Estate Planning

Providing wise legal counsel that leads to effective results in the area of estate planning

Summary of Practice

The Law Office of Mark Jackson serves clients in all areas of estate planning. Mark Jackson’s 11 years of experience as an attorney, along with his personal approach to client service, has earned him a reputation as a knowledgeable, thoughtful, and effective adviser. While many clients view estate planning as complex and overwhelming, Mark takes the stress out of the process by getting to know his clients’ needs, helping his clients understand their options, and drafting documents that achieve his clients’ goals. Mark takes a holistic approach to estate planning and problem solving that involves working closely with his clients and their professional advisors and creating multifaceted, comprehensive solutions that are tailored to each client’s circumstances and goals. In doing so, Mark helps his clients protect their assets and interests, preserve their legacy, and provide for their family.

Areas of Expertise

The Law Office of Mark Jackson represents individuals, couples, and families in Redlands, the Inland Empire, La Quinta, and the Coachella Valley. Mark’s estate planning practice focuses on the following areas:

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Wills

A will is a document in which a person expresses his or her wishes regarding the disposition of his or her assets after death. Assets that pass through a will are generally subject to probate court proceedings, which add time and costs to the estate process. As a result, trusts are used as the centerpiece of most estate plans in California. Nevertheless, every well-crafted estate plan includes a will.

Trusts

Trusts create a fiduciary relationship through which someone (known as the trustee) holds title to assets for the benefit of another person (known as the beneficiary). A trust-centered estate plan offers considerable advantages over a will-centered estate plan in most cases. As a result, most estate plans in California rely primarily on a trust in order to dispose of a client’s property at death. Various types of trusts exist—such as revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, charitable trusts, and pet trusts—that clients can utilize to achieve their estate goals.

Trust and Estate Administration

When the creator of a trust (known as the trustor) dies, a process called trust administration occurs. During trust administration, the trustee of the trust must manage the trust according to the terms of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Trustees often require advice and assistance from an attorney in order to adhere to the law and manage the trust properly.

Powers of Attorney

Individuals can become unwilling or unable to handle their day-to-day financial affairs due to incapacity, inconvenience, unavailability, or other reasons. In that situation, a power of attorney allows an individual to give someone else the power to act on the individual’s behalf to manage matters ranging from finances to real estate to business decisions.

Health Care Directives

An advance health care directive enables an individual to give someone else the power to make health care decisions and receive health information on the individual’s behalf. Advance health care directives also provide instructions regarding the individual’s health care instructions, such as end-of-life care and medical treatment preferences.

Conservatorships

A conservatorship occurs when a person (known as the conservator) is appointed by a court to care for another adult (known as the conservatee) who cannot care for or manage his or her finances. The process of determining when a conservatorship is appropriate, obtaining a conservatorship, and understanding the rights and responsibilities of a conservator requires legal counsel.

Guardianships

A guardianship is a court order that appoints someone other than a child’s parent (known as the guardian) to be responsible for taking care of a child under the age of 18. A court can appoint a guardian when both parents die or when a parent becomes ill or unfit. A guardianship is a critical part of an estate plan for parents of minor children.

Business Succession Planning

Clients often need legal counsel in order to plan for the future transfer of assets accumulated through the ownership and operation of a family business, real estate development, or investment company. Clients often want to ensure that these types of assets are transferred to heirs or business partners, and documentation is often required to avoid conflicts and ensure that the client’s desired outcome occurs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an estate planning attorney?

An estate planning attorney is a person licensed by a state bar association to practice law who has knowledge and expertise in the area of estate planning law. Examples of the work of an estate planning lawyer would include drafting a will, assisting a trustee in the trust administration process, and counseling clients on how to achieve their estate planning goals. Mark Jackson is licensed by The State Bar of California to practice law and has over a decade of experience counseling clients on a wide range of legal matters, including estate planning. If you would like to learn more about Mark, click here

Why is an estate planning attorney important?

Few people want to think about what will happen to their assets and family members when they die. As a result, only about half of Americans die with a will, and even fewer have an estate plan.(1) At death, this lack of estate planning can lead to delay in the passing of assets, significant costs and taxes involved in the estate process, family conflict, and an ultimate outcome that doesn’t correspond with the wishes of the deceased person. For people who do want to proactively create an estate plan, they might know what they want—a solid estate plan—but they likely won’t know how to get it on their own. The laws relating to estate planning are complex and strict, and extensive and complicated estate planning options exist.(2) While people with a do-it-yourself attitude might want to try to create an estate plan themselves, the expertise of an estate planning attorney is required to ensure that a comprehensive estate plan is effectively created. Estate planning lawyers like Mark Jackson can provide that kind of expertise and, in doing so, ensure that each client’s wishes are effectuated.

What happens if I die without an estate plan?

When a person dies without a will or estate plan, that person is known as someone who dies “intestate.” The assets of a Californian who dies intestate pass according to California’s intestate succession laws, which results in assets being disposed of in a way that the deceased person may or may not have approved.(5) Dying intestate also means that a deceased person’s estate must go through the added time and expense of probate court. More specifically, probate court proceedings frequently last for nine to twelve months, and costs associated with the probate are calculated as a percentage of the total value of the estate. In order to avoid the negative consequences of dying intestate, all adults should invest in hiring an attorney to create a robust estate plan.

How can estate planning attorneys help clients?

Estate planning lawyers have a number of duties as they assist clients, including the following:

 

  • Protecting the client’s interests
  • Discussing estate issues in order to determine the client’s wishes
  • Drafting estate documents that reflect the client’s wishes, such as trusts, wills, powers of attorney, advance healthcare directives, and guardianships(3)
  • Working with the client’s accountant, financial advisor, insurance companies, business consultants, and other advisors to ensure consistency in the client’s estate plan
  • Providing advice that will enable the client to minimize taxation
  • Providing advice that enables the client’s estate to avoid the time and expense of probate court
  • Updating estate documents to reflect the current state of the family, relationships, and assets(4)

 

Everyone, regardless of one’s stage of life, can benefit from having an estate plan.  Estate planning attorneys provide a wide range of services that are tailored to each client’s needs.  To learn more about the ways that Mark Jackson can assist you in the area of estate planning, please contact The Law Office of Mark Jackson today.

What are the common elements of an estate plan?

Most estate plans include a trust, a will, an advance health care directive, and a durable power of attorney. It is important to note that the circumstances, assets, and family situation of each person are different. As a result, each client’s estate plan should be tailored to address their specific situation and meet their specific estate planning goals. For example, clients have at their disposal various types of trusts, each of which functions differently and accomplishes different outcomes. Moreover, parents of young children will likely want to create a guardianship in the event of their death, while other clients might want to strategize with an attorney on business succession planning. Receiving advice from an attorney can enable clients to create a comprehensive estate plan that addresses their needs and goals.

If you need assistance creating an estate plan, or if you need legal advice on a specific estate issue, The Law Office of Mark Jackson can help. Mark Jackson offers effective and service-oriented representation to clients. Please call Mark at 909-488-0990 or email him at mark@lawofficeofmarkjackson.com to schedule a consultation.

Contact Mark Today

[1].https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/do-you-need-an-estate-plan
[2].https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/estate-finance
[3].https://www.policygenius.com/estate-planning/when-to-hire-an-estate-lawyer/
[4].https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-an-estate-planning-attorney-3505707
[5].https://smartasset.com/estate-planning/california-inheritance-laws