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Residential Housing Complex

Estate Planning

This practice assist clients in preparing individualized and comprehensive estate plan documents, including:

  • Living Trust

  • Pour Over Wills

  • Advance health care directives

  • Durable powers of attorney

  • Conservatorships

  • Estate and gift tax planning issues

  • Updated beneficiary designations in retirement assets, life insurance policies and other financial assets

Incapacity is defined as the fact that you are unable to do something because you do not have the ability or because you are too weak. Estate planning is a great way to ensure your assets are protected, your healthcare needs will be met and your financial affairs will be managed by people you trusts in the event of your death or incapacity.  It is also a great way to ensure your family will be taken care of in accordance with your wishes in the event you become unavailable.  Our office can provide you with updates and pertinent advice regarding the right estate planning tools to fit you and your family’s needs.  Contact us to learn whether or not a revocable living trust or irrevocable trust is right for you.  We can also offer you a free Estate Planning checklist.

How We Can Help:

We handle all aspects of estate planning and can explain the benefits of putting in place a living trust and expertly handle all the steps involved:


            Preparation of Declaration of Trust;

            Designating the trustee and successor trustee;

            Listing the trust beneficiaries;

            Detailing what assets are subject to the trust.


In California, to transfer or inherit property after someone becomes incapacitated or dies, it’s usually necessary to go to court and open a Probate case. The process is complicated, lengthy and takes valuable assets away from the heirs. One flexible method to avoid probate is the living trust; an estate plan in place allows you to control your resources and investments during your lifetime while preparing for a smooth transition for your heirs. 


Additionally, a revocable living trust can be amended anytime you desire, or your financial conditions change. Remember that you control the trust, nothing happens without your involvement. 


A complete estate plan has a number of elements that ensure that a person’s estate will be managed and distributed successfully according to your wishes. 


Elements of a typical Estate Plan


Living Trust


Living trusts are legally recognized in every state, as the trustee of your own living trust, you grant yourself the broad powers of the document itself. Nothing changes about the way you ran your investments, properties, businesses or any of your financial affairs, and every asset you put in the trust stays out of probate. One of the most attractive aspects of a living trust is its ability to take care of you if you become disabled or mentally incapacitated.  




This is a document that in which you specify how your property will be distributed when you die. It is a backup for assets that are not transferred to the living trust.  A will is a sensible tool to choose a beneficiary for suddenly acquired property.


Durable Power of Attorney for Finances


This Power of Attorney covers your financial affairs if you are incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself. It gives another person permission to handle your money and act on your behalf.  A Power of Attorney usually applies to all of your assets, but you can create one for specific financial transactions and for a certain time period. With a Power of Attorney, your agent can handle your bills, manage your investments and make financial decisions on your behalf. Without one, if you become sick or incapacitated, no one can handle your affairs without pursuing a conservatorship which is a problematic and time-consuming process.


Health Care Directive


You need a Healthcare Directive in order to control your medical treatment and to have your wishes respected by hospitals and doctors. In California, the document you use to explain these wishes is called an Advanced Healthcare Directive. This document allows you to state your wishes regarding the use of medical treatment and it designates an agent for making healthcare decisions for you.  Your end of life instructions are also explained in this document.


Below are Six Factors to Consider When Creating a Living Trust in California:

1. Choose between a single or joint trust (often used by married couples).

2. Decide what property you want to include in your living trust. This may include stock ownership, bank accounts, vehicles, homes, etc.

* Gather the necessary paperwork to prove ownership.

3. Choose a responsible Trustee. The trustee is responsible for ensuring the assets are directed to the beneficiaries in the way that the trust states.

*Let your Attorney know if you would like to plan for any individuals with special needs or minor children.

4. Name beneficiaries to inherit the trust assets and alternate beneficiaries in the event your original beneficiaries become unavailable.

5. Enlist the help of an attorney, financial advisor and or a certified public accountant to assist in drawing up the trust documents.

 *You can attempt to do so yourself but due to the complexity of probate law, you should consider seeking Counsel.

6. Transfer your assets to the trust and create a schedule of trust assets. Don't worry, your attorney can help you with this step, as well.

Below are Six Factors to Consider when Creating a Financial Power of Attorney & Healthcare Directive:

1. Choose someone you trust to manage your finances in the event you become ill or incapacitated.  

2. Consider whether or not your needs will be best met if you choose a different person to manage your healthcare needs in the event you become incapacitated from your Financial Power of Attorney. 

3. If you choose to have a different person serve as your Financial Power of Attorney than the Agent you designated on your Healthcare Directive, pick two people who can work well together.

4. Consider having one person hold decision making authority at any given time so that decision making is not halted in the event your Co-Power of Attorneys or Co-Agents fail to agree on an issue or undermine the decision made by the other.

5. Consider the personality types and beliefs of the Agents you choose to assist you.  Do their beliefs and values align with your values?  Is the person very thoughtful?  Is the person good in a crisis or paralyzed by responsibility?

6. Choose a backup person(s) in the event your first choice(s) become unavailable.


Please contact us for a free virtual consultation at or at (213) 272-1000.  Please note that Holloway & Kimberlin, LLP also assists with Probate and Trust Administration and Probate and Trust Litigation.


We will fight to protect your interests.

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