Frequently Asked Questions
- Who are Estate Plan's for?
Every situation is unique. Yours may or may not require an estate plan. However, it is very often beneficial and nearly everyone can benefit from an estate planning discussion with an attorney.
- Can't I Create an Estate Plan using a kit or legal software?
Estate plans are used to reduce cost and headache down the road. Using online or generic legal software means that your legal documents follow a template's format and do not reflect your individual situation. In some cases they may not even comply with California regulations as these estate planning solutions are designed to be used for a mass market. The result of a do-it-yourself estate plan will be "valid" documents but rarely the personalized effectiveness of documents prepared by an attorney. Many people choose these options with the hope of saving money. However, due to their deficiencies, these "kit" documents may end up costing you (or your estate) more down the road than a quality estate plan from a qualified attorney.
- What is Probate?
A probate is the process of administering a decedent's estate through the court system. Although the court controls many aspects of the probate, an "executor", usually a family member or friend designated by the decedent's will, is responsible for carrying out the decedent's wishes under the court's supervision.
- Do I need an attorney to handle probate?
Probate is an extremely formal process with strictly governed rules and regulations. A well meaning, but inexperienced relative may not be able to administer the probate process effectively, resulting in possibledelays, lost money and possible liability. The death of a loved one is a very difficult time, made more strenuous by conflicting interests and the complexity of the legal process. A competent probate attorneycan minimize these issues.
- I run a small business. Do I really need an attorney?
Every business is different. It is very often beneficial to discuss your business situation with an attorney.They are trained to approach things from a unique perspective and may be able to help you in ways you have not even considered yet.
- What are the different types of guardianship and conservatorship?
-Person – The guardian or conservator makes decisions about a person, medical care, residence, and release of confidential information, etc.
-Estate – The guardian or conservator manages and makes decisions about financial matters, real estate and other property.
-Limited – This type means that the guardian or conservator's authority is limited to that specifically given by court order.
-Successor – The court appoints another guardian or conservator when the original guardian resigns, is removed, or dies.
- How is it determined that a person may need a guardian or conservator?
The test for determining the need for guardianship or conservatorship is focuses on decision making ability and the ability to communicate the decisions once they have been made. Can the person understand that a decision has to be made? Can they understand the available options? Do they understand the consequences of their decision? Can the person express their desires adequately once a decision has been made? These questions help the court determine the appropriate use of a guardianship.