Trusted Chula Vista and San Diego Estate Planning Lawyers Serving All of San Diego County
For years the Law Offices of Daniel M. Little has provided residents in Chula Vista and all throughout San Diego County with solid estate planning services.
We are one of the few firms in southern San Diego that handle all aspects of estate planning, from drafting wills and trusts to establishing conservatorships and guardianships. Whatever your needs are for protecting your assets for the future, we can help.
A properly written estate plan not only preserves your estate for your children and loved ones, but also protects you from unwanted and invasive court intervention with your finances and healthcare decisions should you ever become incapacitated. A basic plan consists of an advance health care directive and durable power of attorney in addition to a solid will and trust.
A will is a legal document that directs the distribution of your assets to your named beneficiaries after your death. It acts as a reflection of your intent that may have been expressed in verbal promises or undocumented discussions, but is legally-binding and must be followed by the courts and the executor of your will. An executor is a person named to oversee the distribution process and ensure that your wishes are carried out down to the very last detail. A will may also nominate a guardian to take care of your minor children in the event you become unable to.
Occasionally not everyone in the family will be satisfied with the terms of a person’s will. A will contest or dispute is a formal objection raised against the validity of a will. The most common reasons for a contest are duress, fraud, undue influence and/or lack of capacity of the person who created the will. Contests and disputes can be extremely time-consuming and costly, and are the last thing you want to have to deal with following the death of a loved one. The attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel M. Little are equipped to take such disputes to court if necessary, and will have your back against even the toughest disagreements.
Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives
In addition to a will and a trust, a basic estate plan should consist of an advance health care directive and durable power of attorney. An advance health care directive nominates someone of your choosing to make decisions regarding your healthcare in the event you become incapacitated. If you don’t have one and become incapacitated, the county will be the one making decisions for you. Creating an estate plan that includes a health care directive is a good place to start to protect yourself.
A power of attorney is similar in the way it allows you to name a person of your choosing to make decisions about your assets and finances should you be rendered helpless. It can also help your family avoid the expensive and time-consuming process of obtaining a conservatorship, and can also be used in conjunction with living trusts or pour-over wills. There are many types of powers of attorney, and our offices have prepared thousands since our start in 1986. We know the California laws inside and out, and will gladly put that experience to use to protect your best interests as well.
No one likes to think that they may have to someday live in a nursing home. The reality is this sort of transition is a distinct and real possibility, and you want to be prepared financially if this becomes the case. There is a misconception that either your insurance or Medicare will pay for all of your nursing home care costs. However, in most cases Medicare generally doesn’t cover long-term stays, and most health insurance policies won’t supplement costs either. Your remaining options are to pay out of pocket by using personal finances, or to qualify for resources such as Medicaid and Medi-Cal.
For some, relief may come in the form of a three-year project called Cal MediConnect. The purpose of this program is to improve the coordination of care between Medicare and Medi-Cal and allow people to stay in their homes as long as possible. Proper estate planning is still the best way to ensure you will be properly taken care of, as well as protect the non-incapacitated spouse and your estate.
After a person dies, his or her estate must go through a court process known as probate before the named beneficiaries can inherit it. The court supervises the distribution to ensure that creditors are paid and the estate is divided to either the individuals or entities as designated by the decedent in his or her will. If the decedent did not have a valid estate plan prior to death, the State of California will designate individuals to collect the assets after all taxes have been paid. This is known as intestacy.
The Law Offices of Daniel M. Little has handled hundreds of probate cases, and our attorneys have successfully represented parties in court in cases of will disputes or other disagreements or litigation. We can guide you through the probate process every step of the way so you can focus on family and the things that really matter in this tough time.
Trusts are important estate planning tools that allow you to name beneficiaries and grant certain permissions to them. There are a myriad of different types of trusts, and each serve a unique and important purpose. The type of trust (or trusts, as you may benefit from having more than one) depends on your assets and your goals for the future. The Law Offices of Daniel M. Little is also experienced in trust administration, which is the process of distributing what’s in the trust after its creator passes away.
A conservatorship is a court process in which the probate court takes away an individual’s right to make decisions regarding his or her assets and/or healthcare and instead gives these rights to another person or entity, such as the Public Guardian of San Diego County. Conservatorships are unnecessary if there is a valid estate plan already established prior to the person becoming incapacitated. Limited conservatorships are usually obtained for individuals who are developmentally disabled, or have become incapacitated before the age of 18.
The Law Offices of Daniel M. Little has prepared hundreds of conservatorships and even defended the rights of incapacitated persons as court-appointed attorneys when necessary. We have represented interest individuals as well, such as sons or daughters who wanted to ensure their parents weren’t being taken advantage of in court. If you are concerned about having to deal with a conservatorship, please give us a call.
Have Confidence in Your Estate Plan
The Law Offices of Daniel M. Little has helped countless individuals and families throughout San Diego County develop a comprehensive estate plan to protect their hard-earned assets, and we will gladly do the same for you. Attorney Daniel Little has built this firm on the principle that building confidence and trust in our clients is the key to success. We won’t rest until you are satisfied with your plan, and we will do everything in our power so you can rest easy knowing that things will be taken care of for the future.