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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: minor children

    Estate Planning For Young Professionals

    Young professionals hear a lot about the importance of establishing a 401(k), paying off their student loans early, saving an emergency youngmanlaptopfund, and budgeting advice, but far too often one of the most important aspects of financial planning is left out of the conversation: estate planning.

    Estate planning is not just for the rich, the famous, or the elderly—it’s for young people too! Young professionals at a minimum should have a basic will that directs where their assets will go upon their passing. In some states such as California where the court process for passing your assets is very long and expensive, a trust should be strongly considered.

    Young professionals also need medical directives so designated family members or friends can make their medical decisions in an emergency situation. Under federal laws, doctors and hospitals are prohibited from communicating with your loved ones unless you have specifically authorized them to do so through proper legal documentation.

    Estate planning is also not just about money.  If you have young children, you also need to consider establishing an emergency plan for your children in case you are seriously injured.  Otherwise your children are at risk of temporary foster care, or having a judge choose who raises them.  You also need to document your wishes for how you wish for your children to be raised, and preserve important memories and hopes for them if you were to pass away.

    The best place to begin evaluating your estate planning needs is by meeting with your Newport Beach family trust attorneys. We can help you understand what would happen if you pass away without planning, and what estate planning strategies are best for you to ensure your money would go to who you want, and your loved ones would be cared for.  While online ‘do it yourself’ websites have become more popular, they typically have disclaimers disclosing that they are not attorneys and do not have a fiduciary duty to you, whereas attorneys do. When people do face a medical emergency or pass away, their family quickly realizes that the ‘do it yourself’ approach has failed them.

    Call Meier Law Firm today at 949-718-0420 and schedule a planning session to get started.

    Make a Contract With Your Teen Driver This Summer

    Before you know it summer will be here and that means more teen drivers on the road.  Statistics show teens have twice as many accidents during the summer as any other time of the year, and alcohol is often a contributing factor.  teen driver

    Researchers say teen drivers do not think about risk the same way adults do, leading them to take bigger chances when they’re behind the wheel – leading one teen safety advocate to say “there’s no such thing” as a safe teen driver.

    A study by insurance company State Farm and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that 75 percent of fatal accidents caused by teen drivers were because of three mistakes:

    • Driving too fast for road or weather conditions.
    • Not paying attention to the road and what may have been coming ahead or from the side.
    • Being distracted by something – or someone – inside or outside the vehicle.

    More than half of all fatal teen accidents are one-car crashes, and the main factor is excessive speed.  Driving too fast coupled with inexperienced teen drivers’ tendency to misjudge a curve or bump in the road results in thousands of fatal accidents every year.

    To make sure this kind of tragedy doesn’t befall your family, sit down with your teen and make a contract specifying they are not to drink or use a cell phone for talking or texting while driving.

    You may also want to send your teen to a safe driving school.  The American Automobile Association (AAA) is just one of several organizations that offer classes in safe driving for teens.

    Our focus is the well-being and care of your family, no matter what.  If you would like to have a talk about protecting your family through legal planning, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.

    How to Create a Lifetime of Care for a Special Needs Child

    Parents of children with special needs usually share one overriding concern: what will happen to my child after I’m gone? They also struggle with guilt for what they envision as an eventual destiny for their other children who might assume care of their special needs sibling.family halloween

    This is what estate planning was made for. You can do something right now to ensure your special needs child has the proper care for the rest of his or her life. As you consult with your attorney to create a special needs trust or other estate planning tools, take into consideration the following:

    The amount of financial support your special needs child will require over his or her life. You should start by calculating how much support you are providing now and then think about the support they will need as they reach adulthood and into their senior years. Consider if he or she will be able to provide any of their own support, or will rely on government benefits. Of course, you also need to estimate how much you are able to give.

    Governmental benefits protection. If your child already receives government benefits from Medicare or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your plan will need to take this into consideration and not provide your child with too much income to disqualify them from these benefits. Usually this can be avoided through the creation of a special needs trust.

    How your other children fit into your estate plan. A vast majority of parents want to ensure equal treatment for all their children when it comes to an inheritance. Sometimes, with a special needs child, this is not possible if parents have limited financial resources. If this will be true for you, be sure you talk with your other children about your plan and discuss how distribution of other assets might even this up a little for them.

    Who will manage your special needs child’s finances. When you create a special needs trust, you will need to name a trustee or trustees to manage the trust assets for the benefit of your child. Choose someone you know who cares about your child and who is willing to assume the responsibilities of caring for him or her.

