Get Started on Your Case with Our Fullerton Elder Law Attorneys
Becoming a client at OC Elder Law is simple. Once you reach out to us –
whether by phone or online – we’ll send you a confidential
client information sheet, which will help us prepare for your initial
meeting. We also request that you consider the topics outlined below before
your first appointment.
Who are the important people in your life? Beginning with yourself, they
also likely include your loved ones: your spouse if you are married, children
and grandchildren if you have any, perhaps your parents, siblings, or
other relatives. Beyond these, however, “important people”
also could include charities, special causes, colleges or universities,
or churches to which you are committed. For some, important people could
even include pets. Spend some time thinking about the impact others have
had on your life. Make a list and jot notes if you like. This is where
the planning process truly begins.
By property, we mean your assets in general. Make a list of the assets
you own or control. At this point, you do not need to identify insurance
policy numbers and exact dollar values. Instead, think through your assets
in terms of their nature (cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.); their
value in thousands of dollars; and your ownership interest. Do you own
assets in your name only, in joint tenancy with someone else, or through a
trust agreement or some other arrangement? Be sure to include often-overlooked
assets like life insurance (the death benefit, not the cash value), business
interests, and any inheritance you may expect to receive.
After identifying the important people in your life and your property,
the next step is to consider the plans you would make for those people
(including yourself) and that property in the event of your own incapacity or death.
Who would you name to make decisions for you if you could no longer do
so yourself? Would the same person handle your finances and your personal
and healthcare decisions? Who would care for your minor children? How
would you distribute your assets to your heirs? Would you prefer to spare
your heirs the potential cost and hassles of the probate process? Would
you like to minimize the impact of estate taxes or maximize the impact
of a charitable bequest? Is there someone in your family with special
needs for whom you would like to provide? Is there someone who perhaps
should not receive a great deal of (or any) money without some outside
These are just a few of the issues to consider when approaching the planning
process. They are much more important than the “treasure hunt”
for legal documents at this stage.
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 ...