Estate Planning Solutions

The core of every estate plan is a revocable trust. A trust transfers your wealth on death, avoiding probate, protecting privacy, and providing tax planning and asset protection planning ability for your heirs, including a surviving spouse or partner. A De Fonte Law PC revocable trust provides enticements and tools to encourage your heirs to become money savvy, as well as providing “control from the grave” to avoid having your assets squandered after your death.

Your estate plan will also include advance health care directives, durable powers of attorney, a substantive guardianship nomination form, and other ancillary documents. This will effectuate the transfer of your real estate from your pets to your pots and pans.

Philosophy of Fit

Choosing the right estate planning attorney for you is important. You need to feel that you can speak openly and honestly about yourself, your spouse, your children, your finances, and your loved ones – as well as the people who might be problematic.

Who We Work With

Parents:

Protecting children of all ages from the perils of inheritance is critical. The old method of requiring funds to be given to adult children at specified ages does not take into account the emotional fragility of a person who has lost their parent(s). It does not allow them to make tax-savvy decisions or allow them time to gather their own experts to determine the best and highest use of their inheritance. It is important for parents with minor children to think about the guardian’s financial profile and perhaps provide funds to create equity in the home among all children. De Fonte Law PC’s long-form guardianship nomination document lets parents clearly state who should care for the children, who should not be involved in their lives, and give input on matters that are important such as religion, education, mental health support, contact with loved ones, and more.

Unmarried Couples:

Unmarried partners do not have the same protections and benefits under the law that married people do. The laws of intestacy (the default laws of inheritance) can create havoc for an unmarried couple, and the inability to hold title to assets as community property can leave a surviving partner exposed to capital gains taxation. The Family Law Code will never apply, regardless of the duration of the relationship, leaving couples who break up subject to civil court proceedings if they do not agree on the division of assets. De Fonte Law PC reviews all of our client’s assets with them, explain the tax result on each death and asks all of our unmarried couples to meet with family law attorneys to learn about California’s Family Law code and determine whether they wish to marry, marry with a prenup or remain unmarried with a cohabitation agreement.

Divorcing & Divorced:

De Fonte Law leverages a broad professional team for every divorcing and divorced client. New insurance and financial advisors are needed to provide risk mitigation and new strategies for a successful tomorrow. Perhaps a client needs a CDFA or a realtor with the education and experience to work with a divorcing couple. In addition, De Fonte Laws PC trust documents contain provisions to exclude an ex from benefiting from a client’s trust proceeds, as often a divorcing or divorced client who is also a co-parent wants to ensure that their ex will not be able to control the children’s inheritance.

Single People:

Estate planning for single people who do not have children can be difficult. Often, they do not think it is important or are unsure who should receive their assets and do not feel ready. Single people need incapacity planning – advance health care directives and durable powers of attorney and revocable trust to put the right people in charge in the event of incapacity. Their insurance needs might also be unique, with an emphasis on disability insurance and long-term care insurance over life insurance.

Green Card Holders:

Between married US citizens, when one dies, they may leave the survivor unlimited assets with generally no federal estate tax consequence. This is not true for green card holders, and extra planning with a QDOT (Qualified Domestic Asset Trust) is often needed for couples where one or both spouses hold green cards. We always say, “Our Network Is Your Network,” and perhaps no class of clients needs our network more than our clients with green cards. Insurance, retirement, tax, and financial advisory in the US are often very different and frequently shocking. We help you build a terrific team of professionals you can rely on for years to come.

Married Couples:

Just because you are married does not mean that you automatically get to make health care decisions for your spouse, that you will inherit all of your spouses property or that you have any right to speak to your spouses employer, bank or even the government. It is critical for all married people to have an estate plan to give each other the tools they need to protect each other in time of incapacity and upon death.

Young Adult Package:

Not many people realize that estate planning is important for all adults, beginning at 18 years old. No one has the automatic authority to make medical decisions for another adult, not even a parent for an adult child. Parents cannot act for their children when it comes to their finances, insurance, taxes, leases, or education either. At 18, parents are locked out.

