Call Today For A Consultation | 866-334-2614

  1. Home
  2.  » Estate Planning

Our San Diego Estate Planning Attorneys Focus On Your Needs And Goals

Who needs an estate plan? Chances are good you do.

If you have minor children, you should have an estate plan. If you want to determine who will inherit your assets, you need an estate plan. If you are worried about becoming unable to make or communicate important decisions as you age, estate planning is right for you. If you want to leave a legacy through charitable giving, an estate planning lawyer can help with that, too.

At the law firm of Frisella Neilson, APC, in San Diego, we want to assist you in passing on your legacy through thoughtful, values-based planning. We are acutely aware of the reasons most people tend to wait for an emergency to settle their affairs. Our experienced estate planning attorneys are dedicated to taking the complexities and uncertainties out of the life-planning equation so that our clients can have peace of mind.

Our Estate Planning Lawyers Can Provide Everything You Need

We can create an estate plan for you that includes the pieces you need. This can include:

  • Powers of attorney: Our attorneys can help you to appoint a friend, relative or professional to make important financial decisions for you through a durable power of attorney if you are no longer able to make those decisions.
  • Advance health care directives: Our attorneys can help you draft a document that specifies your preferences related to medical care if you are incapacitated or specify end-of-life preferences if you are near death. For instance, if you do not want extraordinary measures to be taken if you become terminally ill, you can specify this in an advance health care directive, sometimes referred to as a “living will.” Further, we can draft durable health care powers of attorney according to your wishes so you can appoint a trusted person to make your health care decisions.
  • Wills: Wills are valuable tools that allow you to control how your assets will be distributed after your death. Our attorneys can both draft wills and represent the executor in probate actions.
  • Trusts: Created during your lifetime, a trust is a versatile legal document that can be used for purposes after your death, ranging from direct distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries, educational support of a child, or providing care to a disabled parent or child. It can also be used during your life, for your care if you are incapacitated to the degree that you can no longer manage your finances. Our attorneys can assist you in establishing an irrevocable or revocable trust that meets your personal needs. A trust can help your estate avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, and resolve issues related to the long-term management of your property. Trusts can be used for various purposes, and various types of trusts exist, including life insurance trusts, spendthrift trusts, special needs trusts and charitable remainder trusts, for example, each of which can be drafted to meet your specific needs.
  • Asset protection strategies: In addition to protecting your assets using a wide variety of trusts, we can tailor your estate plan to include other asset protection mechanisms, including limited liability companies (LLCs), when applicable.

We also offer services related to estate administration. For example, our attorneys can assist with the proper administration of the trust.

Frequently Asked Questions (And Answers) About Estate Planning In California

Below are questions that prospective clients often ask our attorneys.

What would happen if I died without making an estate plan?

Dying without a will or without leaving instructions about who should receive your property is known as dying “intestate.” Your assets would then be distributed according to California’s intestate succession laws. This typically means that a good portion of the estate will go to a surviving spouse (if you have one) and the rest will be distributed to surviving children (if you have them). This may have been what you intended anyway, but not necessarily. The bottom line is that whatever your assets, you should get to choose to whom they are given and how and when they are distributed.

Can estate planning help my family avoid probate?

Yes, it can. One of the goals of many estate planning clients is to simplify the probate process or bypass it entirely – saving their families work, money and stress during a particularly difficult time. Depending on your circumstances, we may utilize a number of tools and strategies to streamline or bypass probate, including creating a revocable living trust, setting up joint ownership of certain property and using transfer-on-death deeds and designations.

What happens to my business when I pass away?

This is a concern held by many small business owners, and rightly so. Without proper business succession planning, the business you worked so hard to build could lose significant value or be dissolved altogether. The reassuring news is that our attorneys can help you create a thorough and legally sound plan for the transfer of your business and its assets.

How can I use my estate assets to support a cause that I care about?

Many people want to continue making a positive impact on the world after they pass away. Charitable planning is a great way to do that. Our lawyers can discuss your goals with you for supporting the cause of your choice and maximize your giving power through the use of charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts and other legal instruments.

What factors should I consider when choosing a trustee?

Here are things to consider when selecting a trustee.

  • Trustworthiness – as the name of the role might suggest, trustees should be trustworthy.
  • Familiar with investing – it is helpful to have a trustee that is familiar with the process of investing money. It would be preferable if the trustee utilizes the services of a financial advisor to help them invest.
  • Family member as trustee – the estate planner selects a family member as trustee, there is the benefit that the trustee is familiar with family dynamics and may not charge for their services. Family members as trustees may also get caught up in the family drama and make trust decisions too personal.
  • Professional trustee – it can be beneficial to consider a professional trustee or trust company that specializes in trust administration. Trust administration can be time consuming and a professional trustee will also be an unbiased trust administrator which may not be the case of a family member as trustee.
  • Accountant or family lawyer as trustee – utilizing an accountant or family lawyer as a trustee may provide familiarity with the family and may also be less costly than the services of a trust company.

Discuss Your Needs With Our Estate Planning Lawyers

At Frisella Neilson, APC, we pride ourselves on putting our clients at ease. We explain the options and provide our clients with estate plans that meet their unique financial and personal circumstances. No matter what your current stage of life, we can help preserve your personal choices and financial freedom through sensible estate planning legal services. For an initial consultation with an estate planning attorney, contact our law firm online or call 866-334-2614.

Suggested Reading