Apr / 10

What Families Should Know About Special Needs Trusts and Other Estate Planning Documents with Jill Hiraizumi-Artino and Peilin Ngo [IEP 023]

IEPcontent Podcast 0

Many believe that estate planning is something only wealthy families or the elderly should worry about, but that’s simply not true. There are many types of estate planning documents that help protect families of all sizes and procedures that guide the various needs of families, including special needs trusts, limited conservatorships, and trust creation.

We’re joined by estate planning attorneys Jill Hiraizumi-Artino and Peilin Ngo as they discuss some of the most important legal documents families should consider creating.

Full show transcript at the bottom of this post.

What We Cover in This Episode:

  • The importance of being proactive as opposed to reactive when it comes to estate planning
  • Why and when should families consider creating an estate plan?
  • What legal documents anyone past the age of 18 should have in place
  • What a special needs trust is and when is it used
  • Limited conservatorships, what they cover, and when they’re needed
  • How you can anticipate a future amendment to an already-formed trust
  • What the typical length of the probate process takes

Resources Mentioned:

California Probate Code Section 1420

Contact Information:

www.hn-legal.com

Phone: (949)5342575

Thank you for listening!

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This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matters, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.

 Full Show Transcript

Vickie Brett:                      Welcome to the Inclusive Education Project, I’m Vickie Brett.

Amanda Selogie:              I’m Amanda Selogie.

Vickie Brett:                      We’re two civil rights lawyers on a mission.

Amanda Selogie:              To change the conversation about education, civil rights, and modern activism.

Vickie Brett:                      Each week, we’re gonna explore new topics, which are going to educate and empower others.

Amanda Selogie:              And give them a platform to enact change.

Vickie Brett:                      In education.

Amanda Selogie:              And level the playing field.

Vickie Brett:                      Hey everyone, how are you doing, this is Vickie. I don’t know why I’m starting with my name.

Amanda Selogie:              I felt like you were talking to people like there was an audience here. Is this a live recording?

Vickie Brett:                      Oh, like, as if … No. Not yet. But, wait, what?

Amanda Selogie:              I was just gonna say, we are in our new recording studio. Oh, yeah. Well, it is new, if it sounds new. Hopefully it doesn’t sound too echoey. But we set up a new office for the Inclusive Education Project with our new little recording studio, so it’s a little more homey now. So, that’s fun.

Vickie Brett:                      I literally thought you were talking about just being in front of an audience, and I was like, I don’t understand what’s happening. It’s Friday. This is what’s happening.

You can tell we prepared so well for this week’s episode, because I had no idea what she was talking about.

Amanda Selogie:              No, I did … The way you opened it up, it was almost like, hey, because there’s an audience in front of us. I mean, there is an audience of two in front of us, but it made it seem like we were on stage, and you were talking to millions of people. Because, I mean, maybe that’ll happen one day. I don’t know.

Vickie Brett:                      I’m not sure, but yes, we have a very special episode today. We always say that, I always say that. I thought we were gonna do a little bit more spiel about it being almost close to Easter weekend, we’re full swing into things, but let’s just get into it. We have very good friends of ours, and colleagues, of ours, Jill and Palin, say hello to everybody.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Hi, everyone.

Peilin Ngo:                         Hi.

Vickie Brett:                      So, you guys have a law firm together. What is the name of that law firm?

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Well, we are Hiraizumi and Ngo. So I am Jill Hiraizumi-Artino.

Peilin Ngo:                         And I’m Peilin Ngo.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    So we got really creative, and combined our last names together.

Amanda Selogie:              Look, that’s how it’s done in the profession. We have Selogie and Brett, so, you know … Don’t knock it.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Right.

Amanda Selogie:              Right. It’s been, how long has legal profession had firm names named after partners?

Peilin Ngo:                         Exactly. And actually, it took us about half a year to come to that. To come to Hiraizumi & Ngo, because we first said, we want to do something creative, we tried to make up words and we tried to use different words, and it just wasn’t authentic, it wasn’t us. And it wasn’t what we wanted to … The brand that we wanted to convey to people. So after going around in circles saying, we don’t want to do Hiraizumi & Ngo, it was tried and true.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Yeah.