De Fonte Law PC’s Young Adults Package includes a Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, HIPAA Waiver, and a Last Will and Testament. For college students, it also includes a generic FERPA Consent Form to authorize parents’ communication with a college regarding the student’s classes, transcripts, grades, and more.

LGBTQ + Community:

While great strides have been made, the LGBT+ community continues to have specific estate planning issues and needs. De Fonte Law PC’s health care directives contain provisions related to respect for gender identification, the importance of working with medical providers who respect and/or are part of the LGBT+ community, and the importance of avoiding a “re-closeting” during a period of infirmity. Many of our older clients are estranged from their families, have lost loved ones to illness, and were precluded from having children, which can make selecting a successor and agents difficult. Estate planning for single people who do not have children can be difficult. Often, they do not think it is important or do not feel ready because they are unsure who should receive their assets. Single people need incapacity planning – advanced health care directives and durable powers of attorney, and revocable trust to put the right people in charge in the event of incapacity. Their insurance needs might also be unique, with an emphasis on disability insurance and long-term care insurance over life insurance.

  • Complimentary Consultation
  • The Lawyer’s Learning Meeting
  • The Client’s Learning Meeting/Document Review
  • Signing Ceremony
  • Client Education and Funding Meeting
  • Complementary Client Service Package

(We meet with our clients every three years to ensure an accurate and up to date estate plan)

Remote Online Notarization

SAFETY/COVID/FLEX APPTS
Offices in SF and Burlingame, and in San Diego, meeting with clients virtually throughout California.

Deliverables

Our documents are drafted on software created by Wealth Counsel. Why does this matter? Keeping up with changes in the law at the Federal and State levels can be daunting. A case decided in a bankruptcy court in Fresno might have an impact on how a deed is prepared for our estate clients. WealthCounsel provides secure cloud based up to date drafting software, educational workshops, and a legal community.

Deliverables

Every client receives not only their signed documents, but a full electronic estate plan portfolio shared on our secure file sharing platform. Each document is accompanied by an explanation of how and when the document would be used.

Deliverables

Our large three ring binders, with our Apple Pie Tree of Life and the words ESTATE PLAN PORTFOLIO predominantly written on the front and on the spine make it easily identifiable for your successors and agents.

Protection: Guardianship Nomination Form

It is typical for an attorney to state your children’s name and ages, and the names and addresses of their guardians, in a will (even a plan with a revocable trust includes a will). This will become a public document when you die, subjecting a surviving spouse and your children to public scrutiny, and alerting criminals, creeps, and predators that your grieving loved ones are vulnerable. At De Fonte Law PC we instead use a separate form to identify your children and their guardians. This form allows you to provide a roadmap and state your vision for your children’s future.

Durable Power Of Attorney:

This document authorizes your trusted persons(s) to transfer property to your Revocable Trust and manage your financial affairs if you become unable to manage them yourself. If you do not have this document your loved ones, including your spouse or partner, may be forced to ask a judge to have you conserved in order to care for you.

Advance Health Care Directive:

No one wants to make healthcare decisions for you without your input and guidance. Your Advance Healthcare Directive authorizes your designated agent to make medical decisions for you when you cannot. Our clients also receive a HIPPA Waiver, authorizing release of health information to designated persons.

Revocable Trust:

When properly funded, a Revocable Trust is a powerful tool that protects both a surviving spouse or partner, minor and adult children, and other heirs from the perils of inheritance (creditors, creeps and predators, and their own frailties). It does not generally need to be amended when your assets change, and we often draft trusts to anticipate future children.

Why No Wills

De Fonte Law PC does not use wills to direct assets on death. Why? Wills are public documents, leaving the beneficiary vulnerable to predators. Wills make an estate “subject to probate” which means court oversight, which can be both expensive and time-consuming.

Successor Trustee Manual

Serving as a successor trustee is serious business. Provide the person who honors you with an organized binder of instructions, advice and checklists.