Preserving Your Family’s Wealth for Future GenerationsW
hether you’re planning the parameters of your future medical care or establishing support for loved ones upon your death, we can help with all aspects of trusts and estates issues, including:
- Estate planning
- Estate tax issues
- Choosing the appropriate executor
- Powers of Attorney
- Property Transfers
- Special Needs Trusts
Securing Your Legacy
You work hard for your family, so knowing that you have planned for their long-term well-being and financial security can bring you comfort. We thoroughly analyze your estate and strategize the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing taxes, establishing guardianship for your children, caring for your pets, supporting personal philanthropic causes and protecting your loved ones.
Drafting Your Living Will/Health Care Directive
Your health care directive sets the parameters for medical intervention should you become incapacitated. This assures that when you are most vulnerable, your wishes will be honored.
Your Trust and Last Will
A will by itself is a means of directing how your estate is to be distributed upon your death. It is subject to court supervised administration known as Probate which can be a costly and lengthy process. One of the most common vehicles to avoid Probate is the revocable trust. Your trust gives you the opportunity to provide for the administration of your assets for your benefit when you are unable to do so, and upon your death to plan for tax consequences, establish care for your children and future generations and otherwise express your wishes and direct the distribution of your assets. A pour-over will is an important adjunct to an estate plan using a trust and acts as a second tier means of enforcing your testamentary intent.
We draft wills and many forms of trusts including revocable, irrevocable, insurance and special needs trusts.
Amending Your Trust and Will
As your life changes, so might your estate plan. You may need to update your trust and will throughout your life. We draft appropriate trust amendments and codicils to wills that address changes in your financial situation, marital status, number of children, philanthropic interests and general lifestyle decisions.
Appointment of Guardianship
If you have minor children, your will allows you to make decisions about who will care for them in the future. This is especially crucial if you are a single parent or if both parents die in a common incident. If you do not name a guardian, the court will appoint a guardian for your children and can make decisions adverse to your ultimate parenting goals.
Guiding you Through the Probate Process
Probate follows what is typically a painful emotional loss. We are knowledgeable and meticulous and have over 40 years of experience in probate law. Most executors and beneficiaries have rarely if ever probated a will and know little about the process. We can guide you through all aspects of probate, including:
- Initiating probate with the court
- Developing the best strategy for fairly and expeditiously probating the estate
- Finding and collecting assets
- Closing and opening bank accounts
- Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate
- Paying estate taxes
- Valuing, managing, preserving and liquidating the estate
- Locating beneficiaries
- Addressing the estate’s debts and creditors
- Hiring experts, when appropriate
Helping With Trust Administration
While the implementation of a trust helps to avoid the agonies of Probate, it also requires administration undertaken by the successor trustees subject to statutory requirements. We help to guide the trustee through those requirements and assist them in fulfilling their fiduciary duties.
Valuing and Managing the Estate
We assist both executors and trustees with the arduous process of collecting, managing, valuing, protecting and liquidating the assets of the estate. We have a team of experts available to assist in every aspect of estate probate. When appropriate, our firm calls upon accountants, financial advisors, real estate agents, property managers and other professionals to assist with executor duties. We can access expert opinions about unique assets such as antiques, rare books, automobiles and other collectables for accurate valuation, management and possible sale.
Even in apparently straightforward estate cases, there are sometimes disputes between beneficiaries of wills or trusts. Our professional courtroom presence can calm the emotionally charged process of dealing with a challenged will or trust. When it is in the best interests of our client to preserve cordial familial relationships, our attorneys are adept at mediating these disputes. When necessary, we assertively defend our client’s beneficiary rights within the California probate court.