Will

A will is a legal document that coordinates the distribution of your assets after death and can appoint guardians for minor children.  It allows you to communicate your wishes clearly and precisely.
If you die without a will, the state of California will decide how to distribute your assets and will choose the guardian for your minor children.

Living Trust

Does a Will help you avoid probate? No. If you die leaving more than $150,000 in directly owned assets, your estate needs to go through a California court-managed process called “probate."
Why do most Californians try to avoid probate? 
Because it is expensive (up to 4% of your estate); it is slow (usually takes 1-2 years to complete); it is public. 
Do you want to avoid probate?
You need a trust.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document authorizing a person to act as an agent on your behalf. This document is only effective during your lifetime, not after your death. A Power of Attorney can be used to transact various financial-related tasks if you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so for yourself.

If you do become incapacitated without having assigned power of attorney, the court will step in to appoint a conservator. Why do you want to avoid it? Because it is expensive, it is slow and it is public.  Moreover, the person chosen by court may not be someone you would have picked.

Advance Health Care Directive

Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) is a primary and more universal document in the process of advance care planning. It gives instructions about your health care and/or appoints someone to make medical treatment decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. 

On a more practical level, it gives you the opportunity to share your “Five Wishes": 
Wish 1: The person I want to make health care decisions for me when I can't.
Wish 2: The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want.
Wish 3: How comfortable I want to be.
Wish 4: How I want people to treat me.
Wish 5: What I want my loved ones to know.

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, prohibits health care providers from releasing medical information about you unless you sign a medical release form allowing them to do so.
Your signed HIPAA medical release form includes the names of the people you would like to have access to your medical information. It is especially important if you become unexpectedly incapacitated and need the immediate help of your family members or friends.

Guardianship Nomination for Minor Children

If you have minor children, you need a Will or a Guardianship Nomination. A guardian of a minor is usually appointed when there is an incapacity, disability or death of the legal parent. A guardianship nomination dictates who is to care for your children. If you do not appoint a guardian in writing and become incapacitated or deceased, the State of California may select a guardian for your minor children. 

Funding

Trust funding is an essential element in estate planning. Without funding assets to the client's trust, the trust is not able to accomplish client's goals effectively or work as designed. We will create deeds for any real estate placed into your trust, help you with various necessary forms, and assist in transferring non-real estate assets. 

Trust Revisions and Restatements

An estate plan can only be good and effective if it is up to date. It is important to review your estate plan every three to five years, and after any major life changes. You may need amendments to original documents that were correct at the time of signing but now need changes. 
If you have had an estate plan but are unsure whether your plan is still accurate, we can review it. Never attempt to modify your trust on your own.

Probate

Losing a loved one can throw you into a complex and confusing world of probate and estate law. Probate is a court-supervised process where a deceased person’s property is changed to the name of the person or persons who are to inherit it. 
If you find yourself in charge of a loved one's estate, you probably don't know where to start. We are here to help.  

Medi-Cal Planning

Government programs such as Medi-Cal can provide invaluable health care services for seniors and persons with disabilities in time of need to cover a stay in a nursing home or in-home care. However, Medi-Cal has very strict and complicated eligibility requirements.

We advise clients in navigating the Medi-Cal rules and regulations and assist in qualifying our clients for Medi-Cal benefits through the use of trusts, asset conversions and other techniques.