Estate Planning, Probate and Elder Law

Estate planning involves far more than simply drafting a will or a trust. A good estate plan also provides a program for financial security for the rest of your life, planning to avoid using all of your assets during your life, guidance for your loved ones under a variety of circumstances, including those in which you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself while living and tax planning and transfer of assets at your death. Your estate plan can also include gifts and charitable donations. The Schreiber Law Firm is committed to finding the right combination of legal tools to assist you and your family in meeting your estate planning objectives.

All of our estate planning portfolios include these important items:

  • Living Trust
  • Pour-over Will
  • Power of Attorney for Financial Matters
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care (Advance Health Care Directive)
  • Memorandum Of Trust
  • Real property Deed to fund your trust
  • HIPPA waivers
  • Instructions To Heirs

We also provide other types of trusts including:

  • Charitable Trusts
  • Insurance Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts

We have the experience to assist in all of your estate planning, wealth preservation and transfer needs and the preparation of your estate planning documents. We advise and counsel elders and the children of elders regarding incapacity planning, conservatorships, Medi-Cal planning, nursing and home health care matters. We represent, individuals, personal representatives, trustees, heirs and beneficiaries in Probate Court proceedings, guardianships and conservatorships.

It is very important to have an estate plan in place. An estate plan allows you to establish and reach your family and financial goals during your life and provides for your family when you are gone. I believe everyone should have that protection – AND AT AN AFFORDABLE COST – for everyone. – Jeff Schreiber

Trusts

Trusts have become an important estate planning tool. With the average home in California costing upwards of a half million dollars, a trust can save the estate thousands of dollars by avoiding the probate process. Court costs, executor and attorney fees in a probate proceeding are based on a percentage of the value of the estate. You should consider the many benefits of a trust before implementing your estate plan. A trust is a written document executed by the Trustor who creates the trust and delivered to the Trustee who is in charge of the trust. Most times the Trustor is also the Trustee during their lifetime your beneficiaries receive the estate after your death. A revocable trust allows you to revoke or change it any time and as often as you like. Revocable trusts are very flexible, and can own all or some of your property. If you are married, you may want to consider implementing an “A-B Trust” for the maximum federal estate tax savings.

A trust has similarities to a will, but is administered differently upon your death. You are still the owner all of your property and can do whatever you want with it during your lifetime. A trust must be funded with your property in order to avoid probate. To best maximize your trust, you need a good estate planning attorney who will assist you with to this process ensure that your trust is correctly established.

A properly funded living trust will avoid probate. Probate fees are anywhere between 3%-5% of the estate’s fair market value. A living trust is also useful for estates subject to estate taxes. The living trust can be drafted to minimize estate taxes resulting in significant savings by fully utilizing the unified credit for married couples.

Trusts are also useful when planning for complicated family situations. The most typical is where re-married couples have children from a previous marriages and each spouse wants to create a plan that directs that the children receive their proper inheritance.

There are certain assets which should not be placed in the trust for tax and other reasons. Choosing an experienced estate planning lawyer is crucial for you to obtain the proper advice on how to correctly set up your trust. At The Schreiber Law Firm we will help you accomplish this step and review your options for funding your trust correctly.

Wills

A will is the most well-known way to direct how ones estate will be distributed upon death. When a person passes away in California leaving a will, the probate court oversees the passing of the estate to the beneficiaries. This process takes a minimum of six months. When you have a trust,  The Schreiber Law Firm will also draft a pour-over will that works in conjunction with a trust. This will is called a “pour over” will because it directs all the assets not in the trust at death to be distributed (that is, “poured over”) to the trust at the conclusion of a probate. It is important to have a will even if you have a trust because a probate can be inadvertently triggered if you forget or improperly fund your trust.

Living Will (Health Care Directive)

The Schreiber Law Firm will help you arrange for medical decisions to be made on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated, either physically or mentally. While commonly referred to as a “Living Will”, in California, this document is known as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or an Advance Health Care Directive. This document allows you to nominate an agent who will make health care decisions on your behalf if you ever become incapacitated.  If you were to ever become incapacitated without a Durable Power of Attorney, then the only recourse in California is a costly process called a conservatorship.

Power of Attorney

In addition to the Advance Health Care Directive, you will also need a Durable Power of Attorney to allow an agent to make financial decisions on your behalf if you were to become incapacitated. The Schreiber Law Firm will draft this document for you, which allows an agent, usually a family member, trusted friend or adviser, who you nominate in this document to do such things as manage your bank accounts, pay your bills, deal with government agencies, and file your taxes. When you have a trust, these powers are also given to the trustee to make decisions for someone who is incapacitated.

Elder Law

A total estate plan not only plans for post-death transfers, tax deferral and avoidance, it also addresses issues which arise while the client is still living. In additional to post-death documents, planning for potential incapacity, long term care and Medi-Cal benefits are also essential considerations of any well prepared estate plan. At the Schreiber Law Firm we assist elders, their spouses and children with advice and assistance in long term care planning, assisted living issues, Medi-Cal and matters unique to seniors and of concern to their loved ones.

Wealth Preservation Programs

Our goals of estate planning include basics of wealth preservation, making sure the greatest amount of the estate passes to the estate owner’s intended beneficiaries, including paying the least amount of taxes and avoiding or minimizing probate court involvement.

  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Charitable Giving
  • Estate Settlement and Trust Administration
  • Insurance Planning
  • Living Trusts
  • Probate
  • Retirement Planning
  • Wealth Transfer