What We Do

Making end-of-life decisions is never easy and we get it.

That's why we offer thoughtful advice throughout the planning process.

Create Your Will

Name an executor to carry out the terms of your will. The executor gathers information, safeguards your estate, pays any claims or expenses, and distributes the balance of the estate. A "pour-over" will is used in conjunction with a trust and places property into the trust. 

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Place Your Assets in a Revocable Trust

Depending on the size of your estate, a revocable trust may be the right option for you and your family. You can set up a comprehensive plan that will ensure that your loved ones are taken care of.

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Name a Fiduciary

You can give a named person the limited ability to act on your behalf under certain circumstances. Your agent is limited to those specific powers you delineate and may control only those assets not held in your trust. We can tailor fit whatever powers your Agent may or may not exercise. Learn more about fiduciaries in estate planning by clicking here.

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Digital Assets

Digital assets in the form of images, multimedia, and textual content files can hold items of the most personal value. This is an emerging area in estate planning because so many of us maintain online files that should be preserved.  We can help you navigate this process and help you to make informed decisions about how to handle your digital assets. Learn more!

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Protect Your Children

Planning for the unexpected is hard to do but essential for your peace of mind. If you have minor children a key part of your plan will be to include details about guardianship in addition to providing financial direction. We all want to know that our children will be taken care of by people that we choose. Learn more.

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Plan for Healthcare

Give yourself and your family peace of mind by creating a health care directive stating your wishes should you become unable to do so yourself. You can specify what you want to happen in certain situations so your family isn't left with uncertainty over how to handle your medical care.

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Small Business Formation

Are you starting a company or looking top set up an LLC? We can help get you started.

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Update Your Current Documents

Laws change and the estate tax increases every year. It is wise to review your estate planning documents every few years or when there are major changes in your life. It's worth taking the time to check out. Click here to find out more about why it is smart to update your outdated documents.

Nuts and Bolts

What is a Revocable Trust?

 

A Revocable Living Trust is a legal entity in which legal title and management of specified property is vested in a trustee.  The trustee administers the property for the benefit of a your named beneficiary. The person creating the trust is called a settlor and usually names himself or herself as trustee. Revocable Trusts are commonly used in California as tools for transferring a person’s property at death and managing property during periods of incapacity. On the settlor’s death, the property is deemed owned by the Trust rather than by the client for the limited purpose of determining whether court supervision is required. The trustee, or successor trustee, then distributes the trust property as provided in the trust document.

 

Trust assets may include real estate, stock in a closely held corporation, stocks and other securities held by brokerages, small business interests, patents and copyrights, and precious metals, valuable works of art, valuable stamp or coin collections, and other tangible assets of value.  Click here to learn about the advantages of creating a revocable trust for your family.

Will My Estate Avoid Probate?

 

Most people create a Revocable Trust for the primary purpose of avoiding probate. There are two major reasons you want to avoid probate; it's time consuming and expensive. Probate is a court-administered process that typically requires the assistance of an attorney who is entitled to receive fees payable from the decedent’s estate. In California, those fees are set by statute which can be significant and not always necessary. Specifically, the fees are 4% of the first $100,000 in assets, 3% of the next $100,000, 2% of the next $800,000, and 1% of the next $15,000,000.

 

By way of illustration, if a simple estate with $400,000 of assets (this is gross value and does not consider any debts on the property), the required fee to the attorney and executor would be $11,000 each. While the executor fees can be waived if the heirs are serving in that role, the attorney fees are likely unavoidable. Additionally, court fees and expenses are usually several thousand dollars and appraisal fees can equal as much as .1% of the value of the property.

Are There Other Ways to Avoid Probate?

 

The short answer is yes. For example, California does not require a probate proceeding if the gross estate totals less than $166,250. And other assets that transfer to your heirs automatically upon your death are not subject to the terms of your Will. These assets have a beneficiary designation and will transfer directly to recipients without going through probate. Some examples of assets that have a beneficiary designation include joint tenancy; life insurance; retirement accounts; and pay-on-death accounts (also called “POD’s” or “Totten Trusts”).

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Law Office of Lynn K. Girvin

3400 S. Susan Street, Santa Ana, CA 92704

lynn@lynngirvinlaw.com

Call Today!

(714) 619-4145

© 2020 Law Office of Lynn K. Girvin

The materials found on this site are for general informational purposes only and are not for the purpose of providing legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts or circumstances. Transmission of information from this site is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional advice. This site is not intended to be advertising or a solicitation of legal services. No lawyer will undertake representation of clients in states where he or she is not admitted. The Law Office of Lynn K. Girvin does not necessarily endorse or sponsor the materials appearing on linked sites.