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Estate planning is a fairly straightforward process. It consists of assembling information about your assets, holdings, and directives about what you want to be done with them when you pass or become incapacitated. You maintain all control until you wish to turn it over to your executor. Making the investment in a trustworthy estate plan means relieving your loved ones of the nightmare of having the court step in and take over, the burden of legal battles, or even the insecurity of not knowing how to fulfill your wishes.

We’ll take away your concerns and replace them with a plan you understand, and peace of mind knowing everything is in place. We treat every person with compassion, patience, dignity, and respect. We never charge to answer questions or explain anything until you are satisfied. 

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Included in All Plans

Estate Plan Documents

An estate plan is essentially a collection of legal documents that spells out what happens to your possessions and holdings at time of transition or in case of becoming incapacitated. Your instructions direct a specified person to distribute your assets to the beneficiaries you name and in the manner of your choosing. 

Last Will & Testament

This is a legal document that says who will inherit your property when you pass. California law requires that a will be witnessed by two people to be valid. If you don’t use a will...​

Revocable Living Trust

This document lists your property and who you want to give it to when you pass. Your trust is the place we record all your wishes and make sure they are carried out as you intended...

Power of Attorney

This lets you name a trusted person who will have the power to act for you, and make decisions on your behalf, when you are not mentally or physically able to act for yourself...

Health Care Directive

This document determines who oversees your medical care, makes health care decisions for you, and your specific instructions in the event you become incapacitated...

Property Deed

A deed is a legal document that lets you transfer ownership of real property, such as a house or land. There are three different types of deeds that you'll want to consider...

Guardianships

Guardianships are temporary legal relationships where an adult who isn't the child's parent provides care and manages the child's finances until they reach adult age...

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We Make This Effortless For You

Nobody needs anything more to feel anxious or stressed about these days. When you do your estate planning with us, we make sure this process takes away a potential headache and replaces it with peace of mind about your legacy. 

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Additional Services

All of these services are included as part of our comprehensive estate plan packages. However, situations do arise where a good estate plan is not in place. If that happens, reach out to our team. We can assist you at any stage of the estate planning, settlement, and administration processes. You do not have to tackle any of this alone.

Probate Administration

If you find yourself dealing with Probate Court because someone did not put an estate plan together, we can help.

Special Needs Trusts

For those situations where a dependent needs specialized care and support in the event of guardian incapacity or transition.

Amendments to Plans

We include a review and amendment option in all of our packages, but if you already have a plan and want it checked and updated.

Trust Administration

When it's time to carry out the wishes of one's estate plan, we're there to make sure it goes smoothly and as intended.

Property Deeds

Transfers of properties must be handled correctly to avoid costly mistakes, especially with changes in law on the horizon.

Asset Protection

We can assist you with approaches to shield your assets from creditors, seizure, taxes, and other potential legal challenges.

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Four Steps To Reliable Assurance

Eight weeks from now, you can have a complete and solid estate plan in place. In just  four meetings, scheduled two weeks apart, we structure your plan to serve your wishes. Instead of more searching, wondering, and stressing, let’s get this done and have you get on with your life. Our expert team handles all the work. We make it easy to have the assurance you deserve. 

Step One
Intake Meeting
STEP ONE

We interview you about your individual needs. Then, we prepare rough drafts, provide a tailored action list, and table of assets to track the information you'll want to assemble.

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Draft of Plan
step two

We go over the draft version of the documents with you, line by the line, so you can understand them and make sure that they completely reflect your intentions and decisions.

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Review & Sign
STEP THREE

We use documents that are drafted by attorneys but read in plain English. These documents are easy to read and understand, both by you and anyone else you designate.

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Table of Assets
STEP FOUR

After the documents have been signed, your assets and real property must be transferred to your trust to avoid probate (“funding the trust”). This is the most important part.

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FAQs

These are the questions we hear most often. Many other questions about details are answered on our Video FAQs page (coming soon).

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Learn How It Works

Basics of Estate Planning for 2022

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Wonderful Feedback From Our Clients

Taking care of people is what motivates us. We think that’s best expressed through a blend of competency, listening, compassion, and integrity. Your complete satisfaction isn’t quite enough for our taste. We’d like to ensure your complete delight with the whole process and end result.

