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What is Estate Planning?

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Estate Planning Services

Wills

Trusts

Administration of Trusts and Estates

Trust and Estate Litigation Process

Getting Help from a Trust and Estate Law Firm


Estate Planning Services

There are many different reasons you may require estate planning services, such as preserving the wealth of your family, ensuring distribution of property and assets to your surviving spouse and children, funding education for children or grandchildren, or making sure that your assets are given to a charitable organization of your choosing.

As one of the premier law firms in California, our attorneys have the experience to draft the necessary documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event you pass away or become mentally incapacitated.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of making arrangements for your assets and property for the future. Some of the common forms of estate planning include drafting a will or a trust. You can also choose to plan for health issues by creating health care directives, such as appointing someone power of attorney in the event you cannot make your own medical decisions. It is a good idea to engage in some form of estate planning to ensure that your wishes are honored when you pass away or if you become mentally incapacitated.

Overview of Estate Planning Services

When you hire an attorney to handle your estate planning needs, there are certain services you can choose to incorporate into your estate plans. These services include wills, trusts, health care directives, tuition funds, and other plans.

Some tasks involved in estate planning that our attorneys can assist you with include naming a guardian for your dependents, establishing an executor of your estate to ensure the terms of your will are properly followed, setting up your funeral arrangements per your wishes, naming a person to hold the title of power of attorney to direct distribution of other assets and financial investments, creating or updating your beneficiaries on things like IRAs, life insurance, and 401(k) accounts. We can also assist you in establishing trust accounts in the names of your beneficiaries and work with you to minimize estate taxes where possible.

Estate Planning Strategies

The best estate planning strategy for you will depend on the assets you wish to protect or distribute and the method by which you plan to do so. One of the most important estate planning strategies is to have a plan for handling taxes. When dealing with monetary assets, one strategy to minimize estate taxes is to create a trust for a beneficiary. If you plan to donate money to charity, you can plan to make your donations while you are alive, which can reduce the size of your estate, having the effect of lowering your estate tax bill.

Creating an Estate Plan

Creating an estate plan that works for you can be done in a few easy steps. As with most legal matters, it is a good idea to hire an attorney to assist you. The starting point for most people should be to have a will drafted. If however, you have assets totaling more than $150,000, or an interest in real estate greater than $50,000, you may wish to have trusts created for your beneficiaries to help them avoid having to go through probate court.

Additional steps in the process include creating an advanced health care directive (which gives another person the power to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so) and naming a person to be the financial power of attorney. Next, you may wish to choose someone to manage any monetary assets or property that you pass on to your dependents, particularly your children or minors.

After you have completed the above steps, you may want to consider whether obtaining life insurance if that makes sense for you. If it does, purchase life insurance. The next step in creating an estate plan is to name beneficiaries for your retirement accounts, bank accounts, and life insurance and file the required documents.

Next, you may wish to make arrangements for any funeral-related expenses. You can set up an account specifically for this purpose which will make it much easier on your loved ones at a time that will be quite difficult for them. At this time, you will also want to consider your end-of-life wishes regarding organ donation and whether you want a burial or cremation. If you own a business, it is also important to create a succession plan.

What You Will Need for Estate Planning

The estate planning process requires several documents. You will want to do a thorough review or all assets and property you own to ensure that you are accounting for everything that you own that you wish to include in your will and estate. You will also want to review insurance policies and other documentation to make sure that you are following the proper procedures to name your beneficiaries. You also need titles to any property you own, as well as any financial records for any accounts and funds that you own. Having all of the proper financial documentation of assets and property will help you and your attorney in the estate planning process.

Storing Your Estate Plan and Important Documents

Once you have finalized your estate plan, you need to be sure that you keep the associated documents in a safe and accessible location. Keep in mind that you will want your will to be in an accessible location so that it is found. The last thing you want is to go through the process of carefully making an estate plan and then it cannot be followed because your will was not found.

