About Robert Firth
Attorney Robert L. Firth has been licensed to practice law for over thirty-five years. Rob received his undergraduate degree with distinction from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri. Robert is the principal behind the Law Offices of Robert L. Firth.
Rob Firth began his law career with a small firm in St. Louis and then moved to Washington, DC, where he was a trial attorney at the United State Department of Justice, Deputy Director of the 1980 White House Conference on Small Business and Special Assistant to the Associate Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
In the 1980s, Rob helped found The Residence Inn Company (now Residence Inn by Marriott) and spent the decade in the business of developing and franchising hotels. In 1990, he moved with his wife to Wisconsin and the two of them created one of the most active estate planning firms in the state. In fact, Rob has drafted over fifteen hundred living trust estate plans.
Robert L. Firth is presently licensed to practice law in California and Missouri (inactive) and was previously licensed and a member in good standing of the Bar Associations of Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. Rob is also a licensed real estate broker in the State of California and the principal owner of Aurum Real Estate Group, Inc. He has years of experience in residential and commercial real estate brokerage and development.
A proud father of two sons, Rob Firth understands your need to protect and provide for your loved ones by creating a plan to preserve and grow your estate. In addition to offering exceptional estate planning services, Robert L. Firth is honored to counsel clients and families on creating a plan for long-term care, medical assistance, special needs trusts and other matters related to caring for chronically ill family members.
Contact California Estate Planning Attorney Robert L. Firth today to set up a consultation with one of California’s most devoted Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorneys at
In my 35 years of practicing law, I’ve experienced almost everything you can imagine when it comes to working with individuals, couples, business owners, and families on their wills, trusts and estate plans. Everyone from the single mom or dad to the long-retired multi-million dollar business owner has passed through my doors. One of the joys I have in working with clients is listening to them plan for the future and talk about their hopes and dreams—not only for themselves, but also for their children, grandchildren, and surviving family members. Estate planning is so much more than just signing documents and talking about death and dying. It’s about planning for the future, protecting your assets from creditors and predators, and leaving a legacy for generations to come.
Over the last few decades I have noticed many people who come to me have fallen prey to several myths and misconceptions about estate planning so I put together this special report to help you walk safely through the mine fields that could jeopardize your goals and plans when it comes to planning for your future.
Make time to think about what is important to you and then I invite you to pick up the phone and call my office to set up a complimentary consultation. During our time together we will discuss your future plans and I will give you my honest assessment of how your goals can be best accomplished and how we can best serve you and your family. I firmly believe that you should give what you have, the way you want, to whom you want and when you want. I promise there will never be any pressure to do something you don’t want to do. We never use “hard sell” tactics. We respect our clients far too much to do that.
The relationship you have with your Estate Planning Attorney is a very special one as you will share very personal hopes and dreams. It is a relationship built on trust and mutual respect. It is truly a joy to build relationships with and serve very dedicated and talented clients who have worked hard to accumulate wealth and I consider it a privilege and honor to help them protect it and preserve it.
I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you further about how we could serve you and your family as well.
Here’s the number to my office: 352–3765. I look forward to your call.
The Top Five Estate Planning Myths
MYTH 1: I’M YOUNG AND HEALTHY SO I DON’T NEED AN ESTATE PLAN.
Far too many people falsely believe they only need an estate plan when they are knocking on death’s door. I understand most people do not find discussions related to death and dying to be pleasant. It’s easier for people to put planning for their estate at the very bottom of the “to-do” list. Life is full of more pressing things to do like playing golf, going to the beach, travelling, or spending time with friends and family members. Unfortunately, no one knows the future and we are never promised to be in good health tomorrow. It’s critical you make time to plan for your future while you are relatively young and in good health, especially if you have minor children. Too many people wait until the very last minute or when they are in the midst of a medical crisis to start working on their plan. Knowing you have a solid plan in place can provide you and those people you love with a sense of calmness and a peace of mind.
Whether you have a large estate or very few assets, estate planning does more than just divide up your assets when you are gone. An estate plan can provide away to manage your affairs if you should become sick, injured, or otherwise incapacitated. An estate plan can help you leave a legacy by providing an appointed guardian for your young children or your beloved pets. An estate plan will also set aside the appropriate amount of assets to care for someone who depends on you, such as an aging parent, a special needs child, or a spouse who relies on you for financial support. Once you are gone, it’s too late to make a plan to protect the ones you love. If you die without a will or estate plan, a judge will end up deciding who gets your assets, not you! And the process will be expensive and time consuming! All it takes is one simple call to start you on your way towards a peace of mind!
MYTH 2: ESTATE PLANNING IS UNNESSARY UNDER THE CURRENT FEDERAL TAX EXEMPTION
Estate planning has historically provided excellent strategies for preserving as much wealth as possible while minimizing tax consequences. An experienced estate planning attorney is still an invaluable resource for preserving wealth. The current federal estate tax exemption is five million dollars which leads some people to believe this exemption makes estate planning a waste of time and money. Nothing could be further from the truth!
While the federal tax exemption is at historically high levels, the current tax law is set to expire in at the end of 2013. No one knows what the future will bring for estate taxes. Also, there is great value in strategizing with an experienced estate planning attorney today to take full advantage of the current gift tax exemption (also $5 million dollars!) and to plan for protecting your assets in order to provide as much as possible for your loved ones.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching!”
