do so. The expert estate planning attorneys at The Dayton Law Firm are available to help. We have decades of experience assisting clients with drafting and revising wills and estate plans to ensure their wishes are respected. Schedule your consultation by calling 408-758-5750 or emailing us today to learn more about how we can help you.