What can I expect if I want to make an estate plan?
We will have at least two meetings that will last approximately two hours each. Before our first meeting, I will send you my Estate Planning packet which will include an extensive questionnaire so you can consider many of the topics that we will discuss at our initial meeting, such as who gets what, how, and when. We will meet initially to discuss your goals and the plan needed. This may be followed up by an additional appointment to continue the planning session, especially if you are still undecided about some of your goals. During the final session, you will sign your documents and we will discuss the next steps necessary to fully implement your estate plan.
How do you charge for your services?
I charge flat fees for nearly all services. After your initial consultation, I will have a better understanding of your personal situation and will be able to give you a price at that time. If you don't need the entire package, don't worry, your needs can still be accommodated. For you convenience, I accept credit cards. You can find a link to make a payment at the bottom of this page.
How do you keep estate planning cost effective?
I have a modern-day law office where I use technology to maintain efficiency and affordability instead of paying for expensive over-head, so I can pass on savings and still provide you with superior service.
I am a busy person too. Do I have to meet you at your office?
To make things easier on you, for our initial meeting, I will propose that we meet near your home or office. We will meet where it is convenient for you, so that you do not waste precious time driving. Alternatively, we can arrange to have our initial meeting online, if you would like.
Will you meet with my financial advisor or other professional advisor?
I will be very happy to meet with your professional advisor(s) before or after your initial meeting. You are also welcome to bring them with you to our planning meetings.
I am not wealthy. If I do not have a professional advisor, do I really need an estate plan?
Nearly everyone needs an estate plan, from the college-aged to the elderly. Estate planning is about more than just designating who your assets are going to go to or saving on taxes. It also incorporates plans for the guardianship of your minor children and directions for your possible incapacity plus end-of-life instructions.
If I am young, unmarried, and have no children, why should I bother to make an estate plan?
Even a young single person without children will benefit from basic estate planning. The biggest benefit to a single person is the opportunity for Incapacity Planning. If you become severely injured and cannot speak for yourself, your friends or family will greatly benefit from your planning because you will have designated someone to speak for you. Otherwise, your loved ones will have to stand by while the hospital and other healthcare providers make decisions for you based on state laws and hospital policy. Today's privacy laws, such as HIPPA, will also make it difficult for your loved ones to get much information concerning your condition from the medical staff. In addition, if you have planned, you can designate who gets what from your property should you pass away. If you have a certain person in mind to give that special Star Wars collection to, the only way to be sure they'll get it is to have a Will and/or Trust.
Where is the Probate Court in Orange County?
Probate, Guardianship, Conservator/Mental Health and Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Abuse hearings are heard at the Central Justice Center. The Central Justice Center of Superior Court of California, County of Orange is located at 700 Civic Center Drive, Santa Ana, CA 92701. I prefer to park in the lot closest to Civic Center Drive and N. Flower St. rather than deal with the parking structures. I park as close to the front of the building as possible. There you will find some steps that bring you up to Civic Center Dr. and the court's entrance is to your right. You can enter the lot from N. Flower St. There is a fee to park in the lot but almost everywhere you park in Downtown Santa Ana charges to park. Allow yourself some extra time to get into the building since there is a security check point and often just one machine is operating. One last tip: you can bring in a bottle of water but no other food or beverages.
How should I prepare for my first appointment when my loved one has died?
After scheduling an appointment, I will ask you to gather many of your loved one's documents and bring them with you. If the decedent had a Will and/or a Trust, you will need to bring those documents, along with any amendments (or codicils). Sometimes there may be multiple Wills and/or Trusts so you will need to bring all of them. Other items you should bring include the certified copy of the death certificate (if you have received it yet); statements for bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts; insurance policies & stock certificates; pink slips; deeds and/or information about the real estate owned by the decedent; information about any other assets, such as jewelry, antiques or collectibles; creditor/debt information such as the credit card statement, invoice or bill; and the contact information for beneficiaries or heirs.