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Trusts and Estates

Comprehensive Counsel for Trusts and Estates in California

Experienced Carlsbad attorney advises on legacy matters

A comprehensive estate plan allows you to protect your family, property, and final wishes. At Gilliland Law, I focus on helping clients leave lasting legacies by providing hands-on, experienced estate planning guidance for clients with wills, trusts and probate. As an experienced trusts and estates attorney, I will carefully assess your personal and financial goals to assist you in crafting a thorough plan. With more than 15 years of experience handling legacy matters, I have an in-depth understanding of the instruments that provide clients with options for safeguarding their assets and loved ones and will provide you with sound advice and direction.

Skilled lawyer helps you draft your will in California

A will expresses your final wishes, so it is an essential part of any estate plan. It allows you to decide what will happen to your property and assets once you pass and which loved ones or organizations will benefit. It also gives you the chance to name a person you trust to administer your estate through probate.

If you die without a will in California, your estate will be divided up based on the state’s intestate succession laws rather than your choices. I can help you draft a will that is transparent, accurate, and most of all, lawful. In addition, if you experience any major life events such as a marriage, birth, or death in the family, I can help you modify your will accordingly.

California legacy lawyer helps you choose the right trust for your family

Trusts save families time and money by allowing them to bypass the probate process. A trust is simply an arrangement where a trustee holds title over property for a beneficiary. I have experience setting up the following types of trusts for clients in California:

  • Revocable living trusts — This type of trust allows you to designate property to be given to a beneficiary at the time of your death. As the grantor of the trust, you maintain full control over the trust and assets while you’re alive.
  • Irrevocable trusts — These trusts are ideal for long-term asset management but the grantor removes all rights to ownership of the trust’s assets: the trust can’t be changed or revoked.
  • Qualified personal residence trust — You can minimize the size of your estate by transferring your residence to a qualified personal residence trust.
  • Retirement trusts — Private retirement trusts are increasingly popular because they offer asset protection strategies for a more secure retirement.

A good estate plan should safeguard your legacy as well as your assets. I can work closely with you to identify your long-term goals and create a plan custom tailored to suit your needs.

Assistance for clients establishing guardianships

If something were to happen to you, who would take care of your children? That’s a decision no parent wants to make but every parent needs to. That’s why naming a guardian to care for your minor children in the event of your death or incapacity is one of the most important considerations in your estate plan. In California, you can choose a guardian of the person (someone legally responsible for the physical, everyday care of your child) and guardian of the estate (the person legally responsible for the assets inherited by your child). You can also establish a trust for your children, naming a trustee who will oversee payments for your child’s everyday needs. And one person can act as guardian of the person, guardian of the estate and trustee, if you choose. To ensure your children will be cared for by someone you select and trust, I can help you appoint a guardian or trustee.

Experienced counselor guides you through the probate process

Probate is the court-ordered process of validating a will. If you are named as the executor of a will or the administrator of an estate for someone without a will, I can guide you through the probate process. That process may take from six months to two years to complete, depending on the estate’s size and complexity. The executor’s duties usually include:

  • Filing the will and a petition for probate in the probate court in the county where the deceased lived
  • Notifying heirs and beneficiaries
  • Gathering the estate’s assets, compiling an inventory, and valuing the estate
  • Paying the estate’s outstanding debts and taxes
  • Asking the court to close the estate, which allows the executor to distribute assets to those named in the will

Depending on the size of an estate, probate may not be necessary at all. In California, estates valued at $166,250 or less are not required to pass through probate. After assessing your situation, I can help you administer a loved one’s will through probate, contest a will, or create an estate plan including a trust that avoids the probate process entirely.

Contact a dedicated estate planning attorney in California

Gilliland Law provides knowledgeable advice on wills, probate, trusts, and other estate planning matters. Please call 760-203-3170 or contact me online to schedule a free initial consultation at my Carlsbad office.

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Our Offices
  • Carlsbad Office
    1902 Wright Place
    Suite 200
    Carlsbad, California 92008
    Phone: 760-237-0323