Most people don’t work their whole life so that when they die the can pay taxes, creditors, and predators. A well-designed estate plan can help protect your assets while you’re alive AND after you’ve passed.

An estate plan is easily the most important set of documents any individual will ever prepare and sign, if they get that far. It is shocking to note that the vast majority of individuals have not made provisions for what will happen to themselves or their families after their incapacity or death. If you have not prepared an estate plan, rest assured; the State of California has prepared one for you. Unfortunately for your family, the State of California is the major beneficiary of an individual who dies without making other arrangements. We’d like to help you insure that the majority of your estate passes to your family rather than to California. With the help of an estate planning attorney and advisers, you can quickly and comfortably establish an estate plan for yourself and your loved ones utilizing Living Trusts, Wills, and Health Care Planning documents.

Another important purpose provided by proper estate planning is the protection of assets in case of liability for some unforeseen accident during your lifetime.  A well-designed estate plan can protect you and your family from accident liability, creditors, and predators while you’re living and protect your family after your passing.

Proper estate planning requires a relationship with a qualified estate planning attorney. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, businesses, and salespeople masquerading as estate planners. The public is inundated with sales schemes that involve selling wills, living trusts, and estate planning forms without the oversight of attorneys. Proper estate planning requires professional thoroughness and an understanding of this complex and continuously changing area of law, especially State and Federal gun laws if the estate includes any firearms.  Our attorneys and other advisers combine their vast knowledge with respect for the overall well-being of the client and the client’s family. The Law Collaborative aspires to the highest ethical professional behavior, lending dignity to the client, their family, and the estate planning process. We are in the business of helping people, not selling forms.

To speak with an experienced estate planning attorney about your specific needs, email us or call us toll free at (818)348-6700. Our offices are conveniently located in Woodland Hills, serving all of the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles.

Asset Protection Services

A properly designed Estate Plan can shield you and your loved ones from creditors and predators by providing an effective means of asset protection.

Unfortunately, television and films dealing with this topic have spread some common misconceptions.  Many people interested in asset protection are further mislead by the ravings of “online experts”.  What one must first understand is that Courts are extremely motivated to see that creditors and injured parties get paid.  This is a fundamental truth in our society.  But despite this truth, and without any formal training, some people try to undertake this complicated and risky task themselves.  At best, these people are often disappointed when their assets are attacked.  At the worse they end up broke or imprisoned.

Many people  believe that they can protect themselves from creditors and lawsuits by putting their assets into a revocable living trust (RLT).  This is a common mistake which can be extremely costly.  If creditors are wolves, then the RLT is the straw house of asset protection.  That does not mean that they do not have their place.  Revocable living trusts are one of the most popular tools in Estate Planning, but not for the purpose of protecting the trust maker.

Another misconception is that you can protect yourself from creditors by simply moving assets offshore.  Moving assets offshore alone would be like placing them in a house of sticks.  Sometimes there are very good reasons to move certain assets offshore, but unless you live in a boat, it won’t work with your house.  Furthermore, governments and financial institutions the world over are beginning to cooperate more often as they come to the same conclusion as our courts; debts should be paid, scores should be settled, the injured should be made whole.

What about irrevocable trusts?  Irrevocable trusts can be extremely powerful tools in the hands of a skilled attorney, but there are many issues which must addressed in order to create a trust which cannot be invalidated as a form of fraudulent transfer.  Trying to protect an asset by simply giving it to a relative is just another stick house.

The only stone fortress in the field of asset protection is one made up of various elements or defenses, each selected by a skilled attorney for the specific role it plays in the structure.  But even the strongest fortress can be breached.  The truth is, some of the leading asset protection firms spend the majority of their time defeating asset protection schemes designed by untrained lawyers and misinformed debtors.  Anybody promising a fool-proof scheme is lying to you.

