What is Stalling your Will and Trust? A Typically Topical Talk from the San Diego Living Trust Lawyer

I. The number one excuse to delay your estate plan is that

Your Family is Crazy.


It’s the lunatic non-fringe that delays estate planning.

You wills and trusts lawyer in sunny San Diego is sorry to say it, but your family is crazy. They all are. As a matter of fact, the word “family” derives from the Latin, insanit et familiae (literally: “insane is family”). Due to a typically-brief Roman lifespan that  favored conciseness, it was colloquially shortened to familiaea (before simply becoming “family” in the modern tongue).[1]

Over four decades of estate planning experience, your living trust attorneys in San Diego have witnessed many changes to the wills and trusts field.

Yet, the fact that your family’s whack has been a constant feature of San Diego estate planning law. The problem craziness creates is that it begs the question: who do you appoint to carry out your wishes?  Who will manage your will, living trust, power of attorney and advance health care directive, the docs your faithful estate planning lawyer puts together?

II. Get Your Estate Plan Started and Why Keanu Reeves Matters


Hi, I’d like to set an appointment for my family’s living trust. 8am? Anything earlier? I’m up at 5 and ready to go!

When you call your estate planning lawyer, he’ll explain with line-by-line instruction what you need to get your living trust started. There isn’t any guesswork.

There are many taxing tasks in the estate planning client’s life: sealing supposedly re-sealable bags bought in Costco-sized bulk, knotting the Windsor necktie knot (not to mention non-clip-on bowties), selecting the best ice cream flavor… but the living trust attorney call to kickstart the process isn’t one of them.

Yet, Alas! Your estate planning lawyer cannot do it all. It’s up to you, the estate planning client to assign the “functionaries” to carry out your estate plan (if you are incapacitated or upon death), including a successor trustee to administer your trust, executor of your will, attorney in fact (holder of power of attorney) and agent for your health care directive.

In assigning these roles (and despite herself), the living trust client routinely looks first to insanitae familiaea. 

Read More: Who’s Who in the Estate Plan: Who’ll Manage Your Trust When You’re Gone

Now before it moves on, your living trust attorney blog brings you this moment from blockbuster film history:

Though not as thrilling as seen In the above seminal scene from the now-twenty-year-old(!) flick, Speed (twenty years–how time flies with such, ahem speed) selecting one’s fiduciary (entrusted) peeps for the estate plan likewise begs the question

What do you do? What do you do?!

III. Choosing Who You Trust for the Revocable Living Trust

Thus, the estate planning client wonders:

Whom do I appoint to respectively carry out my will, living trust, power of attorney and advance health care directive?
My nutty sister, Sue or slightly-less-nutty brother, Bo?
Bonkers Aunt Bea or Goofy Uncle Gary? [2]

And a litany of others from the rogues gallery we call family.

Gasp! Is this estate planning dilemma insoluble?
No! Read on, Living Trust Attorney Blog Reader!

IV. The Estate Plan and Arnold Schwarzenegger: Why there are only two choices.

The estate planning client has stalled upon the question: whom does he assign to handle finances when he is incapacitated & upon death? The San Diego living trust lawyer boils it down to two choices:

1. Put it off.

You’d rather not decide the lesser of “evils.”  In casual conversation, you mutter,

A living trust?  Yeah, I gotta get one of those. 

San Diego Wills and Trusts Lawyer Asaph Abrams cites the case of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Does Ah-nuld have an Estate Plan? You betcha.  Even if you have non-Schwarzennegarian-level assets (but have a modest home and financial affairs to manage), you need an estate plan.

And then… it never comes to be. But, God forbid, something happens. Then what?

Who will manage your financial affairs and health care if you cannot? Who will inherit (and who will not)? Who will manage your estate when you’re gone? Whom do you prefer to care for your kids? 

Do you reckon the State should answer all that? Listen to me now, believe me later: even the Austrian Oak, governator emeritus sworn to the Golden State wouldn’t stand for it. Nein!! Nimmer! Cali-fonia vill not deciiide!

The passive approach won’t do, no it won’t. Not having an estate plan will leave your loved ones with undue confusion and costs that will compound their grief.

You could argue that that would be their own fault… it’s THEIR insanity that stymied your trust. Or you could stop being silly and rationally choose option 2, which is:

2. You deal

In the end, you must decide… to decide. You’ll go with slightly-less-nutty brother. Or not. But choosing nothing instead of something ideal is throwing out the estate-plan baby with the crazy-family water.