Some people may choose to keep a copy of their will in a safe deposit box. If you choose this option, it is a good idea to put the box in the name of your revocable living trust. If you put the box in the name of your revocable living trust, then the successor trustee of your trust will be able to access the box and the will inside. If your estate plan does not include a revocable living trust, you can also opt to have someone you trust added as a joint owner to the box. They will then be able to access the safe deposit box when the time comes.

Another option for storing your estate plan and associated documents is to leave it with your estate planning attorney. The executor of your estate or the designated personal representative are also other options with whom you can leave your estate planning documentation.

Wills

What is a Will?

A will, otherwise known as a "last will and testament," is a document that sets forth a person's wishes in the event that they become medically incapacitated or pass away. Wills can be used for a number of different purposes, including the following:

  • Naming a person to become the guardian of your children and property after you die

  • Serving as a backup to a living trust

  • Establishing how estate taxes and any debts should be paid

  • Naming an executor to make sure the terms of the will are carried out.

Types of Wills

There are several different types of wills that you can choose from. The first of these is a simple will.

  • A simple will is useful for someone with a small estate. This type of will contains a designation of the executor of the will and simple distribution of assets. You can also name a guardian for your minor children by using a simple will, as well as appointing a person to manage the financial assets left to your children.

  • A pour-over will is a testamentary device wherein the writer of a will creates a trust, and decrees in the will that the property in his or her estate at the time of his or her death shall be distributed to the Trustee of the trust.

  • A joint will is one that is executed by two different people, typically spouses. Generally, a joint will is created by a married couple who agrees to leave everything to the other spouse when the first one dies. The joint will then dictates who gets the remaining assets after the second individual dies.

  • A living will is a will is one that establishes your wishes in the event you become medically incapacitated. Typically, a living will dictates whether or not you want to have extraordinary measures used to prolong your life (such as life support) if the circumstances warrant it. A living will is only in effect if you are unable to make these types of medical decisions on your own.

  • Handwritten wills are those that are completely handwritten. These wills are also called holographic wills. Holographic wills do not have witnesses and are signed only by the testator (drafter of the will). This type of will is not recognized in all states, but it is a valid form of will in the state of California.

  • An oral will, also known as a nuncupative will, is one that is spoken orally to witnesses rather than being written down. There are very few states that recognize oral wills as being valid, and California is not one of them.

Benefits to Setting Up a Will

There are many benefits to setting up a will. By having a will drafted, you are able to ensure that your wishes regarding your property and assets are honored upon your death. A living will or advanced health care directive, can benefit you by having your medical-related wishes stated ahead of time to be followed in the event you are unable to make medical decisions on your own. Wills allow you to have a say in where your assets are to go once you pass away, so you can rest easy knowing that your family members or anyone you choose will be cared for when you die.

What to Include in Your Will

When you create a will, there are certain things you want to make sure you include. There are three main aspects you should consider when having your will drafted. The first of these is guardianship if you have minor children. Your will can designate the guardian who will take care of your children if you unexpectedly pass away. It can also state a financial guardian to be appointed for your children to manage the assets you leave to them before they turn 18.

Next, you want to include exactly how you want all of your assets to be distributed and to whom they should go to. Finally, your will should include your wishes for the distribution of any property you own.

When You Should Set Up a Will

You may be wondering when you should create your will. The best answer to this is now, assuming you are over the age of 18. It is an unfortunate reality that anything can happen at any time, so it is best to be prepared and make sure that your children and loved ones will be taken care of according to your wishes. It is especially important to get a will set up once you have children.

Steps in Setting Up Your Will

Setting up your will involves several steps. Ideally, your very first step will be meeting with an attorney because this process will go much smoother with an attorney handling the drafting of your will. Once this process has been set in motion, the next step is to gather up all of your relevant financial documents for your assets and insurance policies. Next, you will need to decide exactly what type of will is best for you and how you want to proceed with the distribution of your assets and property. Once you have completed the above steps, your attorney will draft the will for you, and it will then be your responsibility to keep it in a safe place to ensure it is found and used when you pass on.