Vickie Brett:                      I’m gonna come back to this, because we really need to start working now. You guys have now had your own law firm for how many years now?

Peilin Ngo:                         As of five days ago we just celebrated our two year anniversary.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Oh, my gosh. Two years.

Amanda Selogie:              Happy anniversary.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Thank you.

Peilin Ngo:                         Thank you.

Vickie Brett:                      We actually met each other, obviously we went to the same law school. And Jill and I had run into each other while we were both at Core, and that was when you were kind of thinking about starting your own firm, and there’s a lot of crossover between the area of law that we do, and the area of law that Jill and Peilin do, and that’s why we wanted to have you guys on the pod.

Do you want to kind of give everybody a rundown, Peilin, of what it is that you guys do?

Peilin Ngo:                         So, our firm mainly focuses on estate planning. We generally handle everything in the probate court, so that’s anywhere from conservatorship over the person, over the estate, to trust, probate litigation. Probate administration, also trust administration, and estate planning, wills and trusts.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    So that’s our bread and butter, estate planning.

Peilin Ngo:                         Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amanda Selogie:              That’s awesome. I know that a lot … We’ve talked very briefly about, there’s a lot of crossovers between what we do and looking at the family dynamic and how it’s important to really have families be prepared. We tell parents, I think we’ve breached on it before, like about limited conservatorship for families when they’re planning for their special needs child, but when we’re really looking at any family, it’s important to plan.

So, do you get a lot of … What’s your normal demographic of clientele? Is it younger families, is it older families, do you have a typical…

Peilin Ngo:                         Well, in estate planning, it’s generally people think about estate planning when they retire. Or when they are unfortunately on their last leg of life, and so we want to … One of the things that we said as a firm, before we even started, we said, what is our mission, as a company? And so we said that we really want to advocate for being proactive, rather than reactive, right?

Because when you are proactive, I imagine that a lot of people would understand that, you have a lot more choices, and you are able to plan ahead, and anticipate the this and that’s, and the jibs and the jabs.

So, we really try to educate the younger folks. So, yeah, our friends. Our friends who are getting married, who are having their first child, who are having, for the first time, first-time home buyers. Things like that. We want to get people to think about it now, in their late 20s, 30s, and not when they’re 60s, and 70s. Because we have, what is that? 50 years or whatever to really plan ahead.

And then we also always tell them that they could always amend things, and we encourage that, that they look at their estate plan every three to five years to see if anything has changed, and we want to really grow with them, grow with our clients.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Yeah.

Amanda Selogie:              Well, we always hear, oh, well, estate planning is for people who have lots of money. But, obviously, we know that’s not true. So, tell us how you talk to families who maybe don’t have a lot of disposable income, or don’t feel that they have a big estate. Is this something that is important for, you know, everybody to do?

Peilin Ngo:                         Absolutely. One of the main reasons for doing an estate plan, a lot of times, is to avoid probate. And yes, for that, you have to be over a certain threshold, a certain amount, dollar amount. However, we think it’s more than just that. It’s more than just passing along your assets to your loved ones after you pass away, it’s about pre-planning, as a I said … There are accidents, there are health things. I’ve lost a lot of personal friends for health reasons.

And unfortunately, in accidents, too. And they were in their 20s, and 30s. And so, heaven forbid, if you have a kid at that age, what happens to that kid, right? It’s not about the number of, sorry, I kind of went off course. You were talking about wealth. It’s not about that. It’s about passing on your values, as well.

Because in the nomination of guardianship, too, that’s one of the estate planning documents. We talk about what kind of values, whether it’s your upbringing of the kids, the religious-

Vickie Brett:                      Just being prepared for when you’re not here.

Peilin Ngo:                         Absolutely.

Vickie Brett:                      Probate is … That’s the type of court that you’re in, right? So when people say, oh, you want to avoid probate, it’s more so along the lines of having to be drug into … Dragged into court. And, yeah, drugged, some people are drugged. Peilin with the zing.

Where you’re being dragged in, and so then you’re in front of a judge, and that’s super intimidating, and so this is just a form of preparation, right? For the unknown.

Peilin Ngo:                         Absolutely.

Vickie Brett:                      For when things happen.