We live with uncertainty. What if you make the wrong choice?  Well, my friend: you are going to take that risk and rest assured: what we create are living, breathing estate planning instruments. The revocable living trust is, well revocable. And amendable. If cuckoo-sister Sue someday gets a clue, you can accordingly revisit your living trust at low cost.

Estate planning lawyer Asaph Abrams: on making choices for one's estate plan.

Now you know what to do, San Diego: get your living trust started.

There you go. Crazy family is here to stay. But so is the need to plan your future today (and pray that slightly-less-nutty brother or regular-nutty sister see the light).

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our San Diego Wills and Trusts Attorney, Asaph Abrams:


The more cunning of linguists might posit that this theory is blatantly false.
Disclaimer (say it über rapidly like the radio admen do): the attorneys at the Law Office of Asaph Abrams specialize in estate planning: wills and living trusts. As to etymology of Indo-European languages, opinions may possibly be purely speculative flights of estate planning lawyer fancy.

Apologies to all Sues, Bos, Beas and Garys. Ed.

Photo Credit (Arnold Schwarzenegger): Bob Doran; Creative Commons usage. Photo Credit (Keanu Reeves): GabboTMan of Tai Chi 07 CC BY-SA 2.0.

Top 5 Reasons you HAVE to have a living trust (and estate plan)

When the topic of a will or trust comes up, the stock answer for the non-estate-planner is…

A trust? Oh yeah, I gotta get one of those.

It’s understandable enough: who wants to talks trusts? But, here’s the deal and I won’t beat around the bush: it would be wrong NOT to sell you on this stuff. Let’s break it down into five easy pieces.

Estate planning attorney, Asaph Abrams

1. If You Own a Home, You HAVE to Have a Trust…. Because Brad Pitt Says So.

Well, sort of– read on. See, sometimes the choice IS that simple.  If you have a home, you have to have a trust.  This living trust rule begins (of course) with… Brad Pitt.

Brad Pitt’s a man’s man.  Guys wanna be like him, women wanna be with him.  Now, you’re not exactly like him: he’s better looking and more wealthy than you.  But, you can at least do as Brad does in this case– by getting a living trust (I don’t represent Brad, but I guarantee you he has a living trust).  And you don’t need to be rich (or good looking) to need a trust.

If you own a home worth, say $500,000 and it’s NOT transferred to a trust, then your heirs will inherit that home less costs easily in excess of $25,000!

This is because without a trust, the property must pass through probate, a process that exacts exorbitant fees taken out of the asset.  Moreover, without a trust, transfer of the property (change of title) would easily take a year’s-plus time.

To complete our shameless exploitation of celebrity, we return to Brad Pitt’s recitation of the Rules of Fight Club (from the nihilistic cult film of the same name).

In a basement scene, Brad intones that the First Rule of Fight Club is, “You do not talk about Fight Club.”  In case you sensed a loophole, the Second Rule of Fight Club is “You do not TEXT about Fight Club.” There’s more, like the Sixth Rule (“No shirts, no shoes, no suspenders, no neckties.”) before we reach the Eighth and Final Rule of Fight Club:

“If it’s your first time at Fight Club… you HAVE to fight.”

And, of course, it’s that exact concept that applies to your home:

“If you have a home… you HAVE to have a trust.”

Wills and Trusts attorney, Asaph Abrams

2. Getting a Trust Isn’t About YOU!  It’s About Your Loved Ones or: Headless Chickens are Bad.

Procrastination rules!  But as much as it’s precious, life is unpredictable and we can’t ignore our mortality.

An estate plan provides for more than just a trust to shield your home from costs of probate: it spells out your wishes so that your loved ones aren’t left burdened by questions. 

Face it: leaving loved ones behind without instruction can compound the devastation of loss.  We mustn’t be remembered for procrastination.  Without an estate plan in place (including a living trust), grieving heirs will be left to worry, wonder and run like chickens without heads.  Don’t let headless chickens be your legacy.

And you wanna know something else? Heirs won’t just be headless: they’ll be… angry.  When they should be permitted to focus on remembrance, they’ll be consumed instead by logistics and uncertainty. That’s not a cool way to leave things.  Be cool.

Estate planning attorney Asaph Abrams says be cool.

I don’t mean Fonzie-cool or anything: I mean be cool by being forward-thinking.