    Beyond just the financial, how do you want your child cared for after you are gone?  How can you use your financial resources to ensure that actually happens? Call your Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorneys today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session, where we build provisions into trusts that make it more likely that your child’s care will continue in alignment with your desires, hopes and dreams for their future.

    Greatest Wealth Transfer in History Underway – What’s Your Plan?

    Greatest Transfer of Wealth in History - Wheelbarrow of MoneyA new study from the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy shows that the greatest wealth transfer in history is currently underway, with more than $59 trillion passing to heirs, charities and Uncle Sam between now and 2061.

    The majority of this wealth — $36 trillion — is being passed directly to heirs and another sizeable chunk — $27 trillion – will be passed to charity, either through final estate bequest or total lifetime gifts.

    And even though the study notes that the transfer of $59 trillion is the largest in history, it estimates that the final figure will likely be much higher than that.

    So what is your plan for either transferring or receiving inherited wealth?

    If you don’t have one – and far too many of you don’t – we encourage you to start planning now, since in our view your estate plan is more of a process than a static document. Our relationship with our clients continues long after your estate planning documents have been signed.

    As your life changes and your family grows, you will find that our legacy planning will play an important role in how you choose to transfer wealth to future generations. We keep all your estate planning documents accessible to you in an electronic file, and schedule timely reviews so that we can furnish you with three very important services:

    1. We ensure that all your assets are owned correctly so your family isn’t stuck dealing with an expensive, unnecessary, and public Court process. Establishing a Trust once and then never looking at it again isn’t the answer — regular updating and assurance that all your assets are documented and owned properly is.

    2. We make sure that the guardians you have named for your minor children, the trustees you have chosen to carry out the terms of your trust, and the agents you designate to make health care decisions for you in case you cannot make them yourself are still the people you want in charge.

    3. We help you record your values, experiences, family history and other important intangibles you want to pass on to future generations so they are never lost. Our estate plans cover far more than just your money, focusing on what matters most — your values, insights, stories and experience. The things most often lost when someone dies.

    Call your Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys at Meier Law Firm today to schedule a time for us to sit down and have an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session, where we can help you look at what would happen now if something were to happen to you and ensure everything passes to your loved ones in the way you want.

    Last Chance! Register Now to Name Permanent Guardians For Your Kids For Free!

    Join top OC business and estate planning attorney and mom of three great kids, Laura K. Meier, this Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 11:30am for a Free 20-Minute Online Webinar to discover why you must name permanent guardians for your kids so they would never be in temporary foster care or have a judge decide who would raise them, if something happened to you!

    Plus, Laura will show you an easy three-step process for choosing guardians for your kids, and how to avoid the six common mistakes parents (and their lawyers) make when naming guardians.  You will leave the Online Workshop with FREE legal documents naming permanent guardians for your kids, plus the peace of mind of knowing you’ve named guardians “just in case”! 

    Register now on the Meier Law Firm Events Page.

    Be sure to invite your friends and family!

    TONIGHT at 8pm PST! What would happened to your kids if something happened to you??

    Have you ever wondered what would really happen to your little ones if something happened to you? Have your special clients or family and friends asked themselves this difficult question? The scary reality is that if something did happen to you without you having named permanent guardians for your kids, then your kids could end up in temporary foster care until a judge decided who would raise them! It’s not a scare tactic, it is the truth!

    No parent ever wants their child in foster care or to have a court battle over who should raise them!  You can make sure your kids would be raised the people you love and want by naming permanent guardians for them NOW.

    Join local attorney and mom, Laura K. Meier, for a FREE 20 minute online Kids Guardian Workshop TONGIHT at 8pm PST where you can name permanent guardians for FREE, right from the comfort of your own home! There is no catch or gimmick. Meier Law Firm wants to make sure that every child in our community has a plan in place for them just in case something happens to their parents.  It’s fast, it’s free, and it’s so easy.  You must name permanent guardians for them.

    Plus, you’ll discover at the Workshop the 6 common mistakes parents (and attorneys) make when naming permanent guardians for kids, and an easy three-step process for choosing the right guardians.  All in 20 minutes!

    Register now at www.meierfirm.com/webinars.html or call 949.718.0420. This online workshop is open to all great parents in California so invite your family and friends now to join you in protecting the special kids in your lives.

     Visit www.meierfirm.com to learn more. We’ll see you and other great local parents on March 1st at 8pm!

    Sincerely,

    Laura K. Meier, Esq.




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    Meier Law Firm | 2103 Vista Entrada, Newport Beach, CA 92660
    phone: 949.718.0420 e-mail: office@meierfirm.com