Estate Planning

Although no one wants to think about death or permanent disability, creating an estate plan with the help of an experienced attorney is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself, your assets and and your loved ones and face the challenges that life inevitably presents.

Providing for Incapacity

A properly established estate plan allows you to designate a spouse or trusted family member or friend to manage your assets and pay bills in the event you are unable to do so without the high cost and delays of dealing with the courts. In addition, estate planning also allows you to plan for medical situations. Planning options such as a durable power of attorney allows a spouse or person of your choosing to make healthcare decisions according to your wishes.

Avoiding Probate

A probate is a legal proceeding in which the assets of a person who has passed away is transferred to the decedent’s heirs. Probate is a costly and public process involving substantial attorney and court fees. A properly drafted estate plan, on the other hand, allows for the same transfer of property, usually without court involvement, resulting in significantly lower fees. Best of all, the entire process remains private.

Providing for Minor Children

A properly drafted estate plan to provide and designate guardians for your minor children. One of the best features of such a plan is providing for different alternatives such as in cases where there is a surviving spouse versus placing your children with a trusted guardian. In addition, there can be a separate trustee that oversees financial assets which would provide a check and balance. All of these issues can be discussed with a qualified estate planning attorney.

Planning for Death Taxes

The size of your estate will determine whether there will be any federal or state estate owned. It’s important to speak with a qualified attorney to take advantage of substantial tax exemptions and plan to minimize any tax burden.

Charitable Bequests – Planned Giving
An estate plan can also provide for charitable organizations or causes that may be close to your heart. A well-crafted plan can also provide you with income for life and minimize taxes.

A well-crafted estate plan will give you peace of mind that you have taken the steps necessary to provide for your family and loved one

With offices in Fremont and San Jose, California, and Metro Manila, Philippines, the attorneys of the Gervacio Denda Law Firm assist clients throughout California including Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Mountain View, Castroville and Marina in Santa Clara County, Monterey County and San Benito County

Advanced Estate Planning

High net worth clients with substantial assets may need advanced estate planning strategies to avoid having their estates eroded by federal and state taxes.

The Gervacio Denda Law firm regularly assists affluent clients with sophisticated planning tools as Family Limited Partnerships or Limited Liability Companies, Personal Residence Trusts, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts and a wide range of charitable gifting techniques to reduce Federal Estate Taxes, Gift Taxes and Generation Skipping Transfer Taxes.

Family Limited Partnerships
A Family Limited Partnership (FLP) is a form of a limited partnership among family members. Among the advantages of a FLP include estate and gift tax savings as well as asset protection. An FLP also allows you to retain control over the transferred assets.

Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
Another sophisticated tool utilizing your house or vacation home. A Qualified Personal Residence Trust or a QPRT allows you to give away your house or vacation home at a great discount, freeze its value for estate tax purposes, and still continue to live in it. Speak with one of our attorneys to see if you take advantage of this advanced estate planning strategy.


Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust is an advanced estate planning tool created for the purpose of owning your life insurance policy. A properly established and administered trust holds the policy outside of your estate and keeps the proceeds from being taxed to your estate. The payout from the insurance policy can then be used to provide your estate with the liquidity to pay estate taxes, pay off debts, pay final expenses and provide income to a surviving beneficiaries.


With offices in Fremont and San Jose, California, and Metro Manila, Philippines, the attorneys of the Gervacio Denda Law Firm assist clients throughout California including Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Mountain View, Castroville and Marina in Santa Clara County, Monterey County and San Benito County.

Special Needs Planning

​A Special Needs Trusts is a must for your estate planning if you have disabled beneficiary.


With offices in Fremont and San Jose, California, and Metro Manila, Philippines, the attorneys of the Gervacio Denda Law Firm assist clients throughout California including Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Mountain View, Castroville and Marina in Santa Clara County, Monterey County and San Benito County.

If you are caring for a disabled child or disabled adult, a Special Needs Trust is a must-have for your estate plan.

The Gervacio Denda Law Firm can set up a Special Needs Trust in a way that that government benefit eligibility is preserved while at the same time providing assets that will meet the supplemental needs of the disabled person.

The Special Needs Trust can be used for a variety of life-enhancing disbursements without jeopardizing your loved ones’ eligibility for government benefits.

These include:

  • Annual check-ups at an independent medical facility

  • Attendance of religious services

  • Supplemental education and tutoring

  • Out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses

  • Transportation (including purchase of a vehicle)

  • Maintenance of vehicles

  • Purchase materials for a hobby or recreation activity

  • Funds for trips or vacations

  • Funds for entertainment such as movies, shows or ballgames.

