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Protecting you, your family and your legacy through personalized estate planning!

Voted TOP 40 UNDER 40 FOR CALIFORNIA by The National Black Lawyers Association 2017, 2018 & 2019

 
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WOOD LEGAL GROUP, A MOTHER-DAUGHTER ESTATE PLANNING TEAM IN LOS ANGELES, PASADENA, & SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES

California Estate Planning That Focuses On You And Your Family

We are devoted exclusively to estate planning. As members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys we perform 36 hours of continuing legal education in the areas of estate planning, elder law and tax law every year. We offer guidance and advice to our clients in every area of estate planning. Contact us today for more information!

 Is Your Plan Outdated?

Change is inevitable! See if your plan is outdated
and if you need to take action to protect your loved ones.

Estate, Business & Tax Law:

PROTECTION FOR YOUR ASSETS. PLANNING FOR YOUR FUTURE.

At Wood Legal Group, LLP, we help families, entrepreneurs and small to mid-size businesses in the areas of:

  • Estate Planning (including wills, living trusts, powers of attorney and health care directives)

  • Trust and Probate Administration & Litigation

  • Business Law and Business Succession Planning

  • Financial Planning and Asset Protection

What Sets Us Apart

We’ve developed expertise in each of these areas; but, more important, we understand the complex interconnections among them all. As members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, we complete 36 hours of continuing legal education every year specifically in the areas of elder law, estate planning and tax law.

In addition to serving our clients’ immediate needs, we pride ourselves on being strategic partners and providing long-term planning and support. 

 
 
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ESTATE
PLANNING

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YOUNG FAMILIES PLANNING

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SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING

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TRUST ADMINISTRATION AND PROBATE

 
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Frequently Asked Questions

Most of us spend a considerable amount of time and energy in our lives accumulating wealth. With this, there comes a time to preserve wealth both for enjoyment and future generations. A solid, effective estate plan ensures that your hard-earned wealth will remain intact as it passes to your beneficiaries, instead of being siphoned off to government processes and bureaucrats.  
This affidavit is what you will give to anyone who asks for a copy of your Trust or for any information regarding your Trust. It is in the “Affidavit of Trust” Section of your Portfolio. Do not detach the Affidavit from the pages that are attached to it. Ask them to make a photocopy of the Affidavit and the attachments and to give you back the original. In some cases, such as with stocks and bonds, you may have to mail a copy. If you are not asked for anything, then you do not need to furnish the Affidavit of Trust.  
Occasionally, the question arises as to whether the assets that have been transferred into the Trust are protected from creditors. The answer is that the Trust instrument is not designed for the protection of assets from creditors and, therefore, it is completely neutral as to any rights, which the creditors would have. In fact, you cannot legally transfer your assets to your Trust and deny your creditors their right to be paid. However, after the death of the Trustor(s), this issue changes and a thorough discussion should be held with us about the options.  
Many people believe that once their Trust is completed and their assets are in the Trust, or are payable to the Trust on their death, there is no further need for the services of the Attorney. This is not generally true. The services of the Attorney will be needed in the event of your incapacity or death. Certainly these events will not require as extensive and as expensive services as those rendered in Court Guardianships or Probate, but your Successor Trustee will need the help and guidance of your Attorney in the proper handling of your Trust under these circumstances.  
The only transfers which are to be made to a Revocable Living Trust are interests which are owned in assets. Debt that has been incurred by you is not transferred to the Trust.  
We will record the original Deed that you signed. When we receive the recorded Deed back from the County Recorder, we will mail it to you. The recording process normally takes approximately eight weeks. If you have real estate in another State, the attorney from that State will handle the transfer after the signing of the trust and will bill you directly.  
When you make your Living Trust, if you are serving as the original Trustee, the filing of your personal income tax returns is not affected. You continue to file your returns in the same manner as you always have. You do not have to file a separate tax return for your Living Trust, unless you or your spouse (if applicable) is no longer acting as Trustee. When you are not Trustee, and someone other than you is acting as your Trustee, then the Trust must have its own tax identification number and must file its own income tax returns, known as fiduciary income tax returns.  
Unless we have received instructions to the contrary, all insurance policies and annuities should name the Trust as the primary beneficiary; however, regarding IRAs, Pension Plans, etc., there may be income tax advantages to naming your spouse (if applicable) as the Primary Beneficiary and the Trust as the contingent Beneficiary. It is very important to remember that unlike the majority of transfers you will be completing, unless you are advised to the contrary, you are not changing ownership of your policies and IRAs, as you do with bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc; you are merely changing beneficiaries.  
The question frequently arises as to whether the assets that have been transferred to the Trust are protected when it is necessary to place the Trustor in a nursing home. The answer is the same as that in the “Creditor” section above. The Trust instrument is not designed for the protection of assets from creditors, or in this case, from nursing homes. Therefore, again it is completely neutral as to any rights which the nursing home would have whether or not you had a trust.  
It is not necessary to obtain a separate tax identification number for your Living Trust. When you make your transfers at various financial institutions, stockbrokers, etc., they will use the same taxpayer identification number they used before you make your Living Trust. This is simply your social security number.  
The will that is in the “Pour Over Will” Section of your Portfolio is only a copy. It is not to be signed. Your original Will, which you have signed, is in the separate envelope and should be stored in a fireproof place. We provide a copy in the Pour Over Will” Section so that it is easier for you to read and review.  
 

Welcome to a Better Law Firm Experience

Beyond our wealth of experience and skills, Wood Legal Group, LLP offers unmatched personal service and dedication. Each of our clients become a part of our family. We are more than the transaction, we are lifetime advisors to you and your family.

 
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PORTIA M. WOOD

Partner

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ROBIN W. WOOD

Partner

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SAVANNAH G.M. WOOD

Marketing Coordinator

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QIANA A. BYRD

Marketing Manager and Paralegal