Services We Provide
Preparation of Estate Plan documents can include a Will, Trust, Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive and Nomination of Conservator. Everyone should have at least a basic Estate Plan in place. Most people do not think they need an Estate Plan because they have no assets or they are not aware of how costly and inconvenient Probate can be to their heirs. Even if you have no assets, Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directive can be very important while you are alive to designate people whom you trust to make financial decisions for you or medical decisions for you as needed. If you become incapacitated in the future, someone may be appointed by the Court in a Conservatorship proceeding to care for you and that person should be someone you designate (see information about Conservatorships below). A Probate Proceeding is nearly always going to be more expensive than the cost of an Estate Plan and an Estate Plan ensures that your intentions are known to your heirs and beneficiaries.
Probate and Trust Administration
In California, if you die with assets in excess of $150,000.00 in your own name (i.e., no Joint-Tenant or no named beneficiary) your Estate will typically have to go through Probate before being distributed to your heirs. A Probate allows for distribution of your Estate to your heirs by the Court. If you have a Trust that is funded with your assets, generally a Probate is unnecessary. For a Probate Proceeding, documents must be prepared and filed with the Court to obtain a Court date to appoint someone to administer your Estate. Additional documents must be filed with the Court as well and even if uncontested, the process generally takes approximately nine (9) months and will result in the payment of Statutory commissions, Statutory attorney’s fees and court costs.
Even if a Trust is in place there is a process to administer a Trust which includes proper notification to reduce the period for a Trust Contest and tax planning considerations.
Probate and Trust Litigation
Sometimes there is disagreement regarding the distribution of an Estate, with or without a Will or by Trust which results in a contest between the parties. For this process, you want experienced attorneys to guide you and provide you with comprehensive information so you can make strategic decisions regarding the nature and extent of the litigation. We also provide creditor claim defense.
Elder Law, Asset Recovery (Financial Elder Abuse), Medi-Cal Planning and Conservatorships
There are certain issues that are of particular concern, to the elderly and their families which include keeping elders in their homes and allowing elders to maintain their independence, assessing their assets and future needs for care and their ability to meet these financial needs going forward. Sometimes an elder parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia and is no longer able to care for themselves and manage their affairs and they do not have a Durable Power of Attorney and/or Advance Health Care Directive in place so a Conservatorship Proceeding needs to be initiated which is an expensive and time consuming process which remains ongoing for the duration of the Proposed Conservatee’s lifetime. We also assist Elders to recover assets due to Financial Elder Abuse.
Our office does civil litigation – plaintiff and defense work as necessary, including asset recovery.
Our office offers contract review, provides business formation services (C -Corporation, S-Corporation, Limited Liability Corporation, Non-Profit Corporation including Charitable, Educational, and Tax Exempt Corporations). We have established a number of tax exempt status corporations over the years. We also prepare Buy-Sell agreements.
Lance Russum has Ten (10) years of Fee Arbitration experience assisting the Alameda County Bar Association and he is available for Mediation Services. He has mediated family reconciliations through his very extensive legal career.
If you require more information about our services, please contact us HERE.