Wills vs. Trusts: Which Should You Choose?

Estate planning is a necessity for anyone with finances and property intended to pass on to another person or organization. How to plan your estate, however, is a larger question best answered by this fact: if you plan on leaving anything you own to beneficiaries, you will want to decide between using will or a trust – or potentially both. To help you make the most informed decision, here are wills and trusts explained:

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Red Flags When Purchasing a Home

Purchasing a home can present many issues that must be acknowledged beforehand in order to prevent future issues. While in the process of looking for a home to buy, there are a number of things to look out for financially, psychologically, and physically when viewing any potential home.

Red flags can give any homebuyer insight into whether the decision to purchase a specific home is worth it. Circumstances associated with both the selling party and the buying party can give some insight into the home itself.

Here are some red flags to look out for when purchasing a home: Continue reading

Different Types of Real Property Taxes and Fees

Taxes invade almost every aspect of our daily lives and property ownership is no exemption. When investing in such a large asset it is important to understand the different types of real property taxes and fees associated with the purchase. Although the process of buying a home is often handled by a real estate agent, it is important to know the ins and outs of each tax and fee associated with buying a property.


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5 Things to Think About: Choosing the Right Guardian for Your Child

Having children adds a new and extremely important dimension to your estate planning. You must designate a responsible guardian for your children while they are minors, in case you or your partner are no longer able to care for them. Choosing the right guardian for your child is one of the hardest and most important decisions you’ll ever make. Weighing the pros and cons of each family member and friend can be overwhelming. It is best to take a step back and thoroughly consider what matters the most in a guardian.

Here are 5 things that you should consider when deciding who to name as the guardian of your young children:

  1. Where does the potential guardian live?

You may assume that if you were to die, the guardian you have chosen will pack up their bags and move into the children’s home. That assumption is asking a lot from that individual. More likely, your children will move in with them.

Keeping this in mind, if your children will need to move somewhere far after losing you, they might have a m ore difficult transition. Not only will they have to adjust to a new place and a new home, but they will also have to adjust to a new school, making friends, and losing nearby relatives, favorite places, and familiar neighborhoods.

Make sure that the individual of choice lives in a city you feel would be a good fit for your children to grow up in and ideally is close to where your children are growing up now.

What do you know about the potential guardian’s parenting skills?

If the potential choice is already a parent, consider their parenting skills. Are they hands on with raising their children or do they rely on outside help? Find out how they discipline, educate, and support their own family.

If the individual is not yet a parent, then consider what you know about them and how they were raised. How a person grew up tends to greatly impact the parent they will become.

Your children may have trouble adjusting if the guardian you appoint for them has drastically different rules and expectations for their children than you have for yours.

  1. How old and healthy is the potential guardian?

 A younger guardian may be too involved in developing their own life and will not have the sufficient time to raise a family. On the other hand, a younger choice may have more energy and be more in touch with the latest parenting and education trends.

An older guardian will probably be more financially stable and have more time to be hands on with the children. However, it is possible that the children will still be minors while their new guardian starts to face aging health.

Regardless of age, ensure that they are physically and mentally able to accept the responsibility. They may be great as weekend babysitters, but having your kids permanently is a very different notion. Are they up to it?

  1. What’s the potential guardian’s financial situation?

Make sure you know how the potential guardian handles money, if they have a stable income, and if they have enough time to offer to your children.

It is important to know that the chosen individual can afford to raise your children the way that you would want and that they would not be overburdened with the extra time and financial expense needed.

  1. What’s the potential guardian’s views on education and religion?

Whether you insist on your kids being home schooled, privately educated, or publicly educated, it is important to find a guardian that is on the same page.

Consider their religious views and their values in life. It may be impossible to find a guardian that follows your exact political, religious, and overall views, but someone who has a higher amount of similarity is better than none.

If you have questions about appointing a proper guardian for your children, reach out to us today.

Our California estate planning attorneys help clients in Oxnard and the surrounding areas of Ventura County with a complete range of trust and estate services. We can help you figure out the best course of action for your estate and create a legally valid plan under California law. Call Lowthorp, Richards, McMillan, Miller & Templeman, APC today at (805) 981-8555 or contact us online for more information.

5 Things to Do When You Get an Inheritance

Receiving an inheritance from a family member may seem like a blessing, but sometimes it can feel like a curse. In the next three to four decades, $30 trillion will transfer from baby boomers to their heirs. A lump sum of money may seem like it will last you a lifetime, but most people go through it in just a couple of years. Continue reading

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