Knowing that no plan is foolproof  (unless the debtor is willing to serve prison time) and understanding that most creditors and predators are looking for low-hanging fruit, the best asset protection scheme for many people is the one that simply places their assets just out of reach.  A well designed plan can place your fruit out of reach of all but the most motivated creditors.  On the other hand, a poorly or overdesigned plan can simply make your fruit look bigger and tastier than it is.  If a creditor or predator sees a tasty looking fruit just out of reach, they might take the time to grab a ladder. The goal is to not be a low hanging fruit, but neither the tastiest looking fruit in the tree.

Asset protection should be an important goal of every estate plan and it starts with discussing your goals with your attorney.  At The Law Collaborative, Los Angeles we can design plans which make your assets a higher hanging fruit, or we can help you construct a stone fortress.  Call or email us for a free consultation or call (818) 348-6700.

In California, small estates valued at under $150,000 which meet all of the requirements of sections 13100-13115 of the California Probate Code can still avoid going through the costly and time consuming probate process even if the decedent failed to create or fund a trust.

To qualify the total estate may not exceed $150,000 in value and both the decedent’s real and personal property in California must be considered in determining the total value of the estate.  Insurance policy and retirement plan proceeds payable to the estate as the designated beneficiary must also be included in determining whether the total value of the estate exceeds $150,000.

The following property is excluded in determining whether the total value of the estate exceeds $150,000:

•Vehicles and other state-registered property: automobiles, “nonmotor” vehicles such as trailers, mobile homes, manufactured homes, commercial coaches, truck campers, floating homes and undocumented vessels;

•Unpaid salary: any amounts due to the decedent for services in the armed forces and up to $5,000 in unpaid salary or other compensation (including compensation for unused vacation) owing to the decedent for personal services from any employment;

•Joint tenancy interests, life estates, and property passing outright to a surviving spouse: all property held by the decedent in joint tenancy, or in which the decedent had a life estate or other interest which terminated at death, or that passes outright to the decedent’s surviving spouse under Probate Code section 13500;

•Multiple-party accounts:any multiple-party account to which the decedent was a party at death to the extent the funds pass directly to a surviving party, payable-on-death payee or beneficiary; and

Inter vivos trust assets: all property held in a living trust.

The process is not simple and has many complex requirements which should discourage anyone from trying to complete the without experienced legal assistance, however it is still quicker and less expensive than going through probate.

The Law Collaborative, Los Angeles, has flat fee packages available for those who qualify for the small estate administration process so you can know and budget in advance during the challenging period which follows the death of a loved one.  Call us today at (818) 348-6700 to schedule your free consultation.

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Family Law Attorneys Ron Supancic and Ty Supancic are pioneers in collaborative law, and our highly qualified team of attorneys comprises one of the most experienced legal teams in the State of California. We are a multi-disciplinary family law firm with over 55 years of combined legal experience. With offices in Woodland Hills, California, we specialize in collaborative divorce, mediation, contested and uncontested divorce, and child custody disputes. We also practice estate planning, writing wills, revocable living trusts, asset protection trusts, firearm trusts, and medical directives.

Ron Supancic, CFLS

Certified Family Law Specialist (list titles)

Founder Ron Supancic has been serving as a Certified Family Law Specialist in Los Angeles for over thirty years. As a family law attorney for over forty years, Ron has handled thousands of contested divorce cases, child custody cases, and post-marital disputes. Ron’s qualifications and experience in the Los Angeles Superior Court give him the unique ability to provide second opinions on complex divorce cases that have reached an impasse, become too costly, or have stalled.

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Ty Supancic, Esq.

Attorney at Law

Attorney Ty Supancic practices extensively in the area of Consensual Dispute Resolution including mediated divorce, collaborative divorce, estate planning (wills & trusts), and asset protection

While Ty and his ex were able to have a quiet, dignified, and private divorce, the ultimate beneficiary was their daughter who got to grow up with cooperative co-parents and was spared the horrible toll that divorce courts usually inflict.

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