Winter 2017

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PATRONS | Winter 2017 20 FUTURE FOCUS Estate Planning: The What and Why WHAT IS AN ESTATE PL AN? An estate plan provides protection for your family and for your property. It directs who will receive your assets when you are gone. A proper estate plan includes a revocable living trust, a last will and powers of attorney for health care and financial matters. Working together, these documents can avoid the need for a conservatorship in the event of your incapacity or the need for a probate on your passing. WHO NEEDS AN ESTATE PL AN? An estate plan is important for anyone who wants to protect their family and their property. A proper estate plan allows you to plan for your dis- ability and direct the distribution of your property. It can save tax dollars, professional fees and court costs. You should work with a trusted advisor to avoid inadvertent issues and errors with do-it-yourself plans. WHY DO I WANT TO AVOID PROBATE? Probate is the court-supervised process of paying your debts and distrib- uting your property to the people who inherit it. It is expensive, time-con- suming and a matter of public record. A small investment of time now can save heartache in the future. HOW DOES A TRUST AVOID PROBATE? Property you transfer into a living trust before your death doesn't go through probate. e person you appoint to handle your trust after your death (the "Successor Trustee") simply transfers ownership to the benefi- ciaries you named in the trust. BENEFITS OF AN ESTATE PL AN • Provide instructions for your care and that of your loved ones in the event of your disability • Avoid probate and its associated legal costs • Keep your affairs private and confidential (probate is part of the public record) • Control your property • Create protective trusts for your disadvantaged children, adult children and grandchildren • Reduce or eliminate estate taxes (if necessary) • Avoid California's default rules for the distribution of your assets Stephanie Bezner is an a orney and partner with Doan-Bezner located in Rancho Palos Verdes. She is a member of Torrance Memorial's Professional Advisory Council. (310) 541-4076. WRITTEN BY STEPHANIE F. BEZNER, ESQ. For addi onal financial health informa on, please a end Torrance Memorial's Financial Health Seminars. For details on upcoming events, visit

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