What is a Will Executor?

A will executor is responsible for carrying out the deceased individual's financial obligations. In your will, you can choose to designate the executor of your will, or in some situations, the will executor will be appointed by the court. The responsibilities of the executor of a will include tracking down all assets and paying any debts and taxes from the estate. The will executor will also be responsible for making sure that the named beneficiaries in the will receive the property and assets to which they are entitled.

Cost of Creating a Will

The total cost of creating a will depends on what type of will you opt to have drafted. Of course, if you have a complicated financial situation, it will likely cost more to have your will drafted since it will take more time to complete. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to learn more about the cost for the type of will you wish to have created.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Will Happen If I Die Without a Will?

If you die without a will, then under California law your assets and property will go through the probate process. This process involves your assets and property getting distributed according to the laws of the state of California. Typically, if you are married, your property will go to your spouse if it was acquired after the marriage and then any property acquired before the marriage will be split between your surviving spouse and your children. If there are no blood relatives, generally your estate will then go to the state.

Is There a Minimum Amount I Must Be Worth to Create a Will?

No, there is not a minimum amount that you must have in order to create a will. You can create a will even with very few assets. Having few assets, especially if you are young, should not hold you back from creating a will.

How Do I Know Which Type of Will Is Best for My Needs?

There are several different types of wills you can create, and which one is best for you is very dependent on your individual circumstances. For this reason, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney who can assess your needs and work with you to develop the type of will that fits you best.

Trusts

What is a Trust?

A trust is a tool used in estate planning that allows you to manage your property while you are alive and also to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes upon your death. Trusts are often an important part of a person's estate plan.

Types of Trusts

There are five main types of trusts that you should be aware of while planning your estate. These types of trusts include living trusts, revocable living trusts, irrevocable living trusts, special needs trusts, and spendthrift trusts.

Living Trust

A living trust is created by the grantor during their lifetime; and it goes into effect while they are still alive. One major advantage to creating a living trust is to avoid probate, which can tie up assets and property for a long period of time and can also become quite expensive. Another advantage to having a living trust is that you can have some privacy, as the associated documents do not become public record like they do if it goes through probate.

A disadvantage to creating a living trust is that there is a lot of work involved and a lot of paperwork required to maintain the living trust.

Living Trust - Frequently Asked Questions

Once everything is distributed to the beneficiaries of the trust, what happens to the trust?

After the beneficiaries have received their proper distributions of assets from the trust, the trust is then extinguished and no longer exists.

Is it expensive to have a living trust?

There will likely be some additional costs to having a trust created, notary fees associated, and recorder's fees with the filing of any deeds into the trust, but you do have the benefit of saving a vast amount of money on court costs since you will avoid probate court. However, you should be aware that the trustee that manages the trust should be entitled to compensation for the work that they do to administer the living trust. Their reasonable fees may be paid out of the living trust.

Living trust - Statistics

Over half of adults living in the United States do not have a will or a living trust. Approximately one out of every four Americans live to at least age 90, and many of these individuals suffer from some form of dementia, so it is important to create a will or trust that suits your needs before you suffer any significant mental decline.

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California Living Trust

The standards for living trusts vary a bit from state to state. The state of California does not use the Uniform Probate Code, so the probate process in California is a bit more complex than it is in other states. For this reason, creating a living trust in order to avoid the probate process is a popular choice in this state.

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is generally used as another term for a living trust, and the concept is basically the same. Choosing a revocable living trust to incorporate into your estate plan is beneficial if you wish to avoid the probate process, which can be particularly lengthy in California. Another benefit to choosing a revocable trust is the flexibility. You can make changes to a revocable living trust as needed throughout your lifetime, which is helpful in the event of a divorce or additional child, or some other major life event that may alter your wishes for the distribution of your assets at the time of your passing. The major disadvantage to a revocable living trust is essentially the same as it is for a living trust as they are basically the same thing. This disadvantage is that there may be significant maintenance involved while the trust is in existence and this will involve additional work to be performed by the trustee, resulting in additional trustee fees.

