Alameda, California (EastBayDaily) — According to San Francisco area estate planning lawyer, Heather Reynolds, far too many California residents are without estate plans to protect their family and assets should something unexpectedly happen to them. A recent lawyers.com survey revealed that nationwide only 35% report having a will and 21% have a trust arranged, or just over half of the total population.
After receiving hundreds of requests from clients and potential clients who want to be able to “do it themselves” by using her time tested quality legal forms, Attorney Reynolds finally made them available directly through her recently launched website: Your Legacy Lives
“These forms are great for those who want to save money by drafting their own documents, but want to know that the templates they are starting with are quality estate planning documents,” says Reynolds.
The different types of California Estate Planning documents now available on this new site are explained by Attorney Reynolds: The Durable Power of Attorney becomes effective upon your incapacity and ends at your death. The person in control of your assets (outside the trust) is called the attorney-in-fact. You want this person to be good at paying bills and taxes in a timely manner. You don’t want to go into surgery for a few months and come out to face a foreclosure.
The Will takes over at your death where the Durable Power of Attorney leaves off and should be the same person. In this case, he/she is called the executor. This should be the same person as your trustee and attorney-in-fact. The executor is the one who signs your final tax returns and handles financial aspects that are outside of your trust, if you have one.
The Trust authority only covers all the assets inside of it, and the next person to become trustee does so upon your incapacity. He/she is called your trustee. Since it is a living trust, it doesn’t die like the Power of Attorney, but continues after your death. This person should be the same as your executor and attorney-in-fact so there is no conflict of power over financial aspects of your world.
The Advance Healthcare Directive covers your medical decisions and issues related to your physical body in the event that you cannot competently answer medical questions. This person is called your agent. This person should be good at fighting for your rights, showing up in a crisis, and managing your family dynamics. This person should live close by because they may need to be available on a daily basis.
“I created Your Legacy Lives because I am passionate about every Californian over the age of 18 having at least a basic plan in place” says Reynolds. “The website removes the financial barrier that often stops middle class Americans from meeting with an attorney.”
This site is unique among other “Do-It-Yourself” sites as it’s forms and documents are specific to California. “California has its own laws and requirements for Wills and Trusts” explains Reynolds. “When someone uses generic forms that are intended to be used in any state, these laws may be overlooked.”
Attorney Heather Reynolds was a Legal Specialist in Trusts, Estate Planning and Probate Law, certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization from 2004-2009. She founded her firm in January of 2000. Attorney Reynolds provides high quality legal services to clients who seek peace of mind and probate avoidance. She assists families before and after the loss of a loved one. For more information, see: California Estate Planning Documents
Your Legacy Lives