3. An Estate Plan Affects You During Your Lifetime!

Allow me to correct your morbid assumptions.  Estate planning doesn’t just concern handling of property after death.  Along with a living trust, estate planning includes a durable general power of attorney If you’re living, but temporarily incapacitated, a power of attorney appoints someone to take over your financial affairs.  Again, don’t go beheading chickens.

4. An Estate Plan Carries Out Your Health Care Wishes.  Just ask George Clooney.A living trust package incorporates an advanced health care directive

I can’t promise he’ll answer, but read on.

A durable general power of attorney appoints persons to handle financial affairs.  An estate plan also includes an Advance Health Care Directive, which appoints persons to make your health care choices, when you cannot (due to incapacity).

In The Descendants, a film from 2011, a cuckolded Clooney’s comatose wife has an advance health care directive providing that extraordinary measures should not be taken to prolong her life.  An advance health care directive will spell out your preferences. So even if you’ve cheated on George Clooney, you’ll still get your way: he won’t override your wishes.

5. An Estate Plan Is Easy and Cheap (and what’s better than easy and cheap)?
10433785_10203684170177697_6907847438645138810_nSounds tacky, but really that’s the bottom line.  An Estate Plan, including a living trust, will, power of attorney and advance health care directive saves money, time and uncertainty.  It’s a no brainer.  If you think it’s costly, you’re wrong.  Attorney fees are flat and limited.  If you think it’s hard, you’re wrong.  An estate planning attorney will give you step-by-step instruction.

An Estate Plan Cannot Wait.

By the Law Office of Asaph Abrams, estate planning specialists.
The Law Office of Asaph Abrams and Of Counsel, Ronald F Woods: offering free, no-obligation consultations in San Diego.

Photo credits: Brad Pitt by Stemoc CC BY 2.0; George Clooney by Angela George CC BY-SA 3.0; Photo of Henry Winkler as Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli is in the public domain; Family photos by Robin’s Nest Photography.

Just Do It: the Swoosh of Estate Planning

Why We Do it: Estate Planning (namely, a Revocable Living Trust and/or your Durable General Power of AttorneyAdvance Health Care Directive and Last Will and Testament) saves time and money: as simple as that. A Will and/or a Revocable Living Trust removes uncertainty that family and friends would otherwise face.  If you don’t need a trust (due to limited assets and/or lack of heirs), you’ll still desire a Living Estate Package including a Durable General Power of Attorney, Advance Healthcare Directive and Last (but not least!) Will and Testament. It’s natural to delay when it comes to writing a will or trust.  Who (in their right mind) wishes to consider their own incapacity and passing from this world?  But… It’s important to think of estate planning in terms of the people you leave behind.Estate planning (wills and trusts) attorney Asaph Abrams points to the positive point that estate planning is for family and friends.

Our low-fee & stress-free estate planning includes a Revocable Living Trust that makes inheritance fast and simple. A living trust avoids probate (a court proceeding, which costs survivors tens-of-thousands of bucks, then takes a solid year to conclude); and (either with- or with-out a living trust), your Durable General Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, HIPPA Disclosure Form + Last Will and Testament free your beneficiaries from being forced to guess at your wishes

What We’re About: Asaph Abrams and Of Counsel, Ronald F Woods are established San Diego residents and estate-planning attorneys.  Their work is informed by their commitment to community and family.  Through low-cost creation of hundreds of estate plans, we have helped save clients’ loved ones from damaging loss of resources: i.e. precious time and hard-earned money.  We’ve spared survivors calamitous grief caused by uncertainty in the absence of an estate plan.  By writing your individual or family Living Trust, your Last Will and Testament and Power of Attorney, we ensure your family will know your wishes.

We offer a free consultation to explain how estate planning (the Revocable Living Trust and/or your Durable General Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, HIPPA disclosure & Last Will and Testament) will benefit you (and those you care for).  This isn’t a bloated mill-type machine, occupied by so-called wills and trusts attorneys, associate automatons putting on off-putting airs.  You are not pressured with time-share-type sales tactics at a wills and trusts seminar; you aren’t solicited by pre-sorted mail, indifferently treated as a face (or number) in the crowd.  Because we care for your legacy as a person, our estate planning job is tailored to your wants and needs. Here you will find in your wills and trusts attorney an approachable, personable and conscientious advocate.

Wills and trusts attorney Asaph Abrams on the impetus to plan the estate

The Goddess Nike (photo credit: Maxfield, used under Creative Commons)