Revocable Living Trust - Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Be a Beneficiary of My Revocable Living Trust?

You can make anyone a beneficiary of your revocable living trust, such as your spouse, children, or other family members. You are also able to make an organization a beneficiary of your trust, such as an educational institution or charitable organization.

How Do I Know the Trustee of My Revocable Living Trust is Acting in the Best Interest of the Trust?

You can be assured that the trustee responsible for managing your revocable living trust is acting in the best interest of the trust because they owe a fiduciary duty to the trust. This means that they are legally obligated to act in the best interests of the trust, or they can be held liable for their failure to do so.

Revocable Living Trust - Statistics

On average, going through the probate process tends to take a year or more to become final. Due to this statistic, it is beneficial to most people to choose a revocable living trust in order to put their beneficiaries in the best position to avoid probate. A 2017 survey done by Caring.com revealed that only about 36% of Americans with minor children have a living trust or a will in place.

Irrevocable Living Trust

An irrevocable living trust is a trust that cannot be modified or changed in any way after it has been created, except in some extraordinary circumstances. As the name indicates, it also cannot be revoked.

One major advantage to establishing an irrevocable trust is that property in that trust is not included in the valuation of your estate for estate tax purposes. This is a significant benefit if you have a very large estate. Another advantage to creating an irrevocable living trust is that your assets may be protected from creditors in the event you are sued down the road. Since the assets in the trust are owned by the trustee, these assets cannot be taken from the trust to satisfy any judgment against you.

The disadvantage to an irrevocable living trust is clear - you are unable to change or modify it once you have created it. Whether the advantages of an irrevocable living trust outweigh the major disadvantage is entirely dependent on your own individual circumstances. Your attorney will be able to help you decide what type of trust is right for you.

Irrevocable Living Trust - Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any way to modify an irrevocable living trust in California?

In very limited circumstances, you may be able to modify an irrevocable living trust in California. One way to do this is to have all beneficiaries agree to the modification and petition the court for permission. Another reason this type of trust could be modified is in a scenario where the principle of the trust is not enough money to conform to changed tax law or for the trust to be administered.

Who can be the trustee for my irrevocable living trust?

You may choose a trusted friend or family member, or you may opt to have an accountant, professional trustee, or an attorney be the trustee for your trust. Any trustee selected should be trustworthy and able to take the responsibility on.

Irrevocable Living Trust - Statistics

A survey done by Caring.com in 2017 showed that only 42% of Americans have a living trust or a will in place. Additionally, it is estimated that Americans spend about 2 billion dollars each year on probate costs, so this is just another reason why an irrevocable trust is worth considering.

Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is created specifically for beneficiaries that have special needs, such as physical or mental disabilities that prohibit them from being able to manage their own finances. One advantage of creating a special needs trust for a beneficiary with special needs is that the trust generally will not impact any government benefits they may be receiving for their disability.

Another advantage of this type of trust is that the funds in the trust are protected from any judgments, so if the beneficiary is sued, the funds in the trust cannot be used to satisfy a judgment against the beneficiary. There are no significant disadvantages to creating a special needs trust where the beneficiary truly has special needs.

Special Needs Trust - Frequently Asked Questions

Should I still create a special needs trust if the beneficiary does not use government benefits?

Yes, you should still create a special needs trust even if your beneficiary is not currently using government benefits. The first reason for this is because no one can predict the future. The beneficiary to the special needs trust may not currently be utilizing government benefits, but it does not mean that they may not need them in the future. Additionally, special needs trusts are geared towards the specific needs of the disabled beneficiary, so under these circumstances, a special needs trust is worth considering.

How does the beneficiary get access to the special needs trust?

In order to use the funds in the special needs trust, the beneficiary will need to go through the trustee. The trustee will be able to purchase services, products, and pay for medical expenses and other needs for the beneficiary.