Peilin Ngo:                         Absolutely, so actually we always say, after the age of 18, you, everyone ought to at least have a will in place, because I know it’s kind of an inside joke here, with us, but it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And before that, too, when you become disabled, or incapacitated in whatever reason, it’s … We want to get your health directives in place, and things like that.

So it’s not all about money. I know that’s where most of the conversation goes to, when it comes to estate planning. But it certainly isn’t. You might not … Your estate, right? Depending on your circumstances, it might not necessitate a full blown trust. Well, if that’s the case, we won’t do the trust. However, there’s so many other aspects of estate planning that everyone should consider.

And actually, as a matter of fact, we did a little bit of research in preparation for today, and it says here, 81% of those 72 or older, and 58% of boomers, so 53 to 71, do have estate planning documents. That’s great. But, 78% of millennials do not have a will. Or estate plan done. 64% of Gen X’ers do not a will. So-

Jill Hiraizumi:                    That’s a big percentage.

Peilin Ngo:                         Yeah, absolutely. And it shocks us to hear these statistics.

Amanda Selogie:              Touched on, there’s other aspects of what you do, besides just wills and trusts. And I don’t know, Vickie, have we talked about special needs trusts yet?

Vickie Brett:                      I don’t think that we’ve talked in depth, and obviously, we wanted to be able to have Jill and Peilin because we had some crossover with a case where we handled the special needs trust, and by we I mean Amanda, because I do the limited conservatorships, and we haven’t really touched on conservatorships, either, but maybe we can kind of go into that, and talk about the special needs trust that we got referred, and worked on this case with you guys.

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah, so, a lot of times, estate planning attorneys do, like you guys do, a big encompassing of that planning, right? And you touched on the healthcare directive, and looking at planning for, okay, well if something happens, if someone’s incapacitated, so the healthcare directive and that power of attorney is looking at, if someone’s incapacitated, who is going to be handling their affairs, right?

And so, we’ve come to the realization, and partly because when we first started our practice, we had a couple of families that said, well, do you think we should get a special needs trust? And we said, well yeah, absolutely. And in our nature of work, we have a lot of clients that we’ve had for years, right?

So they trust. So it’s been something where we had a lot of requests for special needs trusts, and so, you know, and limited conservatorship, so we said, okay, that’ll be a small factor of our case, but one thing we realized, and what we appreciate about you two, is that not all estate planning attorneys understand the complications of a child with special needs, and with the disability, and how that can impact the way that you do plan. And unfortunately, we had several clients come to us, that believed they had special needs trusts, because their estate planning attorney had charged them for one, and had told them that they had had one, and you read the trust, and the trust has a provision that allows for the creation of a special needs trust.

So, I guess I can go over what a special needs trust is a little bit, and you guys chime in with any other added little tidbits, but when we’re looking at when a child reaches the age of 18, they’re getting these federal benefits, and state benefits, Social Security, disability, MediCal, and whatnot. And when they come into a sum of money, let’s say, an inheritance, or a gift, if that money is determined to be income, then they could lose their benefits.

And we’ve seen it before, and especially with the state of Social Security and with the state of … We just don’t … You never know what the laws are going to change, anyway. And what’s gonna be there. And so, we don’t want someone to lose benefits because how hard is it to get them back? Right. It’s very difficult. So we can create a special needs trust for an individual where it’s for their benefit only, that allows for their care and maintenance.

And you can make it very simplistic, in the sense of, well, it’s just going to be a separate special needs trust for this individual. One thing that we personalized, kind of along the lines of what you guys do, of looking at that quality of life, right? And that planning. So we look at, what kind of quality of life does the child have with the parents right now, what is the intention of the family, right?

Do they want the child to eventually get some kind of education, whether it’s vocational or not. Do they want them to live in the family home, or with family? Or do they want them to live independently? Do they want them to live in a group home? Do they want them to have a job, or not, right?

We had one client who loved riding the train. And, it was a great hobby, and let’s say someone became a conservator of this person, when he was an adult, and he never got that opportunity, because he couldn’t communicate in the right way that that was something he liked to do. So we set aside some additional documents that we provide that gets put into their booklet, so to speak, and try to prepare for that quality of life.

But, you know, when we look at … When you guys evaluate a client that’s coming in, or a potential client, is that something that you’re looking for? You’re asking, are there these additional factors that need to be taken into consideration?

