Estate Planning Attorney | Marin & Sonoma COunty
The fact that you are looking at this page shows you are a responsible, caring person who values your possessions and your family, because without an estate plan in place you are leaving many things to chance and often that’s not a good idea. A comprehensive estate plan provides for the disposition of your assets through a will and trust while avoiding a costly and prolonged probate process through the court system. It also includes a durable power of attorney to manage your finances without the expense and publicity of a guardianship hearing and a health care directive permitting a trusted friend or family member to communicate with health care professionals on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so.
An estate plan can also:
- Name guardians to raise minor children;
- Name fiduciaries to handle minors’ assets;
- Plan for the succession or sale of a family business;
- Plan for charitable giving;
The single most important factor in determining the likelihood of a successful estate plan is the level of information I have regarding your property and dispositive plan. I work with clients to obtain all essential information about their wishes, their family, their assets, and their goals. This is an important process that is lacking when you use estate planning software and templates.
The estate planning process begins with gathering basic facts about yourself such as your name, date of birth, address and phone number, occupation, citizenship, where your primary residence is located, and whether you have ever lived or owned real estate outside of a community property state as a married person, and the general state of your health and the health of your spouse if you are married.
Then we look at the people or charitable organizations you want to benefit. I ask questions such as whether you have family members with disabilities, or other special needs, are there any problem marriages, any creditor issues, or problematic relationships with family members. Are there any previous marriages where the marriage ended with a divorce decree or is there a settlement agreement which may impose other obligations regarding the disposition of personal or real property.
I need information about all your property and how you want it distributed. Is the property difficult to value, is it appreciating or depreciating, is there sentimental value attached to the property?
It’s never a good idea to be penny wise and pound foolish which is what you are doing when you think you are saving money by using an estate planning template or legal software that cost less than consulting with an experienced estate planner. Legal software and templates won’t ask all the right questions , it will not keep up with the changes in the law, nor will it give you ideas you may not have thought of regarding your estate. So give me a call so we can discuss what’s right for you.