Special Needs Trust - Statistics

According to the National Organization on Disability, there are over 41 million Americans who have some form of a disability. Additionally, over 75% of special needs adults are unemployed. For these reasons, special needs trusts are often necessary and strongly benefit disabled beneficiaries.

Spendthrift Trust

A spendthrift trust is a trust in which the beneficiary has limited access to the trust principal funds. Typically, these types of trusts are created by grantors who have concerns that their chosen beneficiaries will not use the funds or property wisely. By using this type of fund, the grantor can ensure that the funds are not used up all at once by the beneficiary.

The major advantage of creating a spendthrift trust is that you can protect the beneficiary from creditors or the impulse to spend the funds quickly and unwisely. The disadvantage to creating a spendthrift trust is that in the event the beneficiary does need access to the principal funds, there is a lengthy process for them to go through and establish that they need access for a valid and approved reason.

Spendthrift Trust - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the trustee in a spendthrift trust?

The trustee responsible for managing the spendthrift trust you create will have varying degrees of responsibility depending on how much power you wish for them to have. For example, you can choose to have the trustee make payments to the beneficiary, or you can opt to have the trustee in full control of the funds and any access for any reason would then need to go through the trustee.

How do I know if the beneficiary to my trust would require a spendthrift trust?

Whether or not the beneficiary you have chosen needs a spendthrift trust is entirely up to you. Some of the reasons a grantor may choose a spendthrift trust over another option are if they feel the beneficiary may be careless with the money, or if they are concerned about the beneficiary having an addiction that could cause irresponsible use of the money. Another reason for choosing a spendthrift trust would be if the grantor thinks the beneficiary may be easily deceived or may fall into significant debt with creditors.

Spendthrift Trust - Statistics

A study performed by the US Legal Wills revealed that people with higher incomes tended to have a will and trust plan in place; however, these estate plans were often outdated. In addition, spendthrift trusts in California have recently been given a closer look due to case law that developed in the last few years. It is important to have a qualified attorney handle your estate plans, including spendthrift trusts, in order to ensure your wishes are properly carried out.

Who Can Be a Trustee?

If you are considering creating a trust, one of the first considerations is who you will designate as the trustee. This is a very important consideration, not to be taken lightly. A trusted family member or advisor may be a great fit, as well as an accountant, attorney, or professional fiduciary. You should be mindful of your selected trustee's ability, desire to act, and where they may be physically located, which could create additional costs or constraints for your estate and trustee.

Benefits to Setting Up Trusts

There are many benefits to setting up a trust. First and foremost, there are many different options available for trusts, so you can choose one that best supports your needs. Depending on the trust that you choose, there are a variety of benefits. These benefits tend to include having more power over the distribution of trust funds (how they are distributed over time), as well as using trusts in order to reduce taxes. You can also use trusts to help ensure that the funds will actually end up in the beneficiary's hands, rather than going to creditors or used to satisfy debts.

When You Should Set Up A Trust

Your attorney will be able to discuss your individual circumstances with you and go over the best options for your needs. Generally, the best time to set up a trust is now. There are a variety of different trusts that suit different needs, so in order to make sure your wishes are carried out, it is a good idea to set up your trust as soon as possible.

How to Set Up a Trust

Once you have decided to set up a trust, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can advise you on what type of trust is best for you. There are several steps involved in setting up a trust, which can vary depending on what type of trust you choose. In general, you will need to provide all documentation of your assets and property and file the proper paperwork to choose your beneficiaries. Then, you will choose the terms of your will and trust in order to best suit your needs.

The Cost of Creating a Trust

The costs involved in creating a trust will vary depending on the type of trust you have chosen, as well as the amount and type of assets and property you own. The best way to determine a ballpark number of what the cost will be to set up a trust is to meet with one of our experienced attorneys who can help you decide what trust is best for you and review your assets and give you a heads up on how much it may cost. Contact our office to schedule a consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Trusts

How do I know which type of trust to choose?