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Yeah, definitely. So, when we sit down with the family, and we discuss putting together an estate plan, one of the considerations is whether they would like to pass on their assets outright, or in trust. And so, there’s two generally, two ways of passing on assets.

So, outright simply means your beneficiary, the person receiving the money, would receive whatever it is you left them, just perhaps, if it’s cash they would receive cash with no strings attached. However, if they were to receive money in trust, it would … The person creating the trust, so generally the parents, would be able to limit the way that their children are able to spend that money.

So, a lot of times, that does give their parents some control over their children spend their money, especially when, if their children perhaps have a spending problem-

Vickie Brett:                      Or like if they say, oh, you will get this money, when you’re 25, or something. Or 30, like I’ve seen it reaching from the different age-

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Or you have to finish school first, or something.

Vickie Brett:                      Okay. What’s the craziest thing that you’ve seen, thus far?

Peilin Ngo:                         Well, I will say, a very young couple, they just had their firstborn about half a year ago, I think it was. And literally, it was, X amount at 25, X amount at 35, I think the oldest was 65. Or something.

Vickie Brett:                      What?

Peilin Ngo:                         Yeah.

Vickie Brett:                      What? They wanted to plan it out that far out? I hadn’t seen that.

Peilin Ngo:                         So, when we told them, this is your rules to create, they took that literally. But, I mean, that’s the beauty of estate planning, and going to a professional who can really, I mean, they had a few other factors that they put in their. That were very important to them. But, for reasons that we can’t really disclose here, that was what their wishes were. So we were able to do that.

Vickie Brett:                      Oh, wow.

Amanda Selogie:              Talk about parents controlling you all your life. Oh my god.

Peilin Ngo:                         This is for their half a year old, and then also of course, they were expecting future kids. So, yeah, we’re just like, you don’t even have names for them, they’re not even in embryo, and you’re already planning for their futures.

Amanda Selogie:              Oh my gosh. So talk to us about some other areas. I know something that crosses over with us is the 529 accounts, the educational accounts, and then now, more recently, the able accounts. Do you guys handle advising clients about whether or not they should create any of these accounts?

Jill Hiraizumi:                    We do, insofar as, when it comes to able, that’s something we would be able to refer to you. So, anything under, in the special needs realm, is something that we’re able to flag, and then say, you know, this is a very specialized area that unfortunately it’s hard to keep up with it. As you two know, it changes so often, and very frequently, that it’s not something that we have any … We don’t claim to have specialized knowledge, and as you always say in your podcast, we’re attorneys, but we’re not your attorneys.

And we also don’t claim to be special education, special needs attorneys.

Vickie Brett:                      Well and it’s different, right? I mean, we had a case where we’ll have the special needs trust, but then they want something to be dealt with in their family trust, or they want to recreate, or whatever.

And so we’re like, oh, we don’t do that. We’ll refer it out, just because the intricacies of it are so much there. I was gonna say so much intricate, but then I just said the intricacies of it are intricate. I haven’t had my caffeine for the day. And it’s in the afternoon already.

That we’re the same way, where Amanda and I saw the need for the limited conservatorships, because conservatorships can be just general as well, and like Peilin had mentioned, oftentimes we hear of conservatorships when husband and wife are married, and husband has Alzheimer’s, and isn’t able to make decisions. And the wife would like to have a conservatorship over him, right?

And so, we’re typically dealing with anyone that, before the age of 18, was diagnosed with a disability. So when people come to us for general, we’re like, Jill, Peilin, here, take this. Because it’s just the specialized aspect of it that I think is helpful for us to have them, so that we don’t … We’re doing everything right. And you guys are keeping up to date with things as we are too.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    A limited conservatorship, for you Vickie. You mentioned that for limited conservatorships, it’s usually for individuals who have been diagnosed with something prior to 18, but what if that individual was disabled as the result or a car accident or something? Does that apply as well?

Vickie Brett:                      Yeah, if it was before 18. So the cutoff is 18. Because you’re showing a history of … So we had a conservatorship, one of my first conservatorships back in the day was an individual who at the age of 14 or 15 was a cheerleader. She had no disabilities prior to that, and she had a cheerleading accident that resulting in her falling on her head, and her becoming severely disabled after that.

