Estate planning assures that any person's final property and health care wishes are honored, and that their loved ones are provided for after they die. Regardless of your age or the worth of your assets, an estate plan answers the many questions that will inevitably arise upon your death: What assets do you own? Who gets what? Are there any outstanding debts? Does a guardian need to be appointed for minor children? How much tax will need to be paid in order to transfer property ownership? What are your wishes regarding a funeral and burial. Wills and Trusts are two tools used for Estate Planning. Mr. Hurlbutt is happy to assist you in determining whether a Will or Trust is most appropriate for your current situation, and upon your passing, which of these would ease the transition for survivors by transferring property quickly and avoiding many tax burdens.
Whenever a person dies, his or her assets need to be collected and accounted for, any debts paid, and the remaining assets distributed according to the decedent's estate plan or by the laws of intestate succession if the person has no Will or Trust. Probate is the process whereby the court reviews a Will for authenticity, allows others to make legal challenges to a Will, and orders the final distribution of the decedent's assets. Trust Administration also follows a legal process of distributing a person's assets, but one that is less formal than probate and generally not carried out through a court process unless disputes arise.
When an ill or elderly loved one needs to move to a care facility or nursing home, families are often confused about what options are available and how to pay for them. Attorney Hurlbutt can work with you to determine whether your loved one qualifies for Medi-Cal, and if not, determine whether he or she could qualify through the use of various methods of planning, such as creation of trusts, gifting, and spend down. As a member of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), Mr. Hurlbutt stays abreast of new developments in Long-Term Care Planning and Elder Law by attending conferences and seminars regularly, and he is acquainted with the care facilities in the Tulare/Kings Counties area. He takes time to listen to each client's specific situation, then explains the options in easy-to-understand terms.
A Conservatorship is a legal arrangement in which an adult oversees the personal care and/or financial matters of another adult considered incapable of managing alone. In California, Conservatorships must be formally established and ended by the court. Family members can petition the court for a Conservatorship in order to assist an incapacitated loved one. Sometimes family members may disagree with the way an appointed Conservator is handling things or they may object to a certain person being appointed for this job. Mr. Hurlbutt is experienced in handling any of these situations.
A Guardianship is a legal arrangement which gives an adult legal authority over a minor child. Parents should select a guardian for their minor children as part of their estate planning. This ensures that your children will be cared for by family members or friends you trust if you die. When no guardian is named, family members and/or friends may seek guardianship of a child.
Attorney James P. Hurlbutt is experienced in a variety of business matters, such as partnership and corporation formation, purchase and sale contracts.