Please reach us at (925) 913-0275 if you cannot find an answer to your question. The FAQs are divided into sections: Estate Planning, Probate, Miscellaneous, and Bankruptcy.
A process involving the counsel of professional advisors who are familiar with your goals and concerns, your assets and how they are owned, and your family structure. In plain-speak, it is how individuals manage and distribute assets when they are deceased or not well enough to do so anymore. Learn more.
Typically, an Estate Plan is a group of documents including a Last Will and Testament, a Trust (if applicable) and Financial and Health Care Powers of Attorney. Learn more.
An Estate Plan will help ensure that your wishes for the distribution of your assets end up with the right people or in the right place. Going through the process of building your Plan will offer future protection for your loved ones since the Plan states to whom your assets will go. For example, what if there was an issue with your property and/or assets? How will your social media accounts be dealt with? Will they just sit there untouched or would you like them to be deactivated? Learn more.
A Last Will and Testament (the “Will”) is a legal document which provides instructions of how assets should be divided after the drafter’s death.
No. A Will provides instructions for the legal transfer of real or personal property to the decedent’s heirs. Learn more.
A Trust is a legal document, like a Will, that appoints a person or persons (the “Trustee”) to manage a decedent’s assets and provides instructions on how those assets need to be distributed to the decedent’s chosen heirs. The primary benefit of a Trust is the avoidance of Probate.
A Revocable Living Trust is a Trust that the creators can amend from time to time.
It depends on many factors. Learn more.
No. If an executor has not been named in a Will, a Judge will appoint whoever is willing to act and files a petition for Probate in the local Probate Court. Sometimes, there are two or more people wanting to act and in that case the Judge will have to decide who should act. Learn more.
The person the Trust creator appoints to manage and distribute assets in accordance with instructions found in the Trust.
The person or organization that is entitled to receive some or all of the Decedent’s assets.
The person who causes the drafting of a Trust. Also referred to as the “Grantor.”
The person who causes the drafting of a Trust. Also referred to as the “Settlor.”
In the event the Grantor becomes disabled or otherwise can no longer manage their financial affairs, a Financial Power of Attorney appoints a person or persons who can access the Grantor’s financial assets for the Grantor’s benefit.
In the event the Grantor becomes disabled or otherwise can no longer make their own medical decisions, a Healthcare Power of Attorney appoints a person or persons who are authorized to make medical decisions for the Grantor.
A Special Needs Trust is a unique Trust designed to hold assets for the benefit of the Special Needs Individual to allow the individual to continue to receive various social benefits, including SSI and medi-cal health coverage.
Probate is a legal process where a Judge determines what the heirs will receive from the decedent’s estate. Learn more about the Myths of Probate.
It depends on the complexity of the estate. In California, Probate typically lasts about 18 months from beginning to final distribution of assets. Depending on the complexity of the estate, Probate could take even more time. Learn more about the Myths of Probate.
Probably not, but it is true that Probate is expensive. In California, an attorney is limited in the amount of the fee they can charge. For instance, let’s say an estate has a gross value of $1,000,000. The basic attorney fee would be $23,000. Yes, the fee is a lot of money, but there should be assets remaining to distribute to the heirs. Each state has a different calculation for attorney fees. Learn more about the Myths of Probate.
A legal process where the Courts monitor, assess and supervise the care of those individuals who can no longer manage their own financial and/or personal affairs. This includes elderly relatives who can no longer communicate and children with special needs. Learn more.
The physical, emotional or financial exploitation of a person 65 years or older or a disabled adult.
A series of laws which are designed to protect the financial, physical and mental health of an elderly or disabled person.
The documents needed for a proper plan and the laws designed to protect loved ones from predators are complicated. Mistakes matter and could end in a result you did not intend. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney knowledgeable in estate planning or elder law.
A contract between a life insurance company and a policy owner. A life insurance policy guarantees the insurer pays a sum of money to one or more named beneficiaries when the insured person dies in exchange for premiums paid by the policyholder during their lifetime. Learn more.
A life insurance contract that insures a person for a specific time period, usually 20 years. At the end of the time period, the policy automatically terminates. Learn more.
Similar to a Term Life Insurance policy except that a Whole Life policy will have a cash value that the policy owner can withdraw as needed. In addition, as long as the premiums are paid, a Whole Life policy will not terminate until the insured person dies. Learn more.
A financial device that allows you to save now, let that savings grow and then receive a payout later in life. Learn more.
The quick version of a bankruptcy where the bankrupt person has debts that far exceed their assets and who can no longer pay their debts, for whatever reason. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy usually lasts about 90 days from the date of the filing of the bankruptcy to the date a Judge grants the debtor’s discharge. Learn more.
A bankruptcy where the debtor proposes to pay some or all of their debts over a 36 or 60 month period. Learn more.
Often reserved for companies or individuals with very large debts. In a Chapter 11 case, the debtor often remains in control of the assets as a “debtor-in-possession” and acts as the Bankruptcy Trustee. However, the Bankruptcy Court, for cause, may appoint a Trustee if such appointment is in the best interests of the creditors and the estate. Learn more.
A blend of Chapter 11 and 13 bankruptcy and is designed for small business owners who can negotiate a repayment plan and keep their business open. Learn more.