ESTATE PLANNING

Estate planning addresses many important matters.  What if something happens to you and your spouse, who will decide how your minor children will be provided and cared for? The State has laws governing situations such as these, that may or may not be your preference. What if you become incapacitated, who will make financial and medical decisions on your behalf? With an estate plan of your own, you will make these decisions. Our firm will design an estate plan to help ensure you have control over legal matters that impact your well being and that of your loved ones. It is very important to understand that if you don't have an estate plan, the state of California will create one for you. The California probate court will make decisions about your assets, "who will get what" based upon guidelines set by California statutes. Bear in mind "California's Plan" does not focus on minimizing taxes or looking out for the best interests of you and your heirs. If you are married with children you should know that up to half of your separate property will pass to your children, not to your surviving spouse.  If you have no spouse, children or grandchildren, your estate will go to your parents, then to your siblings if your parents are no longer living. This may or may not be your wishes, perhaps you would rather give a helping hand to a friend or to a charity.  If you have not created a living trust and a durable power of attorney you are creating a nightmare for your family. If there is nobody with legal authority to manage your assets and your affairs, the probate court will have to be petitioned to appoint your conservator.  This is expensive and is a public process.  If you have a complete estate plan in place you will have named an agent to handle your financial affairs, and an agent to make health care decisions for you. You will have left written instructions on what types of medical treatments you do or do not wish to receive. Our firm provides traditional estate planning, including wills, revocable trusts, powers of attorney and health care directives. If you already have an estate plan it is important to make sure it is not outdated and is adequate to your specific needs.