And, by the time that she was 19, 20, parents should have tried to get a conservatorship, but they had no idea. And then they were eventually referred to us, and I was able to get the conservatorship for them, even though she was 20, I could say, I think it’s under 1420 or something, the code section, it’s like, okay, as long as it happened before 18.

Otherwise, if it happened, at 20, you’re in the general conservatorship. I think it’s just very specialized because of the limited is in seven different areas, whereas the general is more.

Because the idea behind it is we want the parent, if the parent is gonna continue having custody, if you will, of their adult child, that it’s limited in the sense of, they may have developmental needs, but we still want to try to encourage independence.

There’s big debate with kiddos that have Downs Syndrome and things like that of, do we do limited conservatorships, do we not? Are we controlling them too much, are we not? And Amanda and I, that’s why the parent is usually our client in those instances. But there’s two sides to everything, so we just tell the parents, you’re making the decision for your child, and you’re not going to be … The Core recognizes you as one of those moms that won’t let them do anything, then maybe you might have a fight.

But most of the time, the regional center’s involved in things like that. And they have to do evaluation beforehand. But, we typically see a lot of our kiddos, because we work with them, getting it right at 18.

As far as the limited conservatorships, I mean yeah, we can … I could talk about that all day, just as Amanda can talk about special needs trusts, but we wanted to kind of touch base on that case that we had worked on. So you guys had had a client come into your office, and you were in the thick of things, right? And then all of a sudden, you were like, wait. We need to bring Vickie and Amanda in, right?

Peilin Ngo:                         Yeah, so this one was a little while back, huh? It was about two years ago-

Amanda Selogie:              Wow, was it that long ago?

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Mm-hmm (affirmative). My goodness. So we were actually approached by a … The daughter of a woman who had passed away. And her mother had created a trust leaving money to her, I believe she had a few children.

Peilin Ngo:                         Our client, the daughter, and then the son, who had special needs.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    So what happened was, mother’s trust was drafted in such a way that it left property money to her two kids, outright. So not in trust, but she left money outright. So, as we touched on a little bit earlier, that meant that basically her beneficiaries would receive this money, just straight up with no strings attached. And the problem with this one was that one of her children, her son, was, I believe he had autism. Was he autistic?

So he was receiving various government benefits, and some of those benefits were need-based and so some of them were disability-based. But as for qualifying for those government benefits, he had to stay under a certain income limit. And so I think that’s where our knowledge of special needs trust kind of ended, and we know that our basic understanding of that was once he received his inheritance, he would be disqualified from some of those programs.

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah, and usually it’s … They can’t have assets over $2,000 at any given time. And then the minute it goes over that threshold, then we’re dealing with having to report it and the benefits could go away. And so in that case, luckily, the trust did have a provision that had contemplated the possibility that somebody might be disabled.

It was one of those standard clauses, but it allowed for the money not have to be a check written to the child, right? Which I think he was like 19 or something at the time.

Vickie Brett:                      I think I remember it. It was the daughter had most of the control, and she’s like, I know that some of this money is to go to him, and that’s when you guys came to us, because he was going to be turning of age, and Amanda’s like, this is perfect timing, because it’s not his yet, right? And that was the … Because that’s the little loophole there, that we researched, that he wasn’t of … And Amanda was able to get in with the special needs trust.

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah, it was because it was the executor that had control over where the money was going, although the intended result was that both children would get percentages of the inheritance. But because it was within that trust, and the executor of the trust was able to … The trustee was able to have some control over it, we were able to have the trustee then create this special needs trust and flow the money directly.

And where we see it with just a will, right? The check has to be just written. There’s no transition period. I think is kind of the difference and why we would generally recommend, okay, we’ll if you’re gonna create a special needs trust, and we’ve had a couple of clients that have come to us already having general family trusts, and we’ve had to tell them, well, we need to amend the family trust because, right now says it’s going directly to the child.

And while there might be that leeway, let’s just alleviate that having to go through that steps when it comes to it. Because at that point, I mean, anything could happen to the family. So it’s better just to be prepared.

Peilin Ngo:                         Have you guys ever had a situation where you had to go to court and petition them for the ability to amend a trust or something to include a special needs provision?

