23041 Mill Creek Drive
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Phone: (949) 855-
Fax: (949) 380-
Making a difference, one client at a time.
Beck & Christian, APC
You may need to ask yourself a few questions to understand the way an estate plan may benefit your situation. Have you taken any measures to ensure your family is supported after you’re gone? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Are you wanting to pass wealth and assets to your children or grandchildren, or are you wanting to leave a charitable donation to a specific organization?
These are sensitive issues that require deep consideration. These decisions involve more than just deciding who will get the family’s antiques. You will not only need to make decisions about the distribution of your assets, you will also need to decide how debts are settled, taxes are paid, and how and when the assets will be transferred to your heirs.
By giving forethought to these important matters, you can greatly reduce the stress placed on family members during an emotional time. This planning can also help your heirs handle the unexpected burden of gift and estate taxes. Because our law firm is highly experienced in taxation matters, we may be able to help you and your heirs substantially reduce taxes, legal expenses and court fees.
With advanced estate planning, the attorneys at Beck & Christian, APC can evaluate your situation and create a plan that benefits you while you are alive and also secures your legacy for successive generations. Because relationships and circumstances can change, an estate plan needs to be revisited annually.
When a person passes away without first establishing a last will and testament, their estate is processed following the laws of intestate succession. As part of the Probate Code, this is not a private process. Records are viewable by the public.
Often, people mistakenly believe that when a person dies without a will the assets are taken by the state. This is not a common occurrence because the laws of intestate succession require property be transferred to living relatives first. Any person remotely connected to you may be considered as one of your heirs.
The state follows a prescribed method when locating relatives. It will reach out to your spouse and children, your parents and grandparents, and uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, great uncles and great aunts, their children, etc. There are provisions to account for adoption, half relatives, and stepparents. In addition, the intestate succession laws set guidelines when intentional harm is involved. The person who is responsible for your demise is restricted from receiving a share in your estate.
Because your assets will be processed after your death, it is essential for you to create a will so that you have a say in directing what happens.
Because a trust has many advantages, it can be a valuable estate planning tool. Persons at every income level may benefit by creating a trust as an efficient way to manage assets. A trust generally reduces costs that are associated with settling a deceased person’s estate. In California, estates of deceased persons usually go through probate.
Probate is usually a costly, time-
A trust can help you gain the peace you need for your loved ones after you are gone. Persons with significant assets can reduce estate taxes by utilizing trusts strategically. Having a trust can also reduce taxes for your beneficiaries at the time of the inheritance.
If you wish to keep your estate records private, you will benefit from a trust. With a trust, your estate can avoid the probate process altogether, thereby shielding private information about you and your beneficiaries from the public eye.
A business succession plan should be established when the business is first beginning. At the business formation stage, it is not uncommon for business owners to reject the idea of their business dissolving or transferring to a new owner. However, strong leadership requires a business owner to plan for all sorts of challenges in order for the company to be successful.
What would happen to your business if you were unexpectedly not able to participate due to death or incapacity? Who would make critical decisions on the future of operations? In what ways would this affect your family or business partners? An experienced business succession lawyer can help you identify strategic goals for your business enterprise.
Planning for the future is a critical component of any business plan. Maybe selling the business is part of your plan. Or, you may want to have family members run it. As the founder or owner of the business, you have the opportunity to identify effective future leaders who can take over operations and bring the business to the next level.
A business succession plan takes into account future ownership and management opportunities. With this knowledge, you can establish requisite training models to ensure the succession pipeline contains highly qualified personnel to carry on your business values.
While an attorney is not required for the trust administration process, the skills of an experienced trust administration lawyer can be invaluable during this time. After a death, the trustee must perform numerous activities which are detailed in the terms of the trust.
A trustee is legally bound to fulfill their obligations while maintaining fiduciary duty. This means a trustee cannot step outside the trust for personal gain with any of the trust’s assets. Because many trustees are not experienced at handling assets and financial accounts, the trustee may unknowingly violate the law. Trustees may face legal action if a breach of trust is involved.
A trust administration attorney can oversee the entire process of distributing the trust’s assets. This involves coordinating with executors, managing assets, settling creditor claims, paying taxes. Trust administration includes extensive paperwork to detail the transfer of assets and create an accurate trust accounting.
Having an experience lawyer involved ensures the trust is administered properly while minimizing the potential for legal challenges to the trustee. The family of the decedent and other beneficiaries may also feel relieved knowing a knowledgeable legal professional is effectively handling the matter.
In California, the executor keeps the estate’s assets safe during the probate process. The executor must ensure appropriate maintenance and insurance needs are met for properties. Inheritances, including monetary accounts and real property, must be safeguarded from damage or theft.
The executor can also look for ways to retain additional wealth for beneficiaries. In certain situations, reporting expenses or casualty losses on specific tax returns may be advantageous. Tax savings may also be applicable to the surviving spouse on whether taxes are filed jointly or independently.
Our probate administration attorneys have decades of experience guiding clients through the probate process and helping families with the complex unexpected challenges that can arise at this time. We can help you understand your rights so you can make informed decisions which benefit your interests.
