Estate Plan

Estate Planning

We create customized estate plans for our clients.  Our goals are to ensure that the wishes of the individual are carried out exactly as they wish, preserve estate assets, and protect loved ones from the complexity and unnecessary expense of probate and/or estate related litigation.


There are a number of tools we use to help people plan their estates and preserve their assets, including Wills, Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney for Assets, and Advance Health Care Directives.  

Probate

Probate is a court supervised process where the court determines the validity of a deceased person's will and appoints a representative to administer the decedent's estate. If your loved one died without a will, a probate may also be required.  The probate process involves taking an inventory of all the estate assets, satisfying all the decedent's outstanding debts and obligations, and distributing the assets pursuant to the decedent's wishes. When there is no will (intestate), the court will order distribution of the decedent's assets in accordance with the California Probate Code.  If you are the executor of your loved one's will or the beneficiary or heir, we will guide you through the probate process. 

Trust Administration

When a trust is established, it must be overseen by an administrator, called the trustee. The duty of the trustee is to manage the trust property and distribution of the assets.  The trustee has fiduciary duties that must not be breached.  We represent trustees in all aspects of trust administration, including investment decisions, compliance with trust tax return requirements, funding of sub-trusts, transferring real property and analyzing real property reassessment exclusion opportunities, negotiating settlement agreements, preparing accountings, and trust distributions. 

Trust & Estate Litigation

We represent trustees, beneficiaries, and heirs in disputed estate and trust litigation matters.  We are experienced at litigating, mediating, and settling estate and trust disputes.  In the trust and estate litigation, we pride ourselves on seeking a reasonable solution whenever possible.  However, if the parties are unable to reach a settlement agreement, we have extensive experience litigating cases involving breach of fiduciary duty, trustee removal, disputes between co-trustees, issues pertaining to trust accountings, and related petitions for instructions. When necessary, we are prepared to vigorously pursue claims or defend our clients and conduct discovery.

Financial Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is the physical abuse, neglect, isolation, or financial abuse of a dependent adult or a person over age 65. Social isolation, the lack of close friends and family, diminished mental capacity or dementia, physical disability, or dependence on caregivers can make an elder or dependent adult susceptible to elder abuse.  We have experience protecting elders as well as defending individuals accused of financial elder abuse.