Estate Planning

Estate Planning

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?  Simply click here to fill out a questionnaire to bring with you to your appointment.

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:

  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • 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.