Estate Planning is making preemptive arrangements for the management of a person’s or family’s estate during life as well as its disposition on death through trusts, wills, health care and financial directives and other planning documents. Estate planning is recommended to all individuals as it provides peace-of-mind and a straightforward plan to give to loved ones charged with the handling of a person’s affairs upon one’s incapacity or death.
A Conservatorship is a proceeding initiated and supervised through the court whereby a person appointed by court, after a vetting process, assumes responsibility for the financial and/or personal interests of another. A conservatorship is often only needed as a last resort or if no or limited estate planning has been done.
A Prenuptial Agreement (or "prenup") is a contract created between two individuals prior to marriage that establishes the financial and property rights of both parties in the event of a legal separation or divorce. Postnuptial Agreements, or agreements between spouses after becoming married are less common but also done for various reasons.
If and when an individual needs to act as trustee of a trust, there are a number of tasks assigned to the trustee that can be difficult to navigate. The trustee is in charge of administering the trust estate for the best interest of the trust beneficiaries and has a fiduciary duty of care and loyalty to all the beneficiaries. Duties include locating and liquidating trust assets, paying off creditors and distributing assets to the beneficiaries per the terms of the trust. All of these actions require strict adherence to California law in order to avoid potential liability for the trustee. The process can be challenging, but can be made much simpler with professional legal assistance.
When a loved one passes away, probate is the process by which the court oversees the transfer of assets and liabilities of a decedent to his or her heirs. Even if a person has executed a will, a probate still needs to be opened in the county the decedent resided in or owns real property in. The court appoints a personal representative to administer the estate and the process includes many formal steps which must be taken under California law. The process typically takes at least nine to twelve months to complete but can sometimes take much longer if there are complications or litigation involved.
Getting a divorce is not just a one step process even if both parties already have an agreement. A number of steps must be completed before a judge will sign off on that final divorce decree. Ideally, both parties would reach an agreement or settlement of all issues including child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support and property division. When the divorce is uncontested, meaning both spouses reach an agreement on every aspect of separation, the process is much simpler and can be completed without the stress and expense of trial and multiple court appearances. While less complex than a contested divorce, there are still many steps taken in an uncontested divorce which can be much simpler to navigate with professional legal assistance.
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