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It's Easier Than You Think

Let's discuss how you can have the perfect plan for your specific needs. After a friendly 20-minute conversation, you'll come away with a basic understanding of estate planning, what's involved, knowing what you do and don't need in your plan, a flat fee and timeline for your customized package. Nothing binding, stress free, call us to explore.

If you have an existing estate plan that you would like reviewed, we offer that service at low to no cost, depending upon complexity. Then, if needed, we can make amendments to update your plan due to changes in the law, your circumstances, or your wishes. You remain in control throughout the process and until you turn matters over to your chosen executor.

If someone has passed without a will or trust in place, we can assist you with probate. If some plan is in place but not complete or thorough, complicated or difficult to understand, we can help with the administration of the plan. 

Estate planning is all we do and we are the best at in Northern California. If there is a question, concern, or topic around estate planning that you’d like to discuss, feel free to be in touch. We never charge to talk.

Last Will & Testament

A will is a legal document that says who will inherit your property when you die. Wills are not notarized, but California requires that a will be witnessed by two people for it to be valid in the eyes of the law. If you don’t use a will, or some other legal method to transfer your property when you die, state law determines what happens to your possessions, and your estate will go through probate.

Wills are used along with living trusts in most estate plans. You can think of them as kind of a backup plan for the living trust. Imagine that you won a big lottery prize and died from the excitement. Those winnings would not be covered by your living trust so they would go through probate before your loved ones could inherit the money. They would probably have to wait six months to a year and lose a significant percentage to legal and court fees. If you named someone in your will to receive any of your assets that aren’t covered by your living trust, they would get the asset without going through probate. You could also include instructions in your will for how these additional assets are divided among your beneficiaries. This way your wishes will be followed.

A will serves other purposes as well:

  • You can name alternate people to inherit your property in case your first choices change before you die
  • You can name an executor who will over see the distribution of your property after you die

Revocable Living Trust

A trust is simply an arrangement where you (we call you the trustee) holds a legal title to valuable property (we call them assets) for another person (they are called the beneficiary). Simply put, the living trust we create for you is a signed and notarized legal document that lists your property and who you want to give it to when you die. It’s called a living trust because we create it for you while you are living. You will be the trustee of your own living trust, which means that you keep full control over all property listed “held” in trust for as long as you live. Your trust is the way we can record all your wishes and make sure they are carried out.

You can change your trust at any time, and it’s important to review your trust anytime your assets, or your wishes, change. Your trust will designate someone (your successor trustee) who will take care of your trust after you are gone, and make sure your wishes are carried out and it contains all the instructions your executor will need to properly distribute your assets to the correct beneficiaries. Different kinds of living trusts can help you avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, or set up long-term property management.

Most living trusts are “revocable” living trusts because you can change your trust at any time, and it’s important to review your trust anytime your assets, or your wishes change. You can even revoke them completely so they don’t exist anymore.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you name a trusted person who will have the power to act for you, and make decisions for you, when you are not mentally or physically able to act for yourself. They call them durable because the document remains in effect even though you are incapacitated and unable to act on your own. Ordinary powers of attorney are not durable because they automatically end if the person who makes them loses the mental capacity to act.

There are usually two types of durable powers of attorney that allow someone to make decisions for you regarding either medical health care issues, or financial issues. It’s recommended that you have both of these documents in place. You can name the same person for both powers of attorney if you wish, but separate documents will keep privileged medical information away from people who only need to know financial details, and vice versa.

Property Deed

A deed is a legal document that lets you transfer ownership of real property, such as a house or land. A deed must contain several items to be valid:

1. It must list the names of the current owner(s) and the new owner(s)

2. It must be signed by the current owner(s)

3. It must contain the exact legal description of the real property that is being transferred

There are several types of deeds and we can discuss your options when we meet. Here are the most common types of property deeds and how they are typically used:

Warranty Deed: a warranty deed transfers ownership and provides additional promises, including that the transferring party has good title (in other words, the property is free of liens and claims of ownership). If the promises made turn out to be untrue, the transferring party agrees to compensate the buyer.

Grant Deed: a grant deed transfers ownership and traditionally promises that the property hasn’t already been transferred to someone else.

Quitclaim Deed: a quitclaim deed transfers whatever ownership rights that the transferring party may have on the property. Quitclaim deeds are useful for transferring rights when it’s unclear exactly what those rights are.