Often the best way to preserve the assets of an estate involve avoiding the probate process entirely. By creating an advanced estate plan, you can maximize the preservation of your wealth for future generations. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you customize a plan for your unique situation.
Should the unexpected take place, a comprehensive business succession plan should set forth a clear and concise roadmap to enable the company to continue with normal operating procedures seamlessly.
However, absent the existence of a business succession plan, your company becomes vulnerable to costly and extensive litigation that could result in its dissolution and financial insolvency. Litigation may arise as the result of confusion over who should take over running the business and future operations. Litigation may take place between partners and family members who have differing opinions about the company’s future, or amongst the family members themselves.
Family relationships often become strained and arguments over who should run the business and how it should be run may lead to litigation and the permanent severance of ties within the family itself.
Failure to have a skilled attorney who does not possess an in-
By taking a proactive stance and retaining an experienced lawyer to draft your business succession plan, you are drastically reducing the likelihood that your company will have to close its door because of tax issues or litigation between the involved parties.
The simple answer is no – you should never attempt to draft your own business succession plan.
Because there are several highly complex issues pertaining to Business Law, Estate Planning and Tax Laws, it is imperative that you do not attempt to do this without the guidance and experience of exceptionally experienced lawyers.
While there are countless books, articles and websites that provide instruction detailing how to draft a business succession plan, doing so could wreak havoc on your company and bankrupt both the business and your family.
At Beck & Christian, our lawyers possess extensive experience with business succession planning and know how to incorporate tax strategies designed to protect your business from outrageously high local, state and federal tax liabilities. A Board Certified Expert in Estate Planning Law and Tax Law, Attorney Greg Beck has been successfully helping clients in Laguna Hills and throughout Southern California for more than 40 years.
Our skilled, highly knowledgeable lawyers understand the intricacies of Estate Planning and Taxation, and how they impact business succession planning. We also understand the ramifications of individuals attempting to draft a business plan on their own, and they typically result in financial ruin and the dissolution of the business.
If you are a small business owner or oversee a closely held company, you want to take every step possible to guarantee that your company remains a going concern beyond your leadership.
Please contact an attorney at Beck & Christian today by phone at (949) 855-
In order to safeguard your company’s future and protect both business and family assets, an enforceable business succession plan should be highly detailed and take a number of factors into account.
Additionally, it should include the following:
Whether you are a new business owner or have been in business for years, a well-
The best time to set up a business succession plan is during the business formation process. By drafting a comprehensive succession plan as soon as possible, you vastly reduce the likelihood of the business dissolving and help ensure a smooth transfer of ownership and power.
Because life is unpredictable, having a business succession plan in place from the formation stage provides peace of mind because it sets forth how the business will be operated and structured should the unexpected take place.
Unfortunately, many business owners fail to execute a succession plan due to the belief that retirement won’t take place for years, if not decades. This approach may cause significant harm, resulting in a disastrous outcome for the company, other partners if applicable, and family members who are either involved in day to day operations or have a financial stake in the business.
Therefore, it is essential that you begin working closely with an experienced and skilled Business Succession Planning attorney immediately. Creating a comprehensive succession plan with an eye towards the future is a strategic part of business ownership that should be addressed upon formation.
For answers to all of your business succession planning questions, please contact Laguna Hills Attorneys Beck & Christian online or by calling (949) 855-
While it is important for all businesses to have a succession plan in place, it is especially crucial when dealing with small, family-
Failure to have an enforceable, comprehensive business succession plan in place should the owner retire, or the unexpected take place, may result in numerous problems and disputes that may cause the company’s demise and shattered relationships amongst family members.
If there are additional owners involved, the lack of a succession plan more often than not typically results in disputes that will negatively impact the company’s future viability. Without a formal arrangement in place beforehand, events could take place that would thoroughly deplete your company’s assets, leaving it insolvent.
Additionally, due to complex taxation issues, you run the risk of the business being lost due to high estate taxes. When drafted properly, all of these issues can be avoided thereby allowing for a seamless transition of ownership, allowing the business to continue successful operations.
For additional information about creating a comprehensive business succession plan, please contact an attorney at Beck & Christian who is a Board Certified Expert in both Estate Planning and Tax Law. Call (949) 855-
A Business Succession Plan is an Estate Planning tool that is utilized to determine how a family business or closely held company should continue operations if the company owner retires, becomes either mentally or physically incapacitated, or passes away.
In these situations, the succession plan will set forth who will take over daily business operating procedures, transfer ownership, or set forth procedures and guidelines for sale of the business.
If the business has multiple owners, a business success plan may be used to determine whether the other owners are going to purchase the retired, incapacitated or deceased’s interest in the company, and if so, how the funds will be disbursed.
Additionally, a well-
The primary goal is to set forth guidelines that will allow the company to continue normal business operations during a transitional period, while simultaneously benefiting the individuals involved as well as safeguarding the company. They are designed to reduce the likelihood of in-
Finally, the succession plan should clearly lay out conflict resolution solutions should in-
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as legal advice. You should not act or fail to act based on the information on this website. This website contains general information only, and may not reflect recent changes to the law. All cases differ – please contact an attorney in your area to get legal advice as it pertains to your case. Attorneys Gregory Beck and Stephen Christian are licensed to practice law in the State of California.
Download PDF of