Estate Planning (Wills & Trusts) Law
Los Angeles, California Estate Planning Attorney Practice Group
Our Los Angeles estate planning attorney practice group offers a variety of estate planning legal services. We assist our clients in achieving their goals of protecting and transferring their wealth, eliminating or reducing estate taxes, avoiding probate, and minimizing the risk of will contests.
A sample of the type of documents and techniques that we use include:
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Life Insurance Trusts
- Charitable Trusts and Foundations
- Durable Powers of Attorney for Economic Matters
- Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care
- General Assignments to Living Trusts
- Business Trusts
In addition to drafting and customizing the above documents, our Los Angeles estate planning lawyer practice group assists our clients in funding their trusts by preparing the necessary documentation to transfer assets such as their real property, bank/brokerage accounts, stocks, life insurance policies and retirement accounts. We also provide complimentary Notary Public services to our estate planning clients in order to avoid the time and hassles associated with going to an outside notary.
REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS
The biggest advantages of a living trust are that you can:
- Avoid probate.
- Reduce or completely avoid paying estate taxes.
- Distribute your estate privately and relatively swiftly.
- Instruct the administration of gifts and inheritance to minors without requiring that the courts get involved.
- Keep your assets protected in trust until the time that you decide that you want your beneficiaries to receive them.
- Protect your family members with special needs or disabilities, and ensure that they receive the care that they need.
- Create a living trust that is very difficult to challenge.
Formation and administration of living trusts has become a crucial part of estate planning law. California courts are overwhelmed with cases and simply do not have the resources to handle the myriad of estate, probate and will contest cases for the growing numbers of senior citizens. Creating a revocable family trust is a relatively simple process for the preservation and protection of your assets for your heirs.
A revocable living trust is a legally binding document that allows you to choose how your assets are to be distributed when you die. At the same time, because it is revocable, you can still control those assets while you are alive.
Find out more about how to create your living trust.
Our Los Angeles estate planning attorney practice group can also review an old trust, prepared by another attorney, to update or make significant changes thereto. If you have an existing trust that you want reviewed or changed, contact us today.
Some of the purposes of a Will are:
- To let you designate the people, trusts or charities that will receive your assets when you die.
- Name a guardian for your minor children in case of death.
- Name an executor to manage the distribution of your assets in probate.
We typically prepare Wills in conjunction with preparing living trusts because a Will alone does not allow you to avoid probate. Having a Will, by itself, ensures that your estate will pass through probate, and that its distribution will be public information. Also, Wills are typically easier to contest than a living trust, and Wills are usually not enforceable from state to state.
TRUST ADMINISTRATION AND SETTLEMENT
Our Los Angeles estate planning attorney practice group provides full-service trust administration and settlement. Many firms that claim they are experts in “estate planning” merely write a trust on your behalf, but our firm will handle the administration and settlement of your living trust after you pass away.
Proper trust administration is a crucial aspect of estate planning. If every detail is not properly addressed, your assets may be wrongly distributed or vulnerable to liability. Our Los Angeles estate planning attorney practice group works towards continuously protecting your assets during your life and beyond.
Click here for trust administration information.
The Law Offices of Sherwin S. Arzani also assists our clients in the probating of Wills. Estate administration includes the probate process, as well as non-probate transfers of the deceased person's assets. Our Los Angeles probate attorneys have extensive experience with California's probate process and assist clients to ensure that the deceased person's assets are distributed correctly. We also have experience in matters involving conservatorships or guardianships.
Probate and Trust Litigation
Unfortunately, a significant number of disputes over probates and trusts result in litigation. Our Los Angeles estate planning attorneys practice group has significant experience in representing beneficiaries, executors and trustees in litigation over wills and trusts. We recognize that estate contests can be very emotional and take that into consideration when advising our clients. Our goal is to counsel our clients, and assist them through difficult times, while vigorously representing and defending their interests.
A common example of a beneficiary dispute is where a purported beneficiary has a dispute with another beneficiary regarding which probate or trust assets should go to which beneficiary.
If a Will, trust document or distribution form has been changed or falsified, a probate or trust litigation may be necessary. In such cases, our Los Angeles probate and trust litigation attorneys can assist to freeze the beneficiary’s accounts or policies to prevent wrongful distribution.
To find out more about beneficiary disputes, click here.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty Litigation
Sometimes, it becomes necessary for beneficiaries to bring a lawsuit against the trustee, executor or administrator of an estate. The trustee, executor or administrator of an estate has a fiduciary duty to properly distribute and account for an estate. Our Los Angeles Estate Planning lawyer practice group can help our clients with recovery of estate assets from the trustee, executor or administrator of an estate.
On the other hand, we can also defend trustees, executors or administrators of an estate where a former trustee, executor or administrator is sued by a beneficiary.
To find out more about Breach of Fiduciary Duty Litigation, click here.
Trust and Probate Accounting Actions
If a trustee, administrator or executor refuses or fails to provide an account for an estate, our Los Angeles probate and trust litigation attorneys can petition the court to order the fiduciary to provide such an account.
For more information on trust and probate accounting actions, click here.
In the real world, estate planning overlaps with many other facets of law. That is why our Los Angeles estate planning attorney practice group works in conjunction with these other legal divisions within our firm:
Los Angeles business lawyer practice group
Los Angeles real estate lawyer practice group
Los Angeles intellectual property attorney practice group
Los Angeles civil litigation attorney practice group