It’s been said that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, and many individuals often put off estate planning until it’s too late. At the same time, other’s believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. At Biddle Law, we believe that everyone needs an estate plan and now is the time to consider your future and protect your loved ones.
With offices in San Mateo and Belmont, California, our firm provides comprehensive advisory services to clients in a variety of locations including Foster City and Burlingame, regarding trusts, wills, probate and estate administration, and estate litigation. We design estate plans that are tailored to each client’s unique circumstances and are committed to helping them take control of their destiny.
Essential Estate Planning Documents
The firm is up-to-date on the related state and federal trusts and estates laws and routinely prepare essential estate planning documents, including:
- Trusts – Because probating a will can be a lengthy and costly process, we often advise clients to create a revocable living trust. A well-designed trust takes title to your property while allowing you to continue managing your affairs during your lifetime. A living trust also enables you to plan for incapacity and avoid probate. There are also a number of irrevocable trusts available that can help you provide for a special needs child, plan for long-term care, and achieve other objectives such as avoiding taxes or protecting your estate from creditors.
- Last Will and Testament – A will specifies how your assets will be distributed to your loved ones after you die and names a personal representative to carry out your instructions. Most importantly a will allows you to name guardians for your minor children. Without this basic estate planning tool in place, the court will make these decisions in a way that does not agree with your wishes.
- Powers of Attorney – If you become incapacitated, a durable power of attorney allows you to name a trusted person, either a spouse, relative or close friend to handle personal and financial affairs such as paying bills, managing property, bank accounts and investments.
- Advance Healthcare Directive (also known as a “Living Will”) – The document specifies the type of treatment you prefer to receive or not receive if you are terminally ill or become incapacitated and cannot communicate decisions about end-of-life care. Further, you will be able to name an individual to make decisions about the type of medical care you prefer to receive if you are unable to communicate these decisions.
At Biddle Law, we work closely with clients through every aspect of estate planning, including:
- Trust administration – When an estate plan establishes a trust, a trustee, and a successor trustee are named to administer the estate after the death of either one or both grantors. Because trustees are deemed to be fiduciaries and are in a position of trust with the beneficiaries, having proper legal representation is essential. Biddle Law routinely advises trustees, successor trustees, as well as the beneficiaries in the trust administration process. We work closely with clients through every phase of the process to ensure that trusts are being administered appropriately.
- Probate/Estate Administration – Probate or estate administration is a court-managed proceeding in which a deceased individual’s assets are managed and distributed. The firm routinely represents personal representatives and administrators in probate court, preparing the necessary filings, and assisting clients to handle tax-related issues through the use of CPA’s. Biddle Law is also well versed in the state’s intestacy laws and advise clients when a loved has died without a will in place.
- Estate Litigation – In the event a dispute arises, the estate might have to be litigated in what is referred to as a will contest. This is a proceeding in the probate court which often involve challenges to the validity of the will, the capacity of the testator, the trustworthiness of the personal representative and a variety of other conflicts. Our firm strives to reach negotiated settlements, but is fully prepared to litigate these matters in court.
- Avoiding Probate – Depending on the size of an estate, probate proceedings in California can be costly and time consuming. However, there are a number of ways individuals and families can avoid probate. We devise innovative estate planning strategies to help clients protect their assets as well as their loved ones.
Contact Our Dedicated Estate Planning Lawyer
Biddle Law is dedicated to helping clients preserve their wealth and provide for their loved ones. We work closely with individuals, couples, families and business owners to resolve critical estate planning issues such as asset protection, avoiding guardianships and probate, and Medi-Cal planning. Over the course of a lifetime, many events will occur that require the ongoing and comprehensive advice our firm is uniquely qualified to provide. When you need assistance with estate planning, we will offer you knowledge and compassion and put your mind at ease. Contact our office today for a consultation with our experienced estate planning lawyer.
Biddle Law proudly serves the areas of San Mateo County, Burlingame, Foster City, San Carlos County, Redwood City and Belmont, California. Give us a call!