Three Critical Things You Should Do to Make Sure Your Heirs Don’t Lose Your Money!!

6988272680_8146a984c3_o My colleague, attorney Martha Patterson, sent out a great piece describing Three Critical Things You Should Do To Make Sure Your Heirs Don’t Lose Your Money. Please take the time to read her experience-based common sense suggestions below.

Ms. Patterson has successfully helped hundreds of clients establish their estate plans.

Since my practice focuses on representing those who have been injured by the negligence of others, I believe it’s important to leave the estate planning advice to an expert like Ms. Patterson.

Here’s what she said:

If your spouse or heirs cannot quickly figure out what you own after you pass away or become incapacitated, you won’t just leave them frustrated-you might leave them with less money. State Treasuries and other government agencies currently hold more than $32 billion in unclaimed financial assets, and most of these proceeds belonged to now deceased account holders whose heirs were unaware that the accounts existed. In the past heirs went to your file cabinet and safe deposit box. Today things have become much more complicated, online accounts…automatic withdrawals and bill payments… and dozens of passwords and PIN codes. All of this makes it harder for your heirs to find your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance, and unredeemed savings bonds. If your heirs cannot find your money the money ends up in a State Treasury or other government agency.

Here are 3 things to do to make sure your heirs can find your money:

1. Ditch The Safe Deposit Box For a Fire Proof Safe

safeIf your heirs do not know where it is it could be difficult if not impossible to find. Further, if your heirs do not have the key and do not have permission to access the Safe Deposit Box, the Bank could require your heirs to get permission from the Court before they will open the box. A better solution for keeping important papers is a fire proof safe.

2. Keep A List of Your Accounts and Keep it Current

List of Accounts

You should have a Paper list of your accounts with institutions and account numbers. You may want to keep the list as part of your Trust and also make sure that you give a copy of the list to the person who will handle your affairs when you die.

3. Keep A List of Your Passwords

VLUU L110, M110  / Samsung L110, M110

It has become more and more important for people to change passwords and make them more complicated (harder for people including your spouse and heirs to guess), if our heirs can’t access your online accounts money can be lost. I recommend keeping your passwords in a safe location.

I know we all want to keep our financial information private, and may not want our spouses or heirs to know everything about what we own and how to find it, unfortunately when we become incapacitated or pass away in the digital age our heirs will not be able to open our mail, or go to the corner bank to find your money, you need to be proactive and make sure there is a way to find the information.

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to take some time to plan your estate so that your family will be protected and your assets preserved if you die or need care, give Martha Patterson a call at (866) 452-9657.

You can also call me, of course, and I will be happy personally introduce you to Ms. Patterson. I can be reached at

(323) 852-1100

(818) 306-5799 or

(877) 487-8221

As always, I’m here for all of your legal needs. If your issue is something other than personal injury, then I have a great network of attorneys personally vetted by me to whom I can refer you.

Lowell Steiger 2014

Lowell Steiger

Do I Need An Estate Plan? Cute Video

Hi Folks,

I thought I'd like to use a bit of creativity and make a short, cute and informative video pointing out a couple of pluses when it comes to why we all need an estate plan. 

Naturally, I'm telling you this because we, at the Law Office of Lowell Steiger, provide this necessary legal service for you.

For a Free Consultation Call

Attorney Lowell Steiger

We'll Advise You on Your Plan

Create (as needed) Your




323) 852-1100

Skype (with or
without video): Lowell_Steiger

"Treated With the Respect and Understanding That You

Getting Your Ducks in a Row Through Estate Planning

What Is Estate Planning?


            Getting your ducks in a row — that's what estate planning really means!  Depending on the nature of your
assets and future needs, the process of estate planning can be simple or
complex.  Surprisingly, estate planning
involves more (much more) than simply writing a will.  In fact your estate plan, which should include the creation of a trust,  is a dynamic plan
which addresses many issues including




property (assets) and the many types of ownership and title that your property
may take




planning and/or

needs if you’re ever incapacitated or otherwise unable to care for yourself

Why Estate Planning Is
So Important To You

         Who will be in charge of your medical decisions should you suddenly become incapacitated by a heart attack or stroke?  Do you want heroic measures taken or do you NOT want heroic measures taken.  Without an advance health directive, you're leaving your fate in the hands of others (who may be well-intentioned but do not know your wishes).  What if you want to be resuscitated but you don't have the ability to communicate that message?  What if you don't want this sign over your hospital bed?

Do not resuscitate

            Plan, plan, plan.

          It will come as no shock to you when
I say that we live in an uncertain world. 
So while you’re still of sound mind it is important that you plan for
the future.  Through an estate plan, you
can determine many things:

if you become incapacitated? Your estate plan will define

and by whom will your assets be managed for
your benefit during the remainder of your lifetime

will take care of your minor children

you will be cared for

will make your health care decisions with direction as to what those health
care decisions shall be (don’t leave it to chance)

what point it will make sense to distribute your assets during your lifetime

will get your assets after your death – and by what means?

your assets will be managed after your death

happens to your remains after you die

Simply Put: You Need An Estate Plan

Estate tax

            Bottom Line: It doesn’t matter if
your estate is large or small.  You, your
children, your grandchildren and your assets must be protected and provided for
as determined by you.