Amanda Selogie:              We haven’t yet, luckily. It is something that we anticipate, likely could happen. In the instances where we’ve had families come to us, and we’ve needed to amend the family trust, there’s been provisions that allow for amendment, and the trustees have been able to do that. So we haven’t had to petition the court.

But that’s kind of why we recommend if a family is going and gonna create a family trust or a will or some type of estate planning document, you need to anticipate if your child has a disability right now, that is something you’re gonna need to think about, because if the trust is created and it requires any court approval to amend and you’ve left it to the child, then it could be more difficult to change it later.

So luckily, it wasn’t difficult for us to change it, but it could be.

Vickie Brett:                      Yeah, and I mean, Amanda has been in court several times for other little inconsistencies that we’ve had, where not everything was put in the trust, or they didn’t have a pour over … And things like that. And it takes a long time, so I really heed that advice of, you want to avoid probate, because you have no control over the court’s calendar, right? You could be … How long has been the longest court date that you’ve had that’s been set out six months?

Jill Hiraizumi:                    The longest time, I would say … We filed for conservatorship one time in Orange County and I think it was set eight months out.

Amanda Selogie:              What?

Jill Hiraizumi:                    There was a trust litigation matter out in L.A., and that was set almost a year out.

Amanda Selogie:              A year out?

Jill Hiraizumi:                    Yeah.

Amanda Selogie:              What has been the longest full probate? Because you guys go through probate, right? When families come to you? So what is the longest from time the family comes to you to the close of probate, what’s the longest you’ve had?

Peilin Ngo:                         We have ones that are ongoing, still, two years.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    So two years, plus.

Amanda Selogie:              Wow. So that’s why you avoid probate.

Peilin Ngo:                         Absolutely.

Amanda Selogie:              Because the money is probably still tied up.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    It is tied up, and unfortunately, we say, on average, if it’s not contested, it takes about … It’s gonna cut into about 5% of your estate that’s gonna go to attorneys, courts, fees. And so that’s a huge amount, depending on your estate, that could be a huge amount that’s not going to your beneficiaries, your loved ones.

Amanda Selogie:              Right.

Peilin Ngo:                         Rather, and this is another misconception that we do want to debunk. Is that just because you have an estate plan, doesn’t mean that it’s easy peasy, there’s no cost, there’s nothing to do after this person dies, it automatically, adds some magic trust fairy comes and just gives the money to the beneficiaries.

There are things, it’s called trust administration, and there are things that we have to notify certain offices of this person’s death within a certain amount of time. We have to submit, they call it loading the will with the court to say, hey, this person’s will … [inaudible 00:26:36] will, and it gave everything to the trust, so basically no court intervention needed.

Whatever it is. Let the life insurance company know so we can collect on that. Whatever it is, and so it is a process, and it does take couple months, I would say that was the quickest trust admin that we did. It takes about half a year, on average.

But, I would say maybe five, seven, a thousand dollars, rather than probate, easily into tens of thousands of dollars.

Amanda Selogie:              And one issue that we often see is that just because you create a trust doesn’t mean you’re done there. We’ve had the two times we’ve done probate, it’s because they actually had a trust, then once the trust was created, only one or two things was transitioned into the trust.

They didn’t change title of things. And so, after we had, I think our first one, my grandma was going through doing through … We were amending her trust, or something like that. And I told my dad, I said, we need to make sure that everything is in this damn trust. Because I mean, how often, and that’s the thing that people don’t realize, they think, oh I created a trust, so I’m good.

Or they have assets that they haven’t transitioned, so you go and then the bank is like, this isn’t in the trust, it’s in the person’s name. So that doesn’t avoid probate if things aren’t actually in the trust, it’s not automatic, right?

Peilin Ngo:                         Right. And I think in the … Back when parents got their estate plan done, they didn’t. It was the norm not to do it. And it’s still unfortunately, is the norm not to have the estate planning attorney fund the trust. They stop at just drafting it, and saying, hey, this is instructions. They send you home with instructions that say, go to … This is how you put your house into your trust.

Vickie Brett:                      That you probably never look at again. You just put in your safe, and you don’t do it.

Jill Hiraizumi:                    [crosstalk 00:28:21] one asset, or do a house but not the other bank accounts.

