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Estate Planning


Nationwide Estate Planning Attorneys

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Guardian Litigation Group, LLP takes great pride in providing a wide range of comprehensive legal services to help individuals, families, and business owners address their specific estate planning needs. Our detail-orientated and knowledgeable legal professionals can prepare all of the necessary documents and include enforceable provisions customized to meet your estate objectives and preserve your legacy for future generations.

Whether you need an attorney to help draft your last will or you need qualified advice for deciding which types of trusts will best protect your assets and minimize taxes, our knowledgeable estate planning lawyers can get all of your essential affairs in order so you can rest easy knowing you’re prepared for the future.

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We make it our top priority to set our clients up with the right legal tools for their unique estates, which is why we will gladly take the time to listen to your concerns so we can properly draft, review, update, and formalize legal documents for any of the following estate planning matters.
  • Will drafting
  • Will contests
  • Trusts administration
  • Trust litigation
  • Advanced healthcare directives
  • Medical and financial powers of attorney
  • Guardianships and conservatorships
Although many people think they don’t need an estate plan because they aren’t rich or because they’re young and healthy, the truth is that estate planning can benefit people of all age groups and income levels. Some benefits of estate planning include:
  • Document your last wishes and ensure they are respected and followed point-by-point
  • Minimize probate, estate, gift, income, and business taxes
  • Your loved ones can avoid the hassle of probate
  • Quickly distribute assets to beneficiaries after you pass away
  • Ensuring minor children or special needs loved ones are taken care of

In California, it is important to draft and properly execute a Last Will and Testament (a “Will”). A Will is your opportunity to designate how your assets will be distributed after your passing. If you die without a California Will, your possessions will be distributed according to California statutory law. These laws are generally called the laws of Intestate Succession. According to the California laws of intestate succession, generally speaking, your possessions will go to members of your family. The biggest risk is that you may not WANT some of your family to have your possessions. Further, the rules of intestate succession are very complicated once you get beyond immediate relatives.

There is no reason to leave matters complicated. It is much easier to have a Will prepared. Call us here at Guardian Litigation Group, LLP at (949) 569-9006. We are Irvine, California, Will and Estate Planning attorneys. Here is a brief — and simplified — explanation of California Rules of Intestate Succession.

Plan your estate with Guardian Litigation Group, LLP. Contact us online or call (949) 569-9006!
Note that some of your possession may go to persons based on how they are owned. Thus, a financial account that is jointly owned will go to the other person (or persons) who are co-owners, regardless of whether such person is a family member. Similarly, if you are married at the time of death, all “marital” property will go to your spouse. In California, marital property is considered jointly owned by the spouses. Thus, being jointly owned, the marital property will become the sole property of the surviving spouse.

That being said, most spouses have at least SOME separately owned properties. This property would include property owned separately before the marriage, gifts given solely to that spouse, and inheritances. Since the surviving spouse gets 100% of the jointly owned property, if there is no Will, then the separately owned property will be distributed according to the California laws of Intestate Succession.
Procedurally, if you die without a Will, your possessions will be distributed in a court probate proceeding. The California probate courts will distribute your possession using a statutory priority list. For ease of presentation, let’s assume that you were unmarried at the time of passing.

The priority list is as follows:
  • If there are surviving children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc., they are prioritized and receive 100% of the property; shares are proportioned in the same generation; thus, if two children, then each receives 50%; if one child has died, but had two children (that is, grandchildren), the two grandchildren share 50/50 the 50% of their parent, etc.
  • If there are no children, then the possessions go to surviving parent or parents
  • If no children or parents, then to surviving siblings
  • If no surviving children, parents, or siblings, then “up” to grandparents and their issue (that is, cousins); if the grandparents are still alive, then they will receive their proportionate share of the possessions; if otherwise, the children of the grandparents will receive your possessions in proportionate share
If you are married at the time of death, in very general terms, your spouse will receive about half of the separately owned property, with the remaining half being distributed according to the above priority list. As can be seen, the California Rules of Intestate Succession are quite complicated. Indeed, the Rules contemplate the situation where a spouse predeceases the person who dies without a Will. If there are no other family members of the person who died, then the predeceased spouse’s children, parents, and siblings might be the ones who are entitled to the distribution of the assets and possessions.

As noted above, there is no reason for things to be this complicated. Get a Will prepared, and you can directly and clearly identify how you want your property distributed. You can distribute property to non-relatives (like your best friend) in your will.
If you need an experienced lawyer to help you organize a new or existing estate plan, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our dedicated legal professionals so we can provide the attention and insight that you need to protect your wealth and legacy. We possess top-notch legal resources and represent clients of all backgrounds throughout the greater Irvine area. To set up your free case consultation with Guardian Litigation Group, LLP, please call us today at (949) 569-9006.
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