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Estate plans aren't just for the wealthy -- if you have assets, you need a plan.


If you have children, you need a plan.

Estate Planning

The Estate Plan

A comprehensive estate plan typically includes a will, living trust, durable power of attorney, advance healthcare directive and other estate planning documents to help ensure your wishes are carried out. A prudent estate plan also specifies how your wealth will be managed, distributed, and protected, while potentially reducing taxes and other estate administration expenses.

Create your will

A will, also called a “last will and testament,” is usually, but not always, a one-shot distribution of one’s assets upon his or her death.  In order for property to be distributed pursuant to a will, a court proceeding called probate is usually required.  A probate proceeding usually

takes a minimum of one year, and often much longer.  Attorney fees for the distribution of property pursuant to a will are fixed under California law, and can be quite expensive. However, depending upon the size of the estate, a will may be the best choice.

Create a Trust

A will, also called a “last will and testament,” is usually, but not always, a one-shot distribution of one’s assets upon his or her death. 


In order for property to be distributed pursuant to a will, a court proceeding called probate is usually required.  A probate proceeding usually takes a minimum of one year, and often much longer.  Attorney fees for the distribution of property pursuant to a will are fixed under California law, and can be quite expensive. However, depending upon the size of the estate, a will may be the best choice.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney operates during a person’s life. It's designed to make certain that a person’s financial are taken care of by someone you choose. 


The power of attorney grants another person(s), the right to sign documents on behalf of a person. If a person has a trusted agent, a durable power of attorney can provide much peace of mind. 


Very often, spousal partners grant each other such powers.  A person can choose whether the powers take effect immediately, or only upon the determination by a medical professional that a person can no longer act for her/himself.


Health Care Directive

The power of attorney relates to a person’s financial health.  An advance health care directive relates to the health of the body.  


This document allows a person to name an agent or agents to make medical decisions in the event the person cannot do so him or herself.  


Such decisions include: 

  • What to do if a person is in a vegetative state and is expected to remain so; 
  • The use of painkillers; and whether or not so-called heroic measures are to be used, and in what specific circumstances. 
  • Notification to be an organ donor. 
  • Burial wishes 

What is a trust?

What is a trust and who needs it?

Wills vs. Trusts

WILL VS. TRUST: IS ONE BETTER THAN THE OTHER?

When it comes to planning your estate, you might be wondering whether you should use a will or a trust (or both). Understanding the similarities and the differences between these two important documents may help you decide which strategy is better for you. You can read more here OR we can talk about in person. Over coffee maybe?

What is a will?

A will generally requires probate, which is a public process that may be time-consuming and expensive. A trust may avoid the probate process.  


If you own real estate or hold property in more than one state, your will would have to be filed for probate in each state where you own property or assets. Generally, this is not necessary with a revocable living trust.  

  •   A trust can be used to manage and administer assets you leave to minor children or dependents after your death.  
  • In a will, you can name a guardian for minor children or dependents, which you cannot do with a trust.
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What is a trust?

A trust document establishes a legal relationship in which you, set up the trust, which holds property managed by a trustee for the benefit of another (beneficiary).


Unlike a will, a trust may be used to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated.  


  • A revocable living trust is most often used as part of a basic estate plan. 
  • A living trust is created while you're living and takes effect immediately. You can add and remove assets thereafter.