The answer to this question will require an in-depth look at your finances as well as a discussion about what exactly you wish to accomplish through the trust or trusts you want to set up. Your attorney will help guide you to a trust plan that suits your needs.

If I already have a will, why would I need to create a trust?

A trust is just one of the many aspects of estate planning. For some people, a simple will is all they will need to carry out their wishes. For others, creating a trust is a more appropriate means of accomplishing their goals. What is best for you depends on many factors, including your personal goals and assets.

Wills Versus Trusts

While both wills and trusts are a form of estate planning, there are significant differences between the two types of plans. The main distinction is that typically, a will only goes into effect once you pass on, while a trust can go into effect immediately. Another difference is that a will generally covers all assets and property that you own, while creating a trust will only affect the specific assets that you include in the trust. Also, a will generally must pass through probate, while a trust may allow your beneficiaries to avoid the probate process. Wills can be a good estate planning option for someone with simple assets to resolve, while trusts tend to be beneficial for more complex matters and larger estates.

Power of Attorney

The term power of attorney means to have the authority to act on behalf of someone else, generally for legal, medical, or financial matters. It can be limited to a specific area and time period or may be more general.

Medical Power of Attorney

If you give someone medical power of attorney over you, that allows them to make medical and any end-of-life decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so. Of course, choosing someone to fill this role is a serious decision to make, and you will want to be someone you have full trust in to carry out your wishes.

Financial Power of Attorney

Designating someone as having financial power of attorney allows them to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. You have the ability to grant this person full power over finances, or you can limit their power of attorney. A financial power of attorney can go into effect immediately.

Durable Power of Attorney

The term durable power of attorney refers to the length of time the power of attorney is in effect. If you opt to give someone durable power of attorney, it will automatically end at the time of your death. It allows the person you designate to have the power of attorney to make decisions on your behalf even if you are incapacitated or very ill.

Aside from death, there are also other circumstances in which durable power of attorney may end, which include divorce in some states (if your power of attorney was your spouse), invalidation by a court, or you may also choose to end the power of attorney at any time if you are mentally competent to do so.

Regular Power of Attorney

A regular power of attorney is only effective when the principal (the person who the person with the power of attorney is acting on behalf of) is alive and has the legal capacity to act. The power of attorney can be revoked at any time, and if the principal becomes incapacitated, the regular power of attorney will end. If it is your desire to have the person designated as your power of attorney act on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to act on your own, then you need to give that person durable power of attorney rather than regular power of attorney.

Estate Planning Attorney

An estate planning attorney can assist you in developing an estate plan to manage your assets and finances for the future. Your estate planning attorney can help you decide what type of estate plan best suits your needs and can work with you to develop an estate plan that carries out your end-of-life wishes, including medical decisions through a living will, as well as distribution to beneficiaries of any assets of the estate.

Administration of Trusts and Estate

Trust and Estate Law

Trust and estate law involves the legal process and proceedings of managing and distributing assets and property of one's estate. There are often several people involved in the process. The first is the grantor, who is the person whose estate is at issue. Next, there are one or more beneficiaries who are to receive assets or property from the estate at a designated time chosen by the grantor, which may be at the time of the grantor's death or at some other point in time, depending on the grantor's estate plans. A trustee is a person designated to manage and distribute a trust if a trust is included in the grantor's estate.

Trust Administrator

A trust administrator is an individual or an organization (such as a bank) that is appointed to have the responsibility of managing a trust for the beneficiaries. An administrator for the trust is generally appointed by the court when there is not a designated trustee named to manage the trust. The trust administrator is responsible for all aspects of managing the trust, including assessing what is included within the trust, managing the trust, and distribution of the funds.

Trust Administration Attorney

A trust administration attorney is a lawyer with experience assisting trustees and trust administrators in their legal duties. There are many responsibilities associated with being a trustee, and if the person chosen as the trustee is not an attorney, they may rightfully have some questions and concerns regarding how they should proceed.