Don’t fall prey to the myth that you can just ignore estate planning and preparing for the future because the government will keep on increasing the federal tax exemption. If anything, given the current state of our economy and historically high debt levels it will likely change every two to four years—sometimes dramatically! As the old saying goes, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
Contact an experienced state planning attorney today and see how much you will really save by having a plan to protect your family. Remember Estate planning isn’t for those who die, it’s for those loved ones who live.
MYTH 3: I CAN DRAFT MY WILL ONLINE AND BE FINE
New York Times journalist Ron Lieber took it upon himself to use four different estate planning software packages in an effort to determine whether he could effectively draft his own will without spending time and money on an attorney.
He posted his findings in the New York Times on September 10, 2010. He found several serious mistakes that could even invalidate his will. He found out what thousands of people every year find out…that nothing can take the place of a one-on-one consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney. The problem is thousands of people find this out too late—after they or their loved one is gone and they are left to deal with the mess!
There are times when going on the internet can save consumers a lot of money. There are times when we could all find a lower cost “widget” on the internet, but there are also times when dealing with critically important matters, like life and death and your estate plan, that it’s just not worth the risk!
Another word used for attorney is “counselor” because an attorney’s most important job is to recognize the particular needs of a client even though the client himself may not understand what he needs. A computer program cannot assess all the needs of your loved ones and help you make strategic decisions regarding how much to set aside in a trust, or how to provide income for a spouse in a trust while preserving the principal for your children. A computer program cannot anticipate your needs for a healthcare directive and cannot discuss with you the qualifications you should consider before designating a guardian for your minor children.
An online or software-based will or estate plan that does not protect your estate or provide for those you love is not worth one penny, but could cost you a lifetime of savings!
The same rule applies for some of these canned “one size fits all” estate plans that you find offered at some living trust seminars. Don’t get me wrong, seminars can be a great way to get information. I myself have given hundreds of seminars on the topic of why living trusts are replacing wills. But make sure you follow the seminar up with a one on one consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.
MYTH 4: LEAVING MY EVERYTHING TO MY CHILDREN IS THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT THEM
Many people mistakenly believe that leaving assets to their children will provide for their future. In order to truly provide for their future though, a carefully crafted trust is the best way to ensure that there will be money to provide for their education, health, and well-being. A properly funded trust will grow and continue to provide for your children well into the future, and perhaps even for future generations.
No one can predict the future and unplanned events or circumstances such as health issues, job loss, or divorce can create problems for anyone who has access to large sums of money. Now is the time to think about what you really want for your children and grandchildren and the best way to give them the values you would hope they would have even if you are not here to teach them.
What dreams do you have your children? Do you hope your daughter has a successful professional career? Do you hope your son has a quiet sense of character? Do you want your children to do volunteer work and to learn the value of money by working for what they have? Seriously thinking about questions like these will help you better understand and plan for the legacy you will leave.
Planning is even more important if you have grandchildren. You may adore your child’s spouse, but what could happen in the future? Without proper planning a second spouse could end up with all your hard earned money and cut out your grandchildren. I have heard these stories numerous times from people who come to me too late.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a plan which will best accommodate all the unpredictable tragedies we might encounter along our path through life. Contact our office today and let us show you all the wonderful options you have to protect your wealth and the ones you love.
MYTH 5: JOINT TENANCY IS THE BEST AND EASIEST WAY TO LEAVE MY PROPERTY TO MY LOVED ONES.
Joint tenancy is a trap for the unwary! While joint tenancy can automatically transfer your property at your death to you surviving joint tenant outside of probate, what happens if you or your joint tenant becomes incapacitated because of age, illness or accident? Then neither you nor your joint tenant can make any decisions about the property without going to court and setting up a conservatorship (in some states it is called guardianship). This is called “living probate” and it is expensive, time consuming, and you end up with loss of control of your property.
Or what happens if you put your property into joint tenancy with a child, and that child is forced to file bankruptcy because of the loss of a job or medical crisis? Your property is now available to the bankruptcy trustee to pay the debts of your child.
An experienced estate planning attorney can set up a plan that protects those assets for your children and keeps you out of probate court should you become incapacitated.
ESTATE PLANNING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DIFFICULT
Many people put off planning their estates because they think it will be time-consuming or difficult. Working with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney makes the process of planning your estate easy. Every person who completes the process experiences the peace that comes with knowing things are in order and there is a plan in place to protect loved ones.
Many people put off talking to an estate planning attorney because they dread having a conversation they assume will be morbid or depressing. With the right Estate Planning Attorney though, the process can be very rewarding and can actually offer families the opportunity to have conversations about values and the things that are most important to them. After you meet with Estate Planning Attorney Robert L. Firth, sit down with your family and talk about what you value. Once your family understands your goals and hopes for them, you can rest easy knowing everything is under control–and the unexpected won’t throw your family into chaos because you were wise enough to make a plan.
Creating a legacy involves leaving more than just assets.
“There is a strange charm in the hope of a good legacy that wonderfully reduces the sorrow people otherwise may feel for the death of their relatives and friends”
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Call us today at (760) 770-4066 and find out how easy it is to get your estate pulled together.