Estate Planning Chart Your Course with Confidence

Fullerton Estate Planning Attorneys

Ensuring a Bright Future for You & Your Family

Setting up an adequate estate plan can serve several important purposes. The first is to make sure your wishes are respected and carried out when you can no longer care for yourself. The other is to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of when you pass away. Two of the main vehicles we use to accomplish these goals are wills and trusts, but there are plenty of other estate planning tools to take advantage of.

At OC Elder Law, our estate planning attorneys in Fullerton can help you establish a comprehensive estate plan that accounts for your unique circumstances. We proudly provide the same guidance and legal power of a large firm, but in a personalized setting that can be tailored to our clients’ needs.

Call us at (714) 400-2373 or contact us online to learn more about our estate planning services.

Wills

A will is a document that goes into effect once you die. This document is used to decide how your money and property will be distributed. When someone dies with a certified will, a judge will oversee the process of distributing property and assets according to the provisions outlined in the will. This is known as probate, a process that can be very costly and time-consuming. Due to these circumstances, most people wish to avoid the process of probate by establishing a trust.

Trusts

A trust is a document that allows us to avoid probate and override the state's intestacy laws. This means that you can transfer money and property to your intended beneficiaries without the court’s involvement. You, the grantor, place property and money into the trust, which can then be divided and distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. This means re-titling your deed and other accounts into your trust’s name. A trustee can then manage these assets until the time comes for them to be divided and distributed. While you are alive, you will be the trustee over the account. Should you be unable to manage your affairs, a successor trustee that you nominate will take over. When you die, this successor trustee will coordinate the division and distribution of all trust assets to the beneficiaries.

There are several different types of trusts that can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

Power of Attorney & Other Healthcare Documents

A power of attorney – sometimes known as a financial durable power of attorney – is another important estate planning tool. A power of attorney is only effective while you are living. It grants someone else the power to help you manage your financial assets and property. This power can be as broad or as narrow as you see fit.

While there are a variety of healthcare documents that are important to consider, we typically help clients establish:

  • Healthcare power of attorney: This document allows you to award someone with the ability to make decisions regarding your healthcare needs, should you no longer be able to make those decisions yourself. This document can be critical to ensure that your exact wishes are carried out when it comes to receiving the care and treatment you want.
  • Advanced healthcare directive: Sometimes referred to as a living will, this document directs the person you choose to oversee your healthcare in certain situations. This document will specifically discuss your wishes on how to receive treatment should you find yourself in an unrecoverable medical state.
  • HIPAA release: HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a law that prevents doctors and medical facilities from releasing your medical information. This protection can be waived so that friends and family may speak to the doctors and receive information regarding your care. The people to whom you give this privilege may obtain medical information but will not have the authority to make any decisions regarding your healthcare. That authority will still belong to your nominated healthcare power of attorney.

The Benefits of Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

For some folks, estate planning is not a high priority. Some people don’t think they have an estate big enough to warrant an estate plan, while others simply don’t want to confront the unpleasant feelings associated with planning for their death. Furthermore, many people believe they can do their own estate planning with generic forms found online.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many facets to estate planning. While you might think that planning your estate is simply just setting up a last will and testament, it actually scales far beyond that. Our Fullerton estate planning attorneys can help develop a plan to mitigate estate taxes, form a living trust, and make sure your assets are safe from your beneficiaries’ creditors after your death.

We highly recommend retaining an attorney if:

  • You have more than one marriage
  • You want to donate part of your assets to charity
  • You want to mitigate estate tax

Do Only the Very Rich Need Estate Planning Lawyers?

Even if you do not have millions, you can benefit from the advice and experience of an estate planning lawyer. An experienced attorney stays focused and on top of family dynamics and subtle legalities. He ensures that problems do not arise when carrying out your will. He also ensures that an ex-spouse does not inherit unintended assets and prevents special needs family members from losing out on government benefits due to improper paperwork.

Can a Bank, Brokerage Firm, or Financial Institution Suffice?

A bank, brokerage firm, or financial institution can only help you in planning your estate financially. They are not qualified to draft legal documents or lend you legal advice.

