Estate Planning2019-01-18T05:41:07+00:00

Estate Planning

PROTECTING YOUR LOVED ONES

We draft sophisticated estate plans, which include revocable and irrevocable trusts, wills, powers of attorney, medical directives and other related legal documents to help our clients find the optimal solution for the management and protection of their assets. In addition to providing estate planning services for our clients, our practice involves advanced planning for people with complex estate tax considerations. We gain great satisfaction from working with our clients to pass on their assets to their loved ones with the least amount of transfer tax and expenses of administration.

PROTECTING YOUR LOVED ONES

We draft sophisticated estate plans, which include revocable and irrevocable trusts, wills, powers of attorney, medical directives and other related legal documents to help our clients find the optimal solution for the management and protection of their assets. In addition to providing estate planning services for our clients, our practice involves advanced planning for people with complex estate tax considerations. We gain great satisfaction from working with our clients to pass on their assets to their loved ones with the least amount of transfer tax and expenses of administration.

AREAS OF PRACTICE

AREAS OF PRACTICE

It is important that your Living Trust or Will is drafted by a Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate law under the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Your Living Trust protects the people most important to you and all of your assets, so most clients will never be made aware of a latent deficiency or defect in improperly constructed documents. Since our firm also specializes in trust and probate litigation, our fully customized estate planning documents reflect the issues which have been tested and tried in courts in order to help avoid potential complications in the future. Therefore, we can review your current documents and prepare amendments when necessary.

The legal process by which an estate’s assets are distributed to the decedents or heirs under the supervision of the probate court. Many people have misunderstandings about probate, but generally speaking, probate should be avoided, as it is expensive, complicated and time-consuming.

Upon the passing of the person(s) creating the Living Trust, this now irrevocable trust document needs to undergo a mandatory trust administrative process in order to wind down the decedent’s affairs. This is accomplished by first satisfying all legal obligations, creditors, taxes, and funeral expenses, before ultimately transferring all remaining assets to the intended beneficiaries. Simply having a trust does not mean assets somehow “magically” transfer themselves to the beneficiaries. A Successor Trustee has a fiduciary duty to perform this role after the passing of the trust creator in a diligent, objective and impartial manner, which is in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Even sole beneficiaries who are also the Successor Trustee have many legal requirements that must be performed before actually inheriting assets. Our attorneys can provide you with the highest level of services and advice you need to successfully navigate through this complicated process. We can handle all aspects of the trust administrative procedure and help insulate the Successor Trustee from personal civil or financial liability, which may by imposed upon them for not following the rules in their entirety. Unfortunately, we spend a lot of our professional time trying to assist people who did not follow the rules and as a result, there were adverse tax and legal consequences which could have been avoided.

Revocable Living Trusts and related ancillary estate planning documents are designed to avoid costly and complicated probate and conservatorship proceedings. However, all Revocable Living Trusts are not created with the same level of professionalism, competency and diligence. We fully customize every Revocable Living Trust for each client, based on their individual interests, family dynamic, assets, business entities, and so forth. There is never a “one size fits all” approach to planning properly, plus tax rules and laws are constantly changing, so please allow us to review your existing trust for latent deficiencies and defects before they become problematic.

Irrevocable trusts are typically reserved for advanced tax planning, asset protection, and insulating assets against Medi-Cal liens. Irrevocable trusts have advantages and disadvantages compared to revocable trusts, so we recommend that you contact us today to learn what type of trust would be most appropriate for your situation.

In California, there are many different ways to protect your assets. Additionally, your beneficiaries can receive protection from creditors, spousal claims in the event of divorce, lawsuits, and Special Needs protection in the event any beneficiary becomes disabled due to an accident, illness, or advancing age and we need to preserve SSI and/or Medi-Cal benefits.  While we hope none of your beneficiaries are forced to address any these hardships now or in the future, our attorneys can provide you with expert recommendations and important considerations on how best to protect them. We also prepare Medi-Cal Asset Protection Trusts to avoid future Medi-Cal liens and preserve personal assets as well.

Federal estate tax laws and California tax laws are very complicated and misinterpretations or mistakes could lead to expensive fines and potentially avoidable taxes to your estate. Advanced tax planning focuses on eliminating or reducing taxes, and these savings can then be allocated to your beneficiaries.

Everyone has a unique situation when it comes to their individual family and friends. We take pride in protecting persons with disabilities, which may have occurred at birth, or developed as the result of an illness or accident. We want to ensure that governmental eligibility for those with Special Needs is preserved, while also allowing them to improve their quality of life through customized estate planning. We have handled thousands of Special Needs cases and we can guide you through the options that best support your family and friends.

We educate our clients on how to qualify for Medi-Cal, as well as ensuring that individuals who are already receiving government benefits continue to receive the care they deserve, while at the same time helping protect personal assets against liens and attachments.

Advance planning can maintain your business continuity in the event of retirement, disability or the untimely passing of an owner or “key person.” A well-drafted and executed succession plan can keep your business profitable and help to avoid major setbacks during transitional periods. Many employers consider their employees extensions of their own family and want to ensure that the livelihood of each member of their organization will not be compromised by an unexpected incident.

California law allows for the creation of a conservatorship for people over the age 18 when a person becomes legally incapacitated and can no longer manage his or her own affairs. This can be planned in advance or accommodated if an accident or unexpected onset of incapacity results in an instant need for a conservatorship.

California law allows for the creation of a guardianship for people under the age 18 when a person becomes legally incapacitated and can no longer manage his or her own affairs. This can be planned in advance or accommodated if an accident or unexpected onset of incapacity results in an instant need for a guardianship.

Questions about a legal issue?

ASK OUR EXPERTS

Questions about a legal issue?

ASK OUR EXPERTS

AWARDS & HONORS

DISTINGUISHED SPECIALIZATION

It’s important to have knowledge and expertise you can count on. At BBSK, we are proud to have attorneys who are certified as Legal Specialists by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate law, a certification and distinction awarded to less than 1% of all California attorneys.

NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

TRUSTED REPUTATION

Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, the gold standard in attorney ratings, have recognized lawyers for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards for more than a century. This designation is the product of our commitment to excellence in communication skills, legal knowledge and ethics.

HIGHLY RATED

The attorneys at BBSK have consistently received the annual Avvo Client’s Choice Award for exceptional ratings in professionalism and client satisfaction. This distinction reflects the overall experience our clients have when retaining our services, as well as how often we are recommended to others by our clients.

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