WHAT IS AN ESTATE PLAN
An estate plan is a writing that explains what you wish to happen with your assets after your death. The law does not recognize oral statements. There are two categories of an estate plan: wills and trusts.
WHO SHOULD HAVE AN ESTATE PLAN
If you have assets, you should have an estate plan to distribute your assets upon death.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU PASS AWAY WITHOUT AN ESTATE PLAN (A WILL OR A TRUST)
If you do not instruct in writing what you want done with your assets upon death, the State of California will divide your assets pursuant to a statutory formula. Thus, the State of California will decide which of your relatives receives your assets. If there is no will or trust in existence upon your death, you have no input as to who gets what.
HOW OLDMAN, COOLEY, SALLUS, BIRNBERG & COLEMAN, L.L.P. CAN ASSURE THAT YOUR WISHES ARE FOLLOWED UPON YOUR DEATH
Our law firm will devise and draft estate planning documents that follow your wishes. Our highly trained lawyers are in practice to help you prepare an estate plan that clearly sets out your directives for distribution of your assets.
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR FINANCE
If you become incapacitated, who will make the important decisions regarding your finances and what powers will that person have over your finances? Designated as your Power of Attorney for Finance, the person you choose will have the specific power you designate in writing to deal with your financial issues when you can not do it yourself. Banks, stockbrokers, real estate brokers, etc., recognize the Durable Power of Attorney for Finance as a document which reflects your wishes and should be followed. Such a document can give your designated Power of Attorney the right to run your business, deal with real property, pay your bills, and handle other major and minor aspects of your financial life. Oldman Cooley can draft such a document which will be specific to your needs, wishes and directions.
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH
Who makes health decisions for you when you are not able to make them yourself? How do you insure that medical decisions and, in some cases, end-of-life decisions are consistent with what you would want? Who manages your property, pays your bills and runs your business when you are incapacitated? A Durable Power of Attorney for Health designates in writing the person to whom you give your Power of Attorney for Health.
The person you designate to serve as your Power of Attorney for health will make medical decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated. A written document setting forth such directives is recognized by doctors and hospitals as the expression of your wishes and must be followed. It is an integral part of your overall estate plan and one of the most important documents you will ever sign. Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg & Coleman, L.L.P. will draft the document pursuant to your directions so that your loved ones need not try to guess your wishes when you cannot make them known to your medical providers.
PROBATE ADMINISTRATION
WILL OR NO ESTATE PLAN
If a decedent dies without a will or an estate plan, the assets of his estate must go through the process of court administration. The process takes a minimum of nine (9) months. If there is no estate plan in place, a decedents’ assets will be distributed by the court to the beneficiaries designated by the laws of the State of California. If a will is in place, the court will distribute the assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.
Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg & Coleman, L.L.P. provides guidance to the person designated in the will as being in charge (executor) through the maze of the administration process from beginning to end when assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.
TRUST
If a decedent dies with a trust in place, no court administration is needed. The trust assets are administered by the person designated in the trust document (trustee). Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg & Coleman, L.L.P. can guide the trustee through the maze of trust administration from beginning to the final distribution of assets to the beneficiaries.
CONSERVATORSHIP LAW
Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg & Coleman, L.L.P.’s attorneys are experts in the area of conservatorships. Conservatorships are imposed over people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, senility or serious mental problems. We recognize that a conservatorship proceeding must be handled with the utmost respect and sensitivity for the conservatee. It is heart breaking to deal with a relative, mother or father who has succumbed to the mental deterioration of advanced age.
ESTATE TAX
CHILDREN / GUARDIANSHIPS
Depending on the situation, children under the age of 18 years can benefit from a guardianship. The occasion that most often presents itself is when the child is employed in the entertainment or sports industry and receives significant compensation for services provided.
Imposition of a guardianship allows the guardian (most often a parent) to enter into contracts on behalf of the child and be considered the payee for the child’s compensation. Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg & Coleman, L.L.P. handles guardianships for child actors and athletes. In fact, attorneys at Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg & Coleman, L.L.P. have testified before the California State Legislature on various statutes that were proposed concerning child actors. Attorneys from Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg & Coleman, L.L.P. have also edited books and articles on compensation for child actors and athletes. We know how to constructively work with parents and agents to ensure the child is well cared for. We work to make sure the assets of the child do not become the target of fraud and misrepresentation.
CREATIVE COMMUNITY
Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg & Coleman, L.L.P. has represented many clients who are part of the creative community in Los Angeles. We understand the unique benefits and challenges stemming from royalties, copyright, patents and trademarks in estate planning, conservatorships and the administration of estates after death.