Gianesin Law Firm

Introduction To Estate Planning Attorney Bryan Gianesin In California

Key Takeaways:

  • Bryan Gianesin is a Newport Beach, CA estate planning attorney with transactional business law experience, licensed to practice law in California.
  • Attorney Gianesin differentiates himself from other estate planning attorneys by aiming to prioritize communication with clients and offering clear, straightforward, and fixed fee pricing for estate planning services.
  • One of the main purposes of this book is to inform people that estate planning is for everyone, and to offer an accessible guide to what estate planning is and how it works.
  • There are many types of trusts, including revocable, irrevocable, special-needs trusts and common trusts, that can help you distribute assets in a way that is most helpful to your beneficiaries.

Hello, my name is Bryan Gianesin. I’m an estate planning attorney in Newport Beach, California. I’m licensed to practice law in the state of California, and was originally admitted to the California State Bar in 1986. I’ve been practicing law in Orange County, California for over 36 years.

I was trained as a transactional lawyer, which means I that I handled business transactions, contracts, and business operating agreements, such as licensing agreements, employment and consulting agreements and things like that. While working as a transactional attorney, I often had clients come to me seeking help with their estate plans. At the time, I had no experience with estate planning, so I referred them out to other estate planning lawyers.

However, time and time again, my clients that I referred out, would report back to me with the same problems. While the available estate planning attorneys were great at handling the tax issues related to estate planning, they were not as great at two crucial skills: communicating with the clients, and giving clients an idea of their approach to estate planning, from a more practical cost-oriented point of view.

To understand these issues, you have to understand that most estate planning attorneys don’t give clients a fixed fee or fixed quote for the preparation of their estate plans, as many other types of attorneys do for some of their services. Rather, they tend to have ongoing fees associated with an estate plan and the subsequent administration of that plans during a client’s life. Clients were becoming confused, frustrated, and sometimes angry because of these ongoing fees, because they didn’t really understand why they were being billed for continued work. Like you, I don’t like hidden or unknown fees and costs, so I strive to offer clients a fixed fee quote in most cases.

This is why I decided to enter into the estate planning world with an eye toward creating a straightforward, simple, and understandable approach to estate planning.

Specifically, I set out to stay away from what many estate planning attorneys were doing (and what some still do today): over-selling clients on more sophisticated and complex estate planning tools, which might be unnecessary for most of them, and then continuing to bill them for the administration of those complex tools within their estate for the rest of their life.

Instead, my goal was to be straight with clients about what they actually needed and what I was actually doing. Furthermore, I set out to offer more exact pricing. I did this by establishing a service model in which—once we get an idea of what your estate looks like, and then establish what type of estate plan we will build for you—our firm can give you a fixed fee so that you know exactly what the estate plan is going to cost you upfront. This means no more unpleasant surprises when it comes to estate plan billing—and nobody likes surprise bills from lawyers, especially if they’re billing hourly.

In writing this book, I want to help people understand that an estate plan is essential for everyone, from people who don’t have many assets, to the people who have a substantial amount of assets. There is a misconception among the general public that estate planning is only for those that have high-value assets. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, the primary purpose of estate planning is to direct how and when important life matters will be placed in control of a third party, who is not a Court, but rather is someone who you choose to represent you. The second purpose of estate planning is to give both sentimentally and economically valuable assets to the people that you want them to go to, in the manner in which you want the items to go to them, and with whatever restrictions that you want to be placed on them. In many situations, it’s best not to give a large sum of money to your heirs, rather give them smaller amounts until a future defined age or event.

The whole purpose of this book is to educate you on the basics of estate planning, to allow you to understand what documents are associated with estate planning, and to encourage you to engage a qualified estate planning attorney to prepare your plan for the future.

