Estate Planning & Probate

We assist clients with every aspect of estate planning to ensure that their assets pass to their loved ones at the lowest possible tax cost and without going through the dreaded probate process.  The estate plans we prepare for our clients are not just wills and trusts – they also include medical and financial powers of attorney and thoughtful solutions to clients’ varying concerns.  Whether for single individuals or married couples, we provide plans that fully protect our clients and provide them with creative solutions to provide for their desired beneficiaries.

We work closely with our estate planning clients to consider as many possible future possibilities and circumstances as possible.  This often includes putting together guardianship plans for a client’s minor children, continuing to hold funds in trust to pay for a grandchild’s education, or providing strategies to preserve eventual beneficiaries’ inheritances in the event of subsequent marriages or other unpredictable circumstances.  In situations where a disabled beneficiary or elderly family member qualifies for public assistance, we help craft and implement Special Needs Trusts and Medi-Cal Asset Protection Trusts to ensure they maintain a comfortable lifestyle without disqualifying their eligibility for continuing to receive public benefits.

We provide advice that fits the unique objectives of each client and provide such advice and services in all aspects of estate planning, including:

  • Planning transfers of personal wealth during life and after death through wills, trusts, and other means
  • Utilizing inter-vivos gifts, insurance planning, various “estate freezing” techniques and charitable gift planning
  • Providing estate and income tax planning
  • Preparing Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives
  • Advising and representing executors in probating wills
  • Advising and representing trustees during trust administration
  • Conducting employee benefit planning for closely held businesses
  • Preparing buy-sell agreements
  • Conservatorships

Our estate planning attorneys work closely with the firm′s other attorneys to ensure that our clients have access to the best advice on any given issue.  We have the breadth of experience and depth of capability required to meet your estate planning challenges.

Tax Considerations

We assist clients with every aspect of sophisticated estate planning.  Because tax considerations often determine the form and the viability of contemplated transactions, our firm’s attorneys are experienced in these matters and have advanced degrees in Taxation.  Just a few of the tax related services we provide include:

  • Handling tax planning for trustors, surviving spouses, and their beneficiaries
  • Matters involving tax-sensitive estate planning and estate administration, trust administration, and chartering and counseling charitable organizations
  • Representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service in various estate and gift tax matters

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Trust Administration

Our attorneys work closely with the surviving spouse, successor trustee, or beneficiary of trusts to ensure that the trust administration process goes smoothly.  We understand that while one benefit of having a trust means attorney supervision is not required, it does not mean each individual knows how to (or indeed wants to) administer that trust themselves, and we help make that process easy.  This allows families to enjoy the benefits and protections a trust offers without requiring them to deal with the administration process alone.

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Probate

Although we would prefer that all of our clients have estate plans in place so that probate can be avoided, we understand that life does not always work out the way we intend.  In those situations, we also represent parties in probating wills.  We understand that this can be a very difficult and emotional time for our clients and will work closely with our clients to ensure the probate process progresses as smoothly as possible.

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Wills & Trusts

Clients usually express a desire to draft a will or trust to leave property to loved ones at death. Wills are often used to express deep sentiments toward loved ones, provide specific property distributions, and can include special instructions about the care of minor children.

Trusts are a powerful tool and can avoid the time-consuming and expensive probate process, while also providing estate and gift tax mitigation strategies for those clients with estates over the current exemption amount.  Trusts also permit a decedent′s assets to be distributed to others at specific points in a lifecycle, rather than simply upon reaching the age of majority.  As a result, our attorneys prepare wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, and charitable giving documents.

Our attorneys often compose wills and trusts in conjunction with a comprehensive analysis of clients’ estate planning needs and objectives.  Estate planning provides a mechanism for clients to plan affairs in the event of disability as well as death.  Estate planning assists clients in the disposition of property in a way that provides for the desires of clients, avoids tax liability at death, provides planning or the handling of affairs in case of disability, and considers personal medical choices to be made as the natural progression of life nears its end.

We offer legal and practical advice to clients in such matters as Federal Income Tax and Federal Gift and Estate Tax, the disposition of property outside the probate system, life insurance, powers of attorney, and long term care insurance, among others.

Our estate planning attorneys work closely with the firm′s other attorneys to make sure that our clients have access to the best advice on their financial and estate planning needs.  We have the breadth of experience and depth of capability required to meet your estate planning challenges.

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For more information, contact us using the form below.
For more information, contact us using the form below.