PROBATE • WILLS • TRUSTS • TRUST ADMINISTRATION • POWERS OF ATTORNEY • ESTATE PLANNING
The law firm of Austin & Austin has been helping people with their legal problems for over 30 years. We are experienced in estate planning, trusts, wills and probate. We draft and review immediately effective and springing Durable Powers of Attorney for finances and for health care, as well as Advance Medical Directives. We draft and review wills, trusts for individuals and married couples, special needs trusts, charitable gift trusts, and educational trusts. Austin & Austin is experienced in trust administrations, asset transfers, distribution of assets, accountings, as well as litigation and court proceedings involving wills, trusts and probate. We have lectured in estate planning to church groups and schools.
Probate is a court proceeding in which the court oversees the transfer of your property (assets) to your heirs, after your death. If you die with a will (“testate”), the court will make sure your intentions are carried out. If you do not have a will (“intestate”), the California Probate Code determines how your assets will be distributed. Everyone should have either a will or trust. This allows for your intentions concerning the distribution of your assets to be known.
Our goal at Austin & Austin is to ensure a smooth and efficient transition through the court Probate process. We are well versed in all Probate Court procedures, the administration with and without a will, will contest, accounting, defending wills, representing Executors or Administrators and beneficiaries.
A will is an expression of your intent, which informs your heirs and the court how you wish your estate (property) distributed. A will is generally filed with the court after your death. A will identifies your spouse and children. A will can include a guardian for your minor children. We are experienced in drafting wills to fit our clients’ needs.
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR FINANCES
The purpose of a Durable Power of Attorney for finances is to give full legal authority to your named agent (attorney-in-fact), to manage your assets (property) when you are unable to, or when you wish another to manage your financial affairs. Should you become incapacitated, your attorney-in-fact will use this document to manage your financial affairs.
ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE
(Also known as a “Power of Attorney for Health Care” or “Living Will”)
The purpose of an Advance Health Care Directive is to give full legal authority to another to manage your health care decisions when you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. Should you become incapacitated, your agent will use this document to manage your health care. A nomination of conservatorship is included in our Advance Health Care Directive. An Advance Health Care Directive also gives legal evidence to your family and physician of your decisions concerning life support.
TRUSTS (Also known as LIVING TRUSTS)
A trust avoids probate when the trustor transfers his/her property to the trust. A revocable trust avoids the publicity and cost of probate and will keep your distributions private.
WHO ARE THE PARTIES TO THE TRUST?
- The creator of the trust, often referred to as the trustor or settlor.
- The manager of the trust, referred to as the trustee (you and your spouse).
- The beneficiary of the trust. This is the person (or persons) for whom the trust is established, i.e. you (or you and your spouse) during your lifetime, then your children, grandchildren, other relatives, charities.
REVOCABLE OR IRREVOCABLE?
A trust may be either revocable or irrevocable. Revocable means you can cancel or alter its terms. Irrevocable means you cannot change it once it is created.
Trusts are commonly referred to as the: A-B Trust; Disclaimer Trust; Marital Deduction Trust; Grantor’s Trust; Marital & Residuary Trust; or Inter Vivos Trust. We also draft Special Needs Trusts for children or adults with mental or physical disabilities.
Whatever your goals, we will draft the appropriate trust for you and your family.
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE A TRUST?
If you already have a trust, ask yourself several questions:
- Does it need to be updated?
- Have you funded your trust?
- Have your circumstances changed?
- Have the laws changed?
- Do you still wish the same distribution and successor trustees?
TRUST ADMINISTRATION UPON DEATH OF THE TRUSTOR(S)
In addition to drafting trusts, our office represents clients in the following areas: administration of their trust when the first spouse dies and when both spouses die, contested trust matters, litigation against and in defense of trustees, drafting accountings, challenging accountings, trust contest, distribution issues and conduct of the trustee. We are experienced in all forms of trust litigation and petitions concerning trust administrations.