Estate planning has major links with Medicaid and tax planning when you are planning your finances. An experienced lawyer helps in drafting sound estate plans that are legally sound and account for various unexpected events.

An estate planning attorney offers great assistance in allocating your assets in complicated family and financial situations. The experience and advice they bring to the table can help you in drafting sound wills and testaments. They also ensure that your paperwork is error-free with no loss to any beneficiary regarding government taxes or creditors.

Christian Estate Planning

At OC Elder Law, we are led by our Christian principles and ideals. Our estate planning services embody the morals of the Christian faith.

So what is Christian estate planning? For some, it means nothing. Just knowing that your attorney is coming from the same worldview as you is enough.

For others, it simply means prayer during our meetings. Prayer during the meeting allows God to guide your attorney’s mind to design the ideal for you as a result of prayer.

For others, it may mean altering your legal documents. We can interlace scripture throughout your trust, will, power of attorney, and healthcare documents to guide your family in what is important to you. We want to give them comfort in a time when they are stressed and grieving and make sure they know that you are in a better place.

For those with minor children, it means praying about a guardian for your children. We often look at the financial stability of a guardian to determine if they can care for your children. More importantly, we want to look at the spiritual stability of your guardian. Are they going to raise your children in the way that you raise them?

To discuss your estate planning needs and goals with our team, call (714) 400-2373 or contact us online.

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  • Avvo - 2015 Clients' Choice - Estate Planning
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Meet the Crew

Compassion, Experience & Integrity
  • Marty  Burbank Photo
    Marty Burbank

    Attorney

    Marty Burbank wants to live in a world where children are healthy and safe, where seniors live without fear or pain, and where veterans are cared for and respected. Marty is a featured expert in estate planning and elder law by Forbes and was recognized by the Orange County Register as one of the 100 most influential people in Orange County. He frequently speaks about seniors, our military veterans, their benefits, and the legal issues related to their care and quality of life. Marty has ...
  • Joshua  Ramirez Photo
    Joshua Ramirez

    Attorney

    Joshua D. Ramirez received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal State Fullerton. Josh attended Loyola Law School in Los Angeles where he obtained his Juris Doctor and his LLM in Taxation, which he obtained “with distinction.” He has a passion for elder law, as evidenced by him graduating #1 in his elder law class. Josh has a passion for the elderly and families mourning the loss of a loved one. Josh enjoys spending time with his wife and young son, spending the day at the shooting ...
  • Erlinda  Vasquez Photo
    Erlinda Vasquez

    Attorney

    Erlinda Vasquez received her bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Loyola Marymount University. In college, Erlinda was involved in many extracurricular activities, including the Harvard Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI). As an LLI Scholar, Erlinda partnered with Harvard Kennedy School to create a community service project in Los Angeles. She later received her juris doctor from Loyola Law School where she discovered her passion for elder law. During her first year of law ...
  • Bryce  Letterman Photo
    Bryce Letterman

    Attorney

    For more than 25 years, Attorney Bryce Letterman has provided dedicated representation to clients in a wide variety of legal matters. Mr. Letterman assists clients primarily with estate planning and probate. He also has experience in several other areas, including business and civil litigation. His decades of experience in estate planning have ranged from simple wills and powers of attorney through complex planning including Medi-Cal, asset protection, and strategies to maximize the after-tax ...
  • Tessa  Gardner Photo
    Tessa Gardner

    Attorney

    Tessa Gardner received her bachelor’s degree in international business from Pepperdine University. While studying at Pepperdine, Tessa played lacrosse and developed her philanthropic purpose as a member of Alpha Phi. Tessa later went on to get her juris doctor from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. During her time at law school, Tessa interned for the District Attorney's office in the Family Violence and Cold Case units where her passion for seniors' rights developed. Tessa then ...
  • Michael  Lawlor Photo
    Michael Lawlor

    Attorney

    Michael has practiced estate planning and trust litigation in California since 1981 except for the few years he took off to sail around the world with his wife on their boat Traveler. He attended USC for his undergraduate studies and earned his J.D. from Western State School of Law.
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OC Elder Law

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