Estate planning is the process of developing a plan and preparing documents to conserve, protect, and distribute estate assets before and after death for the benefit of loved ones and charities, taking into consideration the effect of state and federal tax and administrative laws and regulations.
When an adult is are unable to make critical decisions that affect their his or her welfare, a conservatorship may be established to ensure that the individual’s ir rights and interests are protected. A conservator is must be appointed by the a Probate Court after filing the Petition for Conservatorship and other necessary documentation. Often, the Probate Court appoints an independent attorney to represent the proposed Conservatee.
When disputes arise regarding the care of an incapacitated adult or regarding the management of his or her assets, initiating a conservatorship can be the first step towards protecting that person. Family members or friends may disagree about whether a conservator should be appointed, who should be appointed, whether the conseravatee is receiving appropriate care, or if the conservator is properly managing the conservatee’s assets.
Probate is the court-supervised administration of a decedent’s estate. The court appoints an executor (if named in the will), an administrator if no executor is named. The terms executor and administrator are often used interchangeably, and both positions are known as “personal representatives.” The probate administration includes inventorying and appraising the estate assets, determining and paying debts, and selling assets if required. Upon conclusion of the administration, the court orders the estate to be distributed according to the decedent’s will or pursuant to laws of intestate succession. Because of the inherent delays involved in any court action, the probate process often lasts 8-12 months. The compensation of the personal representative and attorney are set by statute according to the size of the estate. Additional compensation for “extraordinary services” is subject to court approval.
Most clients prefer to avoid some of the delays and costs of probate by creating living trusts. Of course, having a trust does not result in instant transfer of assets upon death, but the expense and time can be significantly less than if a formal probate administration is required.
When a family member has passed away, the last thing that you should have to deal with is the complex and often frustrating process of probate. The estate administration team at Velasco Law Group has decades of experience administering hundreds of estates with courtesy, efficiency, and according to the highest standards of professionalism.
The most common probate disputes involve “who gets what,” either under a will or if a decedent dies intestate. Family members and beneficiaries may disagree about who should be appointed by the court and whether that personal representative is effectively carrying out his or her duties.
You can be confident knowing that you have attorneys for you who have strong knowledge of the probate process. Our founding attorney, Paul D. Velasco, is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization — a distinction held by less than one percent of all attorneys in California.
When opposing parties cannot agree on terms of settlement, they may agree on mediation. In mediation a neutral intermediary helps the parties reach a mutually satisfactory settlement of their dispute. Any settlement is recorded in an enforceable contract.
Mediation is an efficient and cost-effective way of achieving settlement. By agreeing to a settlement, parties forego the cost of continuing legal fees.
Another benefit to mediation is that family relationships may be preserved.
Every family can benefit from estate planning. Our goal is to provide you and your family with peace of mind, knowing that your estate plan and family wealth is protected and will be distributed in accordance with your wishes.
Contact the Velasco Law Group for all of your estate and probate needs, including: