Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning
Estate planning is the process of deciding what will happen to your assets when you die or if you should become incapacitated, ensuring that loved ones are provided for, and that your health care wishes are honored. This is accomplished through the preparation and/or amendment of documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives.
Probate & Trust Administration
Probate administration is a legal process by which a decedent’s estate is settled by “proving” a last will and testament in court. The court appoints an executor (personal representative), usually named in the will, giving them the legal power to dispose of the decedent’s assets as specified in the will. In the absence of a legal will, the court applies laws of intestacy in order to settle the estate.
Trust administration is the process by which the trustee transfers property from a decedent to that individual’s beneficiaries who are identified in the decedent’s living trust. It is recommended that the trustee work with an attorney to facilitate the many steps, including notice to all beneficiaries and heirs, paying decedent’s debts, filing tax returns, keeping a detailed accounting, and transferring property.
Probate & Trust Litigation
Probate and trust litigation seeks resolution in court when a contest arises over a person’s death or incapacity. Situations that lead to probate/trust litigation include challenges to the validity of a will or trust, dispute over wording or construction of a will or trust, contests over the appointment of a guardian or conservator, suits by beneficiaries against a fiduciary for failing to act in accordance with the law or legal documents, and suits against an individual for the financial abuse of an elder.
Conservatorship Administration & Litigation
Conservatorship Administration involves a court case in which a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (a “conservator”) to care for another adult (the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.
Conservatorship Litigation seeks resolution in court when a contest arises over the appointment of a conservator, or the failure of a conservator to act in accordance with the law or legal documents, or for the financial abuse of a conservatee.
A guardianship is a court case that appoints a person who is not the parent to take care of a minor child. In California, there are two types of guardianships: guardianship of the person (legal custody and responsibility for the minor) and guardianship of the estate (legal responsibility to manage the minor’s assets). A guardian is responsible for the minor’s food, shelter, health care, education, and emotional and physical well-being.
Family law is an area of practice dealing with legal issues involving family relationships, such as divorce, legal separation, community property division, child custody, child support, spousal support, restraining orders, and attorney’s fees.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third person helps the parties reach a voluntary resolution of a dispute. Mediation is an informal, confidential, and flexible process in which the mediator helps the parties to understand the interests of everyone involved, and their practical and legal choices. It can help people resolve probate, trust, family, civil, and other matters in a less adversarial setting.
Real property law involves the application of legal skills in matters related to real property from everyday transactions to disputes.