Ready to get started? Either use the client contact form on this page or call us at (707) 545-6542 for a no-cost appointment with either Leo Alberigi or Roy Johnston. Would you like to make your initial appointment more productive? Please click here to download and complete a questionnaire to bring with you to the initial meeting. Thank you, and we look forward to meeting with you soon. The staff at Johnston | Thomas enjoy working with clients in the planning of their estates, including:
- Health care directives
- Powers of attorney for property management
- Wealth preservation
- Lifetime gifting strategies
- Business succession planning
- Multi-generation transfers
Do I need a Will or a Trust?
If you don’t have a will or a trust, the state of California will make the following decisions for you:
- Who will be the administrator of your estate
- Who will receive your assets
- Who will raise your minor children
In addition, the proceeding will be a public proceeding, and the probate fees will far exceed the cost of a trust.
Which do I need: a will or a trust?
Here are the advantages of a will over a trust:
- A will is cheaper than a trust to create.
- There’s no need to identify any assets.
- There’s no need to transfer assets into a trust.
Here are the advantages of a trust over a will:
- Probate is much more expensive than administering the trust after death.
- The trust administration process is much faster than a probate.
- The trust administration process is private and not open to the public.
- The trust provides for the succession of trustees in the case of incapacity.
Durable Power of Attorney for Property Management
No matter whether you have a will or a trust—or nothing at all—you need a Durable Power of Attorney for property management. This allows your agent to do three things if you become incapacitated:
- Manage your property
- Represent your financial interests, such as filing your tax return or applying for government benefits
- Nominate a conservator for you, should one become necessary
Health Care Directive
Everyone should have a health care directive. This allows your agent to act in the following ways if you become incapacitated:
- Decide what type of care you should receive
- Decide who should care for you
- Make end-of-life decisions about your medical treatment and care
- Allow for an autopsy, if allowed by you
- Donate organs, if allowed by you
- Provide for the disposition of your remains, as specified by you
Guardians for Your Minor Children
One of the most critical decisions you can make as a parent is who will raise your minor children if you are unable to do so. Your decision will include:
- Who is best to physically raise your children? This is the person you trust most to raise your children with the principles and morals you value most.
- Who is best to manage the funds for your children? This is the person you trust most to take care of the funds for your children.