Estate Planning

We understand that each individual and each family is unique.  To create an estate plan that meets the objectives and values of a client, we believe it is vitally important to take the time to explore with our client what his or her goals and objectives are and to provide options to achieve those goals.  We offer our clients legal expertise in all aspects of planning for their futures and providing for their loved ones.  We understand that every client's most important estate-planning goal is to ensure that his or her personal matters and financial affairs are appropriately handled upon his or her death or disability.  We strive to efficiently and cost-effectively create estate plans, including wills, trusts and powers of attorney.  We will also assist with small business formation and integration of business interests into estate plans.  An attorney with our firm will speak with you directly and address your concerns and explain the various options available regarding planning and administration of your estate.  We will also work closely with you to ensure that your assets are properly held in your trust to avoid the need for court intervention at the time of final administration.  Since every client's situation is unique,  we carefully craft estate plans tailored to the circumstances and objectives of our clients.

Wills

A Will is generally the most common document that comes to mind when you think of estate planning.  A Will is a document that takes effect after a person passes away.  It is a document that expresses your wishes concerning distribution of your assets and who will administer your estate.  It is vitally important  that a Will be drafted to meet legal requirements to ensure a simple and undisputed  administration.  

Trusts

Living Trusts

A Living Trust is similar to a Will, but it is a document that is in effect during a person's lifetime.  A Living Trust is generally  more cost effective than a Will as an estate planning tool because it is designed to avoid the court supervised probate process.   There are many types of trusts that can be created for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps the most common type is the Revocable Trust, which is a flexible tool for maintaining privacy and avoiding probate.  A revocable trust is also a reliable means of owning out of state property and for use when a family has complicated or unique family dynamics. Although less common than a Revocable Trust, an Irrevocable Trust can be a tax and liability planning device

Land Trusts

When a client owns a special property such as a ranch, vacation home, or undeveloped forest land which the client would like to have preserved for use by future generations or the public, a Land Trust can be used to attain that goal.   Our attorneys enjoy working closely with our clients to create Land Trusts which will preserve the property, as well as its enjoyment by those intended by  the client

Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust, if properly drafted and administered, can preserve assets for the benefit of a person having a disability, yet not result in a disqualification of the beneficiary for public benefits purposes.  Special Needs Trusts can be created to receive an inheritance, a personal injury award, or a gift which would otherwise cause the beneficiary to lose valuable MediCal or SSI benefits. Such trusts are also useful to ensure the designation of a person who is well qualified to administer the assets for the disabled beneficiary.

Charitable Trusts

There are several different forms of Charitable Trusts.  Each provide a method of eventual or current distribution of assets for the benefit of particular charities which the client chooses to benefit. The creation of a Charitable Trust can provide favorable tax results while providing income or use of the trust property by the client or his/her family members presently or in the future, depending on the goals of the client. 

Powers of Attorney

Each of our standard estate plans includes several other core documents that will help facilitate a client's care should he or she become incapacitated due to an illness or injury.  These documents are critical to anyone over the age of 18, which is the age a child becomes legally recognized as an adult and a parent loses the right to act on the child's behalf.  Powers of Attorney are created to address both financial and business matters, as well as medical decision making.

Advance Directives

An advance health care directive specifies who can make health care decisions in the event an individual is unable to make his or her own decisions.  it also includes language regarding organ donation if any, and end of life care choices such as the use or non-use of artificial life support systems.  It often includes a directive to administer pain medication to keep a terminally ill patient comfortable and allow the individual to die without the use of extraordinary medical procedures.