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San Francisco, CA 94104
p:  415.982.3200    f:  415.982.2661   e: LAB@Blaulaw.com

 



Practice Areas

Estate Planning

A.  Wills

A basic will can suit the estate planning needs of many people. A will can be used to name a personal representative to administer the estate, leave property to others and leave final instructions. Even if someone wants the benefit of a revocable living trust, he/she would still need a will as the trust cannot address all estate planning issues. For example, a will is necessary because not all of a person’s property is placed in the revocable living trust. Wills are also necessary, in addition to the trust, to name an executor, guardian, and provide information on funeral or burial instructions.

 

B.  Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust (also called a “living trust”) is a common estate-planning device in California. A living trust is created during a person’s lifetime and funded with various assets. Living trusts are a wonderful way to pass property and still avoid probate. They are also used for incapacity planning.

A complex estate plan may include various irrevocable trusts. Irrevocable trusts are most commonly used for tax-saving and asset protection purposes.

 

C.  Durable Powers of Attorney for Property Management

The third piece of a basic estate plan is a durable power of attorney for property management. A durable power of attorney for property management authorizes someone to act for a person with respect to property issues in event the person becomes incapacitated.

 

D.  Advance Health Care Directives

The final piece of a basic estate plan is an advanced health care directive. An advanced health care directive authorizes someone to act for a person with respect to health care issues in event the person becomes incapacitated. It can also instruct the person on specific medical instructions.

 

Trust Administration

 

When someone dies, it is normal to have some type of estate administration. There are generally four types of estate administration:

A. Probate administration. This is the court administered process of the transferring the assets and liabilities of the decedent to the proper recipients.

B. Summary administration. This is more informal court process that occurs when the decedent’s qualified assets are less than $150,000.

C. Informal administration. This is a process of transferring assets via contractual or title transfer outside the court system.

D. Trust administration. This is estate administration through a trust

These types of administration are not mutually exclusive, as an estate can have one, two, three or all four types of administration all at the same time.

 

Probate Administration

Probate is the court administered process of transferring the assets and liabilities of a decedent to the proper recipients. If probate is necessary, then regardless of whether a person died with a will (testate) or without a will (intestate), probate administration is necessary to prove the decedent's title to property and determine the proper identities of the persons entitled to that property. The process includes proving the validity of the will, if any, winding up the decedent’s final affairs, marshaling the assets, paying the creditors, and distributing the remaining assets to the proper beneficiaries.