A trust administration attorney can assist trustees and administrators by helping them handle their duties and providing legal advice when needed. This attorney can advise a trustee or administrator of the proper way to notify beneficiaries as needed, as well as helping them properly act in accordance with state and federal law.

The Trust Administration Process

The trust administration process begins once the trust has vested. The first stage in the process involves formally notifying all beneficiaries and heirs to the trust. Next, if there is property within the trust, the deed to the property must be placed in the hands of the trustee to be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. Other assets, such as investment accounts and other funds are placed in the name of the trustee who will then pay any required debts and estate taxes. After all of these things have been finalized, the trustee will then make all required distributions to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the trust.

Probate

Probate is the court process that authenticates a will if there is one, or otherwise determines how the assets of the estate are distributed. If there is a will, the court will need to verify that it is valid before the terms of the will are considered. This will typically involve a court hearing, and testimony is allowed from anyone who believes they have claim to the assets of the deceased.

The judge will appoint someone to act as the personal representative or administrator of the estate. This role requires the person receiving the appointment to settle the estate and oversee the probate process. The personal representative or administrator has several responsibilities, including locating and taking possession of any assets of the estate and identifying and notifying creditors. Additionally, this person will also have to pay any debts and prepare and file tax returns. Finally, the personal representative or administrator is responsible for distribution of the assets in accordance with the rulings by the court.

Trust and Estate Litigation

What is Trust and Estate Litigation?

When a person dies, especially someone with substantial assets, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise over the distribution of funds. Trust and estate litigation arises when someone or a group of persons challenges the will or trust terms in one or more ways. For example, though someone may have died with a will, there may be a challenge to the validity of that will. Trust and estate litigation is the process through which challenges to the distribution of trust and estate funds are resolved.

The Trust and Estate Litigation Process

The trust and estate litigation process can be lengthy and complicated. Often, litigation may involve probate and take a long time to resolve. There can be litigation or disputes at any point in the process of estate resolution.

How a Trust and Estate Litigation Attorney Can Help

If you are involved in a dispute over someone's estate or trust, a trust and estate litigation attorney can help you navigate this complex area of law. By hiring a trust and estate litigation attorney, you will have a trusted advisor to explain the relevant laws and procedures involved in the process. You will also benefit from their advice in working toward a resolution in the matter.

Getting Help from a Trust and Estate Law Firm

Whether you are looking for assistance in planning your own estate or you are in need of help as a participant in litigation over an estate, a trust and estate law firm can help you accomplish your goals. There are many different stages in the process of planning an estate and dealing with the distribution of an estate and having an experienced attorney at a trust and estate law firm on your side can make a huge difference in your end results. Do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney at a trust and estate law firm to assist you with your legal needs.

Galanti & Copenhaver-Our Firm

Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc. is a premier trust and estate law firm in the Santa Rosa and greater bay area of California. Attorney Erika Copenhaver has many years of experience handling a variety of trust and estate legal matters, such as drafting wills, trusts, and designations of power of attorney.

Ms. Copenhaver also handles matters in all areas of estate planning, from the initial petition for probate to the final distribution of estate assets. She also has experience with litigating contested estate matters, at the trial court level as well as Appellate court experience. In addition to handling trust and estate related matters, Ms. Copenhaver can assist you with the incorporation and licensing of your business. She also handles international transactional work.

Contact Our Firm

Contact us at Galanti & Copenhaver for assistance with your legal needs in the area of trust and estate law. No matter where you are at in the process, we are ready to help you achieve your estate planning goals or resolve pending estate matters in litigation. We can also help you with legal matters related to your business. At Galanti & Copenhaver, our clients are treated like family. We are happy to be of service to you throughout your time as our client, and we are always available to answer questions you may have.

Our firm offers a free consultation for potential clients. Call attorney Erika Copenhaver today at 707-867-0787 to get started today. You may also schedule an initial consultation with our office by contacting us online

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