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Probate, Wills, Trusts

Estate Planning Services in Mountain View, California

Estate planning for the end of life or probate matters when a loved one has passed away are not easy for anyone to deal with, but are nevertheless important. The laws governing probate, wills and trusts are complicated and can have serious tax and legal complications. If you are facing any of these legal matters, it is best to consult an attorney for help understanding the law and to know the best way to proceed.


Probate is a term that few people understand. Probate involves a process whereby the assets of a person who has died are distributed. This process falls under court supervision and it is a matter of public court records. It can involve disagreements between family members and with creditors. In California, the process of probate can be simplified with proper estate planning. Peninsula Law Group has the experience to handle the complex court issues surrounding a California probate matter.

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Developing a will is one of the single most important assets you can create to benefit your heirs including your spouse and children. Simply put, your will helps establish who will receive your assets including money, real estate, stocks and bonds, and any other valuable property upon your death. A will is also how you are able to ensure your children are protected and how you can appoint a guardian to take care of them in the event you pass while they are still minors.

There are two issues related to wills that all California residents should understand:

  1. There are significant legal rules surrounding the creation of a will. If you previously created a will, even if you had the help of an attorney, it is wise to have it reviewed by a second legal professional.
  2. Wills should be updated regularly. This helps ensure those you identified as beneficiaries are not left out of your estate. During our lives we go through dramatic life changes, from having kids and then grandkids, changing jobs, buying real estate, starting companies, and each of these events impacts your Will. Make sure it’s up to date!

Finally, while a will alone may be sufficient for many Californians to resolve their estate concerns, it’s not ideal for everyone. For those clients we recommend a combination of both a will and a trust or several trusts. This can provide benefits far beyond what a simple WIll can provide, and after a consultation, many of our clients agree they would like to take advantage of a what a will and trust combination estate strategy offers.

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A Trust is one way to pass estate assets to beneficiaries without having to go through probate. It is important that you outline how you want your assets to be held to protect your property or a dependent. Part of this process is to designate a trustee who will be subject to your wishes and legal duties under the Trust as specified by law. There are many kinds of trusts geared to the support of different purposes.

There are several things to keep in mind when considering your trust options.

  1. Not all Trusts are made equal. There are various types of trusts available, deciding which one is right in your situation can be complicated. What type of Trust is right for you will depend on your estate planning objectives.
  2. Trusts have certain tax protections and assets may not have to go through probate. Assets titled to a trust are taken out of a person’s personal property and thus are no longer part of a probate estate. There are also trust options available to help minimize estate taxes and to help heirs avoid the gift tax.

It is important your trust is created properly for your specific situation and goals. Contact The Peninsula Law Group today for the help you need.

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