F. Eric Saunders’ Areas of Legal Specializations
Given the difficulty and expense of Probate in California, we recommend to many of our clients that they have one or more trusts as part of their estate planning. But there are MANY different types of trusts available. Deciding which are right for your particular circumstance is the most difficult part of this process. Once that process is completed we use what we think is the best professional grade software available to aid in drafting your trust documents, thus helping to eliminate the possibility of human error of omission. Of course, no software is perfect either. So it is a combination of our education and experience, in conjunction with the software, that will help to create the best possible product for you.
After the issue of Trusts is settled we generally create a "Pour Over" Will, to cover properties that may be outside the Trust. In most cases, if the Trusts are as complete as they should be, then the Pour Over Will will be a relatively simple and straight forward document.
We will also help you to consider, and will draft for you if you wish, such other valuable documents as a "Living Will:, "Health Care Trusts:, and the like. In other words, we will provide you with a comprehensive "Estate Planning Package".
In addition to the Wills and Trusts, discussed above, there are many other aspects which you should consider along the way to planning for a secure future for yourself and your loved ones Our objective is to show you alternatives ad help you to decide you you can best use your money to help it grow and provide for the future.
I am not a Financial Planner. If we decide that you need one, I will steer you in that direct. But first, generally as a part of your estate planning process, we will take a look at your "big picture" to help you decide what resources you should be seeking.
As Justice Learned Hand wrote, "a transaction ... does not lose its immunity, because it is actuated by a desire to avoid ... taxation. Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes." Put another way, it is often said that tax evasion is a crime, while legally avoiding taxes is practically a duty. We all have to pay taxes, but we also have to make many decisions that may have either good or bad tax consequences. Our job is to alert you to these issues and to help you make these decisions.
It will be of interest to some clients that my wife, Gail Lee, is an Enrolled Agent* who has her own practice here (Gail's Taxes). Although, of course, our practices are completely separate, it might be valuable to sit down with us both so that your tax planning can be evaluated simultaneously from both perspectives.
In the trying time after the loss of a loved one it may be your responsibility to act as Executor or Administrator of the Estate. In such cases, we act as YOUR representative (not, in most cases, as the representative of the Estate) to make sure that you know what to do, and do it right - in order to avoid the very real possibility of personal liability for any mistakes. We are acutely aware of how difficult this may be for you, and we do our best to aid you through this process. We follow the accepted practice of generally charging according to the value of the Estate.
Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Protection of Trade Secrets, IP Portfolio Management, and Contracts relating to any of these: I spent a large portion of my career in this field representing clients including Apple, I.B.M., Hewlett Packard, 3Com, Phoenix Microsystems and many others. Of course, there is not so much call for an IP lawyer in Calaveras County as there is in Silicon Valley - but if you need one I am here. I offer free consultations to anyone who thinks they may have an IP issue.
* Enrolled Agent Information (from the IRS)
"An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns, or through experience as a former IRS employee. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards. Individuals who obtain this elite status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years."