  • Purchase of goods and services that add pleasure and quality to life: computers, videos, furniture, or electronics.

  • Athletic training or competitions

  • Special dietary needs

  • Personal care attendant or escort

Probate / Estate Administration

Probate is a legal process, managed by a court, that transfers the assets of a person who has passed away to his or her living “heirs” or “designees”. If a person passes away with a valid will in place, the people or organization(s) (such as a charity), are referred to as designees. The deceased person designated that the people named in the will were to receive his or her property. If the person dies without a valid will, the court oversees the transfer of property according to intestate succession. The people receiving the property are called heirs. Probate is a public process and the documents filed are part of the public record. Probate can also be expensive and time-consuming.

In contrast, when a person owned his or her assets through a living trust, it is likely that no court-managed administration is necessary. However, the estate must administered to properly distribute the deceased’s assets. The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate varies depending on the size of the estate and the type of assets it holds.

Every probate is different, but usually involve the following:

  • Filing of a petition with the proper probate court.

  • Notice to heirs under the Will or to statutory heirs (if no Will exists).

  • Petition to appoint Executor (in the case of a Will) or Administrator for the estate.

  • Inventory and appraisal of estate assets by Executor/Administrator.

  • Payment of estate debt to rightful creditors.

  • Sale of estate assets.

  • Payment of estate taxes, if applicable.

  • Final distribution of assets to heirs.

Common expenses of probating an estate include executors fees, attorneys fees, accounting fees, court fees, appraisal costs, and surety bonds. These typically add up to 2% to 7% of the total estate value. Most estates are settled through probate in about 9 to 18 months, assuming there is no litigation involved.


With offices in Fremont and San Jose, California, and Metro Manila, Philippines, the attorneys of the Gervacio Denda Law Firm assist clients throughout California including Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Mountain View, Castroville and Marina in Santa Clara County, Monterey County and San Benito County.

Pet Trusts

For owners of animal companions, it is a genuine concern that the animal companion be well taken care of for the rest of its life.

A ‘pet trusts’ a generic term and is applied to a trust that provides for your animal companion. Our firm has expertise in drafting trusts that meet all of the legal requirements necessary to care of a animal companion after its owner has passed away.

Most trusts for the care of pets include the following:


Statutory Pet Trust – Certain states are enacting statutes that allow for enforceable pet trusts. This means the trust can designate a third party who will have the power to enforce the terms of the trust – to compel the caretaker or trustee to use the trust funds for your pet.

Honorary Trust – This is a type of trust set up for a specific purpose (such as to provide for a pet) but without a definite beneficiary. The problem with an honorary trust is that without a statute specifically authorizing it as a pet trust, it is basically unenforceable and we do not recommend it.

Traditional Legal Trust – One of the best methods to ensure the care of your beloved pet is to set up a traditional legal trust. The Gervacio Denda Law Firm can carefully add language to avoid problems.

 

One method used is to actually place the pet and sufficient funds into the trust. The pet and the funds are the body of the trust. Your attorney then names the caretaker of your pet as the ‘beneficiary’ of the trust. You name a trustee – the party responsible for managing the funds and the caretaker.

Asset Protection

Unfortunately, an increasing number of people are using the legal system to go after honest, hardworking people with “deep pockets”. Over 19 million new lawsuits are filed in the United States every year, many of which are frivolous or settled for sums greater than the actual liability.

Business owners, professionals, and property owners in particular should be aware of the risk associated with conducting their business. Lawsuits have steadily increased over the last few decades. Assets can be at risk due to a number of vulnerabilities, including:

  • Professional malpractice liability

  • Personal liability of corporate officers and directors

  • Lawsuits by former business partners

  • Personal injury suffered on your premises

  • Personal injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident

  • Liability as guarantor for the debts of another

  • Liability arising from misconduct

Shielding Assets from Creditors
In addition, our firm has expertise in assisting clients in shielding their assets from potential creditors. We use trusts, examine insurance needs, create estate plans and business entities such as limited liability companies (LLC’s) and corporations so that our clients are able to enjoy the highest level of confidence in terms of the security of their accumulated assets.

In addition, our firm has a solid working knowledge of:

  • Domestic and offshore trusts;

  • Domestic and offshore and domestic business entity formation;

  • Exempt asset protections under state law; and

  • Negotiation and preparation of pre and post-marital agreements

The exact strategy will vary depending on the client with the end result being the highest level of protection available.


With offices in Fremont and San Jose, California, and Metro Manila, Philippines, the attorneys of the Gervacio Denda Law Firm assist clients throughout California including Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Mountain View, Castroville and Marina in Santa Clara County, Monterey County and San Benito
County.

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