Shawna Murray Law

Practice Areas

Practice Areas

estate planning

Estate Planning allows you to leave a legacy for your loved ones and it protects you in case of incapacity. Advance preparation minimizes costs to your estate, plus prevent many headaches and stress for your loved ones. It will ease the mourning process for your family and keep your estate out of probate court, so you can maintain your privacy.

Estate planning accomplishes many more things than you may have considered. At a minimum, your estate plan provides the framework for who, when, and how your property gets disbursed after your death. It enables you to elect guardians for your minor children. It provides direction in case of your possible incapacity. It saves your beneficiaries money by avoiding probate and allows them to get their inheritance according to your timeline.

wills & trusts

Wills and Trusts are the backbone of comprehensive estate planning.

Look here for definitions, explanations, and frequently asked questions.

probate administration

Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person’s estate. The court will appoint a personal representative that is responsible for settling the final affairs - such as paying debts, selling off property, and distributing what remains to the heirs or beneficiaries.

However, it must all be done through the court proceedings and get approved by a judge. There are petitions, notices, pleadings and many things to take care of, plus, a number of hearings to attend. I represent personal representative and executors during probate. I do not charge in advance so there is no cost to the personal representative.

incapacity planning

Comprehensive estate planning is more than your legacy after death, avoiding probate, and saving on taxes. Good estate planning includes a plan in place to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated during your life and can no longer make decisions for yourself.

Without incapacity planning in place, a judge will need to appoint one or more people to take charge of your assets and make all personal and medical decisions for you through a court-supervised conservatorship. I can provide planning for incapacity, as well as represent a proposed conservator in getting appointed conservator.

special needs trusts

Leaving an inheritance outright to a person with a disability who is also eligible for SSI and Medi-Cal can be a disaster to the beneficiary. An outright gift may disqualify the person from needs-based public benefits. A parent who does not plan and whose disabled child stands to inherit even relatively small amounts of money can also end up disqualified from needs based benefits.

With careful planning and use of a Special Needs Trusts, family members can ensure their loved one is has resources beyond the public benefits. The money left in these trusts can provide for the “special needs” of the beneficiaries.

summary Probate + heggstad petitions

California law offers several methods for simplifying probate administration instead of opening a formal probate case. However, these summary probate methods for transferring real estate and personal property are generally used for estates with a small value.

If your loved one has a Trust but failed to re-title their assets and fund the Trust during their lifetime, a Heggstad Petition may solve your problem faster than a formal probate.

guardianshiP Planning

When minor children do not have parents capable of caring for them, a guardian is needed to “step into the parent’s shoes” and care for the children. It is very important to take the time decide who could be a capable of raising your children if you and their other parent where unable. If such a time ever came to pass, you would probably like to be able to decide who that person should be.

Without an estate plan, the person you believe would be the best candidate may never get appointed as your children’s guardian. I can help you plan for the possibility of a guardianship. I can also assist proposed guardians with getting appointed.

trust administration

Trust Administration services are available to help a surviving spouse or successor trustee take care of the post-death administration of a Trust and make the distributions as streamlined and effortless as possible. It is the processing of winding up the affairs of the decedent.

Services include legal advice and assistance with gathering the assets, satisfying creditors, filing appropriate tax returns, and then distributing the remaining assets.

homeowners & landlords

Services offered for homeowners include deed preparation, private sales transactions, and changes in ownership.

Services are available to assist landlords such as preparation of leases and rental agreements, legal notices and unlawful detainers.