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Estate Planning

Helping people with estate planning in the East Bay, Oakland, and all of the San Francisco Bay Area – California

Estate Planning

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process where a person, single or married, gets all of their affairs in order so that when they die, or they lose the capacity to manage their finances, they know who will be in charge of distributing or managing their assets. Estate planning also takes into consideration other types of decisions such as who will make medical decisions for a person if they lose capacity to make medical decisions for themselves. Estate planning answer the important decisions a person needs to make.

For example:

  • Who do you want to receive your ASSETS when you die?
  • Does a loved one have SPECIAL NEEDSfor which you want to provide?
  • Who do you want to manage your FINANCES if you, or your spouse, lose the capacity to manage your finances on your own?
  • Who do should you TRUST to manage your finances?
  • Who do you want to make MEDICAL DECISIONSfor you if you are not able to make them yourself?
  • Do you want to have PAIN MEDICATIONto keep you comfortable in the event you cannot speak for yourself?
  • What would you like for your FINAL ARRANGEMENTS — to be buried, cremated, or something more exciting like a party or scattering of your ashes at sea?

When we help you with an Estate plan, we help you answer these types of questions and many more.

How long does it take to do an estate plan?

Not long. Unless you have a very complicated estate, most plans can be completed in a matter of a few weeks, or much sooner in emergencies. We know what to ask and we help you through the process step by step. If you can help it, don’t wait until you have an emergency. It is much harder to do an estate plan if you wait until you may not have capacity or soundness of mind.

What is included in an estate plan?

Our estate plans are complete and include all of these legal documents:

  • A Will — you need to have a special type of Will called a “Pour Over Will”. This document works with the next document called a “Trust”.
  • A Revocable Living Trust — this is the document where you state where you want your property to go upon your demise. Your Trust is the most important document in your plan because it is the central document that keeps your estate private and saves your loved ones the expense of probate.
  • A Power of Attorney — this is a legal document where you state who will manage your finances and pay your bills in the event you, or your spouse, does not have the capacity to manage them on your own.
  • An Advanced Health Care Directive — this is a set of legal documents that give your loved ones directions on medical decisions and if you want to be given pain medication to remain comfortable in certain situations where you cannot consent on your own.
  • There are a few other documents that are included in a good estate plan but we handle all of those for you and simply explain what each of them do for you. Our goal at the end of the process is for you to have peace of mind.
for a Free Quick Help Guide on the most common QUESTIONS and most common MISTAKES people make by not having an Estate Plan.
Are Estate Plans expensive?

No — Estate Plans generally cost between $1,000-$5,000, with an average plan costing between $1,500-$2,500. These are professionally prepared plans with our firm based on your individual situations. Complicated or very large estates will cost more but 87% of the people in the San Francisco Bay Area only require an estate plan that is within the average.

Compare that to the cost of your loved ones having to probate your estate.

How much could I save with an estate plan instead of leaving my loved ones to probate my estate?

That depends on the value of your estate but let’s say for example you have an estate worth $1,000,000, which is fairly easy to have if you are in the Bay Area. If you do NOT have an estate plan (the living trust being most important), it will cost your loved ones approximately $46,000 to probate the estate, will take 12-18 months to complete, and will expose all that you own to the public view.

If you HAVE A TRUST in your estate plan, everything is done in the privacy of our offices with your successor trustee and the cost is minimal, especially compared to the cost to probate an estate. Your loved ones are given a copy of the Trust and then your property is distributed to them per your final wishes. No one that understands the difference would chose probate. That is why so many people have Trusts in their estate plan – they just make so much sense.

If you are reading this information, it is likely you or a loved one needs some level of estate planning – we can help you. This is what we do every day.

Need to talk with a lawyer or have an emergency, call 925-953-2024 or click here


We make Estate Planning simple and easy but if you want to read more information on each part of an estate plan. Click on the links below and you will be taken to more information.

  • How does a Will work in an Estate Plan? Click here.
  • How does a Living Trust work with an Estate Plan? Click here.
  • How does a Power of Attorney work in an Estate Plan? Click here.
  • How does an Advanced Health Care Directive work in an Estate Plan? Click here.

Need to talk us or have an emergency, call 925-953-2024 or click here

from our Estate Planning clients.

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