Estate: Your plan may focus on

will receive your assets after your death

will manage your estate

will pay your final debts

will handle distribution of your assets

Estate:  Your lawyer will discuss plan
and focus on the small estate issues PLUS

to preserve assets for your beneficiaries

to reduce / postpone amount of estate tax that may otherwise be payable upon
your death

What If You Don't Have An Estate Plan?

            Wow, not having an estate plan
pretty much leaves it up to a judge to pick someone to handle your assets and
your personal care.  Your estate will go through the lengthy and uncertain process called probate.  Your assets will be
distributed to your heirs per the rules of intestacy (dying without
a will).

            Your assets will not necessarily go
to the state.  In fact, per the rules of
intestate succession your assets will go to your relatives, no
matter how remote

            With an estate plan, it is your
choice as to whom your assets go after your death.  You
have control of care of your minor children, your own care, distribution and
control of your assets during your life and after your death, handling of your
remains and a host of other issues.

What's Actually In My Estate?


            All of your assets are in your
estate.  Those assets may be









insurance proceeds


still owed to you

refunds still due you


For a Free Consultation Call

Attorney Lowell Steiger

We'll Advise You on Your Plan

Create (as needed) Your




323) 852-1100

Skype (with or
without video): Lowell_Steiger

"Treated With the Respect and Understanding That You


Estate Planning: Important to You and Your Loved Ones



Estate planning ensures that:

  • Final property wishes are
  • Health care issues
    are clarified and honored
  • Loved
    ones are provided for in your absence

planning resolves these (and other) legal questions when someone dies:

  • State of their financial
  • Who gets what?
  • Guardianship of minor children
  • How much tax will need to be paid to transfer
  • Appropriate
    funeral arrangements
What An Estate Planning Attorney Does For You

We will help you plan your estate.  At the Law
Offices of
Lowell Steiger, we can advise you and then prepare, your legal

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Powers of
  • Domestic
    Partnership Agreements
  • All
    other estate related papers

Prior to doing so, we will
meet with you to discuss and advise as to:

  • Extent of your estate wishes
  • Preparation of your properties and estate to
    make it easy on your loved ones to manage with little or no interruption
    • Government Agencies
    • Courts
    • Tedious Probate System

  • Preparing estate against various tax issues
    that spring up during life and upon death

Protect Your Assets

Asset Protection: What is asset protection? Asset protection
planning involves
figuring out and applying a lawful
series of techniques
that protect your assets
from claims of future creditors. The techniques are designed to deter
creditors from going after you, and frustrate them if they do, generally
making it difficult or impossible for future creditors to grab hold of
assets or collect judgments against you.

In cases where
significant sums are involved, asset protection planning often
includes setting up a series of:

  • Trusts
  • Partnerships
  • Off-Shore

Contact me
for more information.


Probate is a court involved process that
how property, owned by someone who has passed away, will be distributed
to the
proper beneficiaries or heirs.

Avoiding Probate

The probate process is tedious and complicated

and can easily be avoided through proper estate planning and trusts.

If Probate
Is Unavoidable
We Will Help You Probate An Estate

you or a family member needs assistance probating an estate or accessing
deceased person's financial affairs, we will help you here at the Law
Office of
Lowell Steiger.

Call us now for a free consultation!

Finally, and most importantly, please contact me if
you have any legal issues whatsoever.  If it's not something that my
office ordinarily handles, I will be delighted to refer you to a
well-qualified attorney who does.

At the risk of repeating
myself, I'm signing off with my warmest regards to you.

Lowell Steiger

Office of Lowell Steiger

8383 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 830
Hills, California 90211
Law Office of Lowell Steiger

Me By E-mail

Estate P.A.C.T.: A Service For Preparing Probate Property for Sale

Lou_woolf I was having lunch with Los Angeles Real Estate genius Lou Woolf a couple of weeks ago.  Lou handles probate properties in a unique fashion.  Oftentimes probate properties are in grave disrepair and, as a result, are almost unmarketable.  Lou Woolf has a solution for this problem:  Hire tradespeople who, because of Lou’s stellar reputation earned during 30+ years in the Los Angeles Real Estate Market, are willing to repair and beautify the downtrodden home and wait to be paid until after the home is sold.  In so doing,  Lou is able to maximize the results for his probate clients. 

In Lou Woolf’s own words:

It can be a royal pain for an estate representative to sell the decedent’s house.  In many cases the house needs extensive cleaning and some repairs (often cosmetic) before it can be sold.  But where does the money for these services come from?  If the house is the major asset of the estate, then the representative will often wind up paying for services out of his or her pocket, and then getting reimbursement when the house is sold.  That’s not always a good idea (and if your representative doesn’t have a bunch of cash sitting around, it may not even be possible).

A Los Angeles-based Realtor at Coldwell Banker, Lou Woolf, has a new service (called Estate P.A.C.T.) that could help in this area.  If you hire Mr. Woolf to sell your probate property, you gain access to a group of tradespeople who will (a) perform the necessary work on the house and (b) defer their fees until the house is sold.  (The fees are payable at the closing.)  Here is the press release and his web site site is Mr. Woolf has indicated that His Estate Pact program will be made available to the general public (non-probate properties) on a limited, and case by case basis. 

Probate issues are tough enough without having to then go through the emotion and expense of rehabbing your deceased parents’ home in order to sell it.  I’ve known Lou Woolf for over 35 years and can vouch for his dedication, passion and integrity when it comes to selling homes.  Call him at (818) 728-3911 or (866) Get-Wolf or send him an e-mail


The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"