Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc.
Serving clients in Santa Rosa and San Francisco, California and greater Bay Area region

Five Situations When You Should Hire an Estate Planning Attorney


It is always a good idea to get started with estate planning as early as you can, but there are some situations in which preparing your estate plans is of even greater importance. These situations will be discussed in more detail below, but any time a major life change has occurred or is anticipated is a good time to hire an estate planning attorney.

When the time is right for you to hire a California estate planning attorney, contact the law office of Galanti and Copenhaver. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver have handled many different kinds of estate planning matters, including matters that involve litigation. For more information and to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

Situation #1 - You Have Recently Gotten Married or Divorced

When you make a major life decision, such as getting married or divorced, it is a great time to take a closer look at your finances and plans for the future. Marriage generally results in a combining of assets of the parties, and you will want to discuss with your partner how you want your estate handled upon the death of either spouse. An estate planning attorney can help you work together with your partner to create an estate plan that best suits your needs individually and as a couple. Many forms of estate plans can be modified or changed down the road, and your attorney can give you more advice regarding the implications each type of plan may have for you.

Similarly, if you decide to get a divorce, you will likely want to make some changes to estate plans you made with your former spouse. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you make modifications in your plans where appropriate.

Situation #2 - You Recently Had a Child

Once you have a child, you may start to take planning for the future more seriously in order to ensure that your child will be financially taken care of in the future. If you do not already have a will or other estate plans in place, this is the perfect time to get started.

Your estate planning attorney can help create an appropriate estate plan for your needs, and you can designate your child as the beneficiary. As most estate plans of this nature are set up to be able to be modified as needed, you can usually make simple modifications if you have additional children. You will also want to address guardianship of your child in the event both you and your child's other parent pass away.

Situation #3 - You Own a Business

If you own a business and unexpectedly pass away, there should be some form of a succession plan in place to address how matters related to your business should be handled after your death. An estate planning attorney can help you address some of these issues so that you can make sure these matters are taken care of and do not become the burden of your loved ones or business partners to sort through.

Situation #4 - You Want to Set Up a Trust to Provide for a Disabled Loved One

Another time you will want to hire an estate planning attorney is if you wish to set up a trust to provide for a loved one who is disabled. This is called a special needs trust, and there are certain rules that must be followed when creating this type of trust to ensure the beneficiary is able to get the maximum benefit of it. Your estate planning attorney will understand how a special needs trust must be structured and what distributions from the trust are allowed. One major benefit of creating a special needs trust is that it can be done in such a way that the disabled person does not have to forgo any government benefits that they are currently getting or may receive in the future. If you are considering a special needs trust, it is crucial to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure it is done properly.

Situation #5 - You Have Become Seriously Ill

If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or any type of illness that could lead to incapacitation or death, you should hire an estate planning attorney. Of course, you will want to have estate plans prepared for the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries; however, you may also wish to designate a power of attorney and have a document prepared to state your wishes regarding end of life care.

Ultimately, it is never too early to begin estate planning. Contact us today at (707) 867-0787 or fill out our online contact form to get started.

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