Peilin Ngo:                         Right, and then what happens, right? I mean, they think, oh, check I already went to an estate planning attorney, or however way I got my estate plan done, done. I could not have to look at it for the rest of my life.

Well, first of all, as we already alluded to earlier, things change. Life is dynamic, life is never just … What’s your situation now? So always look at it. Then number two, when we have clients come to us saying, hey, we haven’t looked at this for a while, can you help us review it?

A lot of times assets are never into the trust. In the trust. But, it’s stated in the schedule A, which is basically, it’s not official, it’s just what the drafter said. This is a house, this is bank accounts. Things that we basically intend for you to put into the trust, but unfortunately, the clients just don’t do it. Or they don’t understand.

They maybe hear, they may hear the attorney’s advice to do that, but this is not something that the client does on a day in and day out basis. The attorney-

Vickie Brett:                      Or what you do, yeah.

Peilin Ngo:                         Yeah. So, I mean, although we cannot legally put everything into your trust, there’s certain things like bank accounts that we can go ahead and draft and prepare a letter for the institution, and we go ahead and send it out, or whatever obtained the change of beneficiary forms we’ll fill it out for them.

However, a lot of banks will require the clients to come in, in person, and sign over a new card so in situations like that, yeah. We’re not gonna-

Vickie Brett:                      [crosstalk 00:29:53] hold so much.

Peilin Ngo:                         Right, right. But we certainly will follow up with the clients afterward, saying, hey, did you have any issues with that? And sometimes they’ll say, no problem. And sometimes they will have issues, and so that’s something that we’ll follow up with afterwards.

Vickie Brett:                      Yeah, I think what’s key about the way that we run our business, because we do deal with children and the way that you guys do, as well, handling everybody else, is the customer service component. You don’t necessarily take a class on that in law school, of how to deal with people or clients, or providing that customer service, and no, really, that’s something that they may think, wow, they’re going above and beyond, and you’re like, no, I’m just being a competent attorney in trying to provide you with all this information and do as much as I can.

Because I think that that’s what people tend to think when they go to an attorney is, oh you’re just gonna do everything. So we get a lot of that, as well. So we feel you guys on that.

Well, I think we kind of fleshed out a lot. That was a lot, in that short amount of time. We just want to think you ladies for coming in and breaking in our studio, because I guess that’s what we’ll call it.

Amanda Selogie:              It is our studio. We’ve got our little step and repeat behind us, some comfy chairs, and we’re all set now. So, thank you guys for listening, remember if you want these episodes to pop up every Tuesday, go ahead and hit that subscribe button and as always, we’re welcoming topics, whether it is specifically special education related, or something like today, it’s somewhat relevant to you guys, our listeners.

We appreciate it, we know that there’s been quite a few of you who have emailed us topics, and I know that we haven’t touched on all of them yet, but we are getting there. It’s on our to do list, we are, luckily, we have plenty of weeks. We’re not intending on going anywhere anytime soon.

So we’ll be able to get to those, but if our listeners are now thinking, oh, crap, I need to do an estate planning, how can they find you guys?

Jill Hiraizumi:                    So, our website is www.hn-legal.com. That’s Henry-Nancy, or Hiraizumi-Ngo. And our phone number is 949-534-2575. And one more thing I wanted to just put in there is that even though we are based in Orange County, our office is in Costa Mesa, across the street from the beautiful South Coast Plaza.

We do do a lot of house calls. I would say majority of our clients, they are either working parents or sometimes they are on a breathing machine that they really can’t get out of their house. Or it’s a real hassle to really go come to our office. Or sometimes they’re business owners and they just can’t get away from their businesses, so we do oftentimes go to their home or their businesses, and we service clients all the way from L.A. and Orange County and San Diego and Riverside. So give us a call. Give us a holler.

Amanda Selogie:              Thank you guys so much for being here, and for our listeners. You probably are on Spring Break right now, maybe your kids had Spring Break last week, or they have them next week. And we hope you guys are enjoying your Spring Break. We are definitely jealous, although it’s supposed to be in the 70s this weekend, so we’re hoping for some sunshine by the beach. And we will talk to you next week. Thanks. Bye.

Vickie Brett:                      Bye.

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