Walnut Creek Business Law

PROTEC-LAW provides a wide range of estate planning services. We take great pride in tailoring each estate plan according to a client’s unique position and stated desires, both during life and after death.

Our estate planning services include, but are not limited to:

  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Pre-Marital & Marital Agreements
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Proper Trust Funding
  • Power of Attorneys
  • Health Care Directives
  • Wills & Pour-Over Wills



    What is Estate Planning?

    Depending on your situation, “estate planning” can involve many different facets, including writing a will, avoiding probate, arranging for care of minor children, saving on estate taxes or preserving assets for children from a prior marriage. A thoughtful estate plan should be tailored to your unique needs.

    What if there is No Will?

    Generally, if the deceased person did not leave a will (or if it is proved invalid) and the deceased person did not leave property another way, like through a living trust or joint tenancy, the estate must go through a court process, known as “probate”.  In this case, the Court would divide the property according to California’s intestate succession laws.


    Who Should Have an Estate Plan?

    The following types of people should strongly consider putting together an estate plan:
    (1) Owners of any real property (especially those with real property in more than one state)
    (2) Parents with minor children (especially children with special needs)
    (3) Married persons with children from a prior marriage
    (4) Married couples with estates (including life insurance proceeds) exceeding $1 million
    (5) Individuals with a serious illness



    What is a Living Trust?

    A Living Trust (also known as a Revocable Trust) is a legal entity you create and that you will transfer some or most of your property into. You remain in control over all your property while you are alive, and at your death, it will pass on to your designated beneficiaries. A living trust is often at the heart of a good estate plan and is one of the most common mechanisms used to avoid probate.

    What is Probate?

    It is a legal process that involves:
    (1) Filing the deceased person’s will with the Court and proving it to be valid
    (2) Identifying, gathering and appraising the deceased person’s assets
    (3) Paying off the deceased person’s debts and any estate tax due
    (4) Distributing what’s left in the deceased person’s estate according to the will. A typical probate takes up to a year or more and could cost a considerable amount in probate fees and costs.


    What Methods are Available to Avoid Probate?

    The following are the most common methods used to avoid probate:
    (1) Living Trust
    (2) Joint Tenancy
    (3) Community Property with Right of Survivorship (used on real property deeds)
    (4) "Pay-On- Death" Designations (used for bank accounts and stock accounts)
    (5) Beneficiary Designations (used for life insurance and retirement accounts).
    There are distinct advantages and disadvantages with each method, and thus, it is recommended that you consult with an estate planning professional to discuss your overall situation and particular needs.


    PROTEC-LAW can assist you if you find yourself as a trustee of a trust and are charged with the duty to manage or distribute trust assets for beneficiaries.  Alternatively, when there are no estate planning documents, PROTEC-LAW can assist you in probate matters where you will need to wind up a loved one’s estate through the court process of probate.  In either case, PROTE-LAW can assist you in fulfilling your legal obligations efficiently.

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