[ A SIDE NOTE: You’ve heard the phrase, “you get what you pay for,” and this is especially true with the low-ball trust mills or legal web sites that will prepare your “estate plan” for what seems like a total bargain. Typically, these attorneys or web sites only prepare the basics, a trust and will, (our estate plans usually have about 22 different documents per couple) and having seen so many incomplete and poorly drafted documents from these sources, I can assure you that many of these documents will end up in probate court with mandatory fees and costs, or in a fight among beneficiaries. Do yourself a favor, don’t jeopardize your hard-earned assets to a legal vending machine, do it right! Hire a qualified estate planning attorney to avoid probate court and beneficiary squabbles.]

This book is about estate planning—but for everybody. This book is for individuals who don’t have a partner. This book is for newly married couples who have just gotten together and are potentially combining their assets. This book is for couples with children, either newborns or older ones, who may one day be the recipients of the assets from your estate. This book is for seniors who have grown children. All of those scenarios require a well thought out estate plan.

This book is also for those people, both young and old, who may have children with special needs. What do I mean by that? A special-needs person is a person that may be the recipient of government assistance, either state or federal (i.e., housing, medical benefits or any other benefits) because they are disabled in some way.

Special-needs people have unique estate planning needs, as they may encounter unique problems if an estate is planned poorly (or not at all). For example, if a special-needs person becomes a beneficiary of an estate and receives a large sum of cash, all of their benefits may terminate. Benefits for special-needs people often have an income cutoff, and receiving a large cash inheritance will often tip a person over that income cutoff. A special-needs person may be on Medi-Cal or Medicare and may be living in some sort of Section 8 or federally subsidized housing, and may therefore need continued assistance from the state or federal government to survive. However, if that person suddenly received a large amount of money through inheritance, those benefits may be in danger of being cancelled.

For those cases, we can utilize something called a “special needs trust”, which is a trust that protects a special-needs person’s right to those federal benefits without jeopardizing them. It gives a third party—referred to as a trustee—the right to dispense the funds in the trust according to the terms of the state and federal laws—i.e., in a way that does not result in the person losing their benefits.

A special needs trust can also be used for someone who may be mentally competent and able to do things but has a bad relationship with money. By that, I mean, they don’t know the first thing about managing money, about saving money, and to give them a large amount of money in a lump sum is a big mistake. We want to give them enough money to do things with their life, but to also set up provisions for the management and control of those funds. This way, the financially irresponsible person doesn’t receive a large lump-sum and lose it accidentally.

Having practiced this sort of law for over 36 years, I can tell you exactly how it goes when someone financially irresponsible receives a large lump sum from an inheritance. they get several things:

Right away, they usually get new toys. Maybe they get a new house, and maybe they get a new car. They also get a lot of new friends, and suddenly all of that money that was left to them is gone—all because they didn’t have the wherewithal to manage the funds.

In situations like that, with a financially irresponsible party, we can set up what we call a “common trust”. This basically means that person will receive income from the trusts but doesn’t have the right to control the principal, nor do creditors have the right to access the principal. In other words, the person who is the beneficiary doesn’t own those proceeds of the trust. They only get the right to income.

When I talk about special needs trusts, those are two of the most common types of trusts to which I am usually referring. There are similar types of trusts that I can create depending upon the needs of the child or even the adults involved, but the ones described here are by far the most common.

As an illustration of how this plays out in my daily practice, I’ll give you an example from a current client. I’m working on something right now for an couple in their 80s with children in their 60s. They want to create a retirement plan which will give their children assets and distributions of income over a period of time, and not all at once. We are working with them to set up exactly the configuration and the restrictions that meet the needs of their estate and their children. Understanding estate planning is an important thing, because it was what got the couple in their 80s in to see me, rather than leaving it up to Probate Court or a legal documents web site.

For more information on Estate Planning Attorney Bryan Gianesin in CA, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (949) 287-8884 today.

Gianesin Law Firm

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Legal Disclaimer: All information in this document is meant to be general and educational in nature only and should not be relied upon as legal, business, or tax advice for your specific situation. Most discussions refer to laws and regulations as applied to a California corporation or other entity and these can vary by location, as can other factors in certain situations within California. It is always best to consult with an experienced business attorney before taking any action. This material is copyrighted. Any replication, use of, or any discussion as a result of these articles violated copyright law and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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