Our firm focuses on the major following aspects of estate law, including:
Estate planning advice and counseling
Drafting of estate documents, including Revocable Living Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney (General/Financial and for Health Care); Living Wills (Advance Physician Directives)
Probate of Wills after the testator passes away
Administration of Living Trusts after the Settlor/Settlors pass away
Every person needs at least a simple Will. If you pass away without a Will, your estate loses control over who receives what portion(s) of your estate, with the State deciding instead of you.
We carefully analyze the estate needs of each new client in making a determination, after full discussion with the client, of what protection the estate needs, and which documents will provided sufficient protection. Generally, this firm recommends that a Revocable Living Trust be drafted for any client who has gross (not net) assets of over $ 100,000, which is the threshold for mandatory probate of a surviving spouse's estate or a single person's estate. Probate is a public proceeding in Court, which averages over 2 years from start to finish. This is a procedure filled with delay and anguish, and mandatory fees are paid out of your estate before the rest goes to your heirs named in the Will. A Revocable Living Trust avoids Probate, and you can have your successor trustee distribute the estate privately without court involvement in most cases. It is also less expensive than going through probate, which means your loved ones will receive a greater portion of the estate.
We construct both simple Living Trusts and estate tax sheltering/protection trusts (with a CPA of your choice frequently recommended) as well as other cutting-edge Trusts such as Special Needs Trusts, which protect any adult children who are seriously disabled and allow them to get some funds from your Trust after you pass away, without the State and Federal governments seizing all assets in return for Medi-Cal medical assistance and the like.
Powers of Attorney are also a vital component of estate planning, as they nominate agents to handle your financial transactions and health care decisions, usually only in the event you become mentally incapable of taking care of these needs on your own. They are essential to avoid the cost and anguish of a public Conservatorship proceeding in the Probate Court.
Living Wills/Advance Directives to Physicians are generally requested by our clients, since in the event you should fall into a short-term terminal situation or irreversible coma or persistent vegetative state (as confirmed by required sworn and signed physician statements) you can state your wishes as to whether or not you wish for life support equipment to continue or be discontinued.
This office has drafted countless estate documents over the past 20 years, and has assisted numerous clients in probates and estate administration. We take pride in our individual approach and responsiveness to our clients' needs.