Estate Planning

Banner Happy Family 10-16-15Our Mission Statement

Our attorneys and staff understand the realities of estate planning and use our extensive legal knowledge and compassion to help families address their estate planning matters.  We work collaboratively with our clients to create personalized estate plans that provide peace of mind. Our services are designed to ensure each estate plan is not only legally accurate, but that it addresses the physical, psychological and financial well-being of our clients and their intended beneficiaries. We listen and hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and always serve families with integrity. In addition, we strive to make our services affordable through budget-friendly flat fee packages.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is a way for you to manage your assets (money and property) during your life time and beyond your death or incapacity, particularly if you choose the many benefits of a living trust.* To have an estate plan simply means that you have determined how to hold your assets, how they will be managed in a range of situations, and how they will be passed on to your loved ones.  Without an estate plan, the distribution of your assets will be determined by state law when you pass, often at a premium since a probate case is typically required without the appropriate estate planning documents in place.

In California, anyone with assets exceeding $150,000 should have an estate plan. If you own real property or have children, an estate plan is also highly desirable regardless of your financial worth. Whether your plan includes a Last Will and Testament, a Living Trust, or a combination of documents, will depend on your particular circumstances. Our experienced estate planning attorneys can help tailor an estate plan to achieve your specific goals.

Affordable Estate Planning Attorneys in California

To accommodate the needs of our clients, Gehres Law Group, P.C. has made the process simple and affordable. Our estate planning packages are billed at a flat fee rate so you know the cost upfront and we utilize a secure client portal to communicate and exchange documents securely anytime of the day or night with our clients. Click here for more information.

Estate Planning Documents

Here is a sample of the types of documents which you may choose from in structuring your estate plan:

  • Living Trust
  • Irrevocable Trust
  • Land Trust
  • Pour-Over Wills
  • Certification of Trust
  • Last Will and Testament (Individual wills and wills for couples)
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Limited Power of Attorney
  • Advance Directive to Physicians (Living Will)
  • Deeds and related documents and filing with county recorder’s office throughout California

Estate Planning Questionnaires

To better assist our valued clients, we have created estate planning questionnaires for married couples and single individuals that help us gather relevant information and to determine the types of estate planning services you require. Click on the appropriate questionnaire below:

Estate Planning Questionnaire For Married Couples (pdf)
Estate Planning Questionnaire For Single Individual (pdf)

*Benefits of a Living Trust in California

Some of the common objectives our clients have in preparing a living trust:

1. Avoid probate. This is a frequent goal of many clients in California since the cost of administering a trust is typically a fraction of the expense involved in probating a will.

2. Avoid conservatorship. This is also a commonly stated goal of our clients. Together with a durable power of attorney, clients can predetermine who will manage their assets in the event of their incapacity, as well as how they will be managed, saving thousands of dollars in court and administrative costs.

3. Predetermine who receives assets at death. While a will is capable of devising assets at death through probate, only a living trust has the flexibility to provide for delayed distribution, protection of beneficiaries from creditor claims, as well as other objectives, all without the need for probate. A trust can be administered for years and years following the creator’s passing.

4. Enforcement. A living trust can include provisions such as a no-contest clause, spendthrift clause, and governing law provisions, which preserve the distribution provisions and protect against the potential for disgruntled beneficiaries.

5. Incentives for beneficiaries. A living trust can include mandatory milestones or conditions which must be met before a beneficiary is entitled to a distribution. This is particularly common where a client wishes to ensure their children graduate from college or to prevent children who have an addiction problem from receiving a distribution and possibly squandering the trust assets.

For more information, see our Estate Planning Fee Packages or browse our Estate Planning related blog articles including:

A Trustee’s Responsibilities Administering a California Living Trust

Estate Planning: Choosing Per Stirpes or Per Capita Distributions

Benefits of a Financial Power of Attorney

Is a Testamentary Bypass Trust Right for Me?

How Do I Transfer Property to My Living Trust?

What is a Trustee?

What Is Estate Planning?

Do I Need a Will or a Trust?

What is Probate?

What is a Living Trust?

The Differences Between Wills and Trusts

California Community Property 

Transferring Encumbered Property to a Land Trust

California Estate Planning Lawyers

Our attorneys welcome in-person consultations in our San Diego and Irvine offices. When you need help, our experienced estate planning attorneys are ready to assist you with your estate planning needs. Contact Us for a free evaluation or for more information.