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ESTATE PLANNING 

If you are like most people, you have not yet gotten around to creating your estate plan. You may even wonder whether you have an estate worth planning for. 

The short answer is: Yes! But in the event you never get around to creating your own plan, you should know that the State of California and the IRS have a one-size-fits-all solution for you. Without a formal estate plan that holds your property in an asset preserving way, the State and the IRS will distribute your estate according to the laws of intestacy.

An executor will be appointed by the probate court. Fees will pile up. Taxes will be owed. And someone you have never even met will determine what happens to everything you have spent your life working for.  A properly drafted estate plan avoids all of this, carrying out your wishes at the time of your death, in accord with a plan you have created while you are alive and well.

 

Contact our team today to see how we can help you protect your family and preserve your legacy! 

 
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Child GUARDIANSHIP PLANNING

A comprehensive estate plan for families with young children should always include a guardianship designation. Our team helps you carefully consider the selection of appropriate guardians for your children. 


In California, a guardian is someone other than a child’s parents who is given legal custody of the child when the parents are unable or unwilling to care for him or her due to:

  • Death;

  • Illness;

  • Incarceration;

  • Military duty abroad;

  • Profound financial issues;

  • Alcoholism;

  • Drug addiction;

  • Domestic violence;

  • Deportation; or

  • Any other circumstance that renders the parents unfit or unable to care for their children

Giving legal custody of a child to someone other than the child's parents is something the court weighs very heavily. We advise all of our clients with minor children to pay particular attention to making this guardianship designation. As part of your estate planning process we will help you arrive at this consequential determination.

Contact our team today to find out how we can serve you! 

 
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INCAPACITY PLANNING

You can become temporarily or permanently incapacitated if you suffer an illness or an injury which will create substantial complications and tough choices for your family members if you haven’t planned ahead. Protect yourself and the people you love by making sure you have planned in advance.

The Wood Legal team provides invaluable assistance with the incapacity planning process. We can help you to address important issues like what kinds of medical care you wish to receive, how to pay for nursing home care, and who will manage your assets if you cannot.  

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LGBTQ PLANNING

We understand that there are many issues in the law that impact LGBTQ individuals and families inequitably, whether married or cohabitating. We offer sensitive, compassionate, and knowledgeable advice to help you plan for your future, your family and your legacy.

In most respects, estate planning for LGBTQ clients involves the same process as for everyone else but there are some aspects of the law that uniquely affect the LGBTQ community. As a firm, we understand both the general principles, and the specific legal issues facing LGBTQ individuals and families.  

Contact us and let our team work closely with you to customize an estate plan designed to accomplish your goals and meet your specific needs.

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TRUST ADMINISTRATION

Trust administration is distinct from probate in a number of ways, although the end goal is the same. Both trust administration and probate are formal processes used to facilitate the orderly transfer of a deceased person’s assets after death. However, while the probate process involves court oversight throughout the process, trust administration does not.

Trust administration comes about as a by-product of the foresight the deceased person exhibited when she took the time while alive to create a trust to benefit her loved ones. A trustee is named in the trust creation document, and will be responsible for overseeing all of the trust administration process. This can include filing tax returns and taking care of tax issues, notifying
interested parties of the deceased’s death and of the trust provisions, and taking formal steps necessary to transfer ownership of trust property to new owners.

Trust administration steps can vary depending upon the type of trust, as well as upon the instructions the deceased included as part of the trust document at creation.

 
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PROBATE LITIGATION

Probate is the court-supervised administration of an estate. Our team assists you in the orderly transfer of assets and the payment of outstanding debts. We also oversee the transfer of trust assets and handle estate litigation matters.

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DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that centers on a give-and-take between the parties to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. When disputes regarding contested wills, trusts, guardianships or conservatorship arise in the probate or trust administration process, mediation is a valuable tool for resolving differences.

Probate disputes typically involve immediate family members or close relatives. Emotions tend to run high after the death of a loved one, making it easy to lose perspective. Mediation provides all sides the opportunity to express their views and can often work to defuse what would otherwise be a volatile situation. More often than not, it is possible to work out a win-win compromise between all concerned.

Our attorneys have advanced training in mediation, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution. Trust us when we say, Family Feud is only fun on TV. We're here to help your family avoid the pain and disruption conflict in the probate process can breed.

 
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