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Our Services

We help you protect the people you care about the most by giving you the information and tools you need to plan for a better future.

We’ll get to know your unique situation at this stage in your life and determine which estate planning components are best for you.

Not All Estate Plans Are Created Equal

Just like cars, there are clear differences between lemons and luxury, utility vehicles and useless vehicles. We take great pride in crafting estate plans that fit each family and will be tuned and ready for action in the years to come. Our unique Lifetime Service Package guarantees you ongoing updates and education, as well as a regular review with an attorney to ensure your plan is properly maintained.

Your unique plan may include the following:

Living Trusts

Trusts are the foundation of your estate plan.

Trusts are powerful planning tools that enable you to avoid probate, plan long term for your family’s future success, and possibly save on estate taxes, or even qualify you or your spouse for Medi-Cal or VA benefits.

​There are many different types of trusts, and even inside a “basic” revocable living trust, there are many differences.  Differences that may not be apparent to you when you look at a trust, but that become glaringly apparent for your surviving spouse or children.

Wills

A Will is your backup plan.

For most people, wills are actually a backup plan to their living trust. They’re sort of like a fire-extinguisher – good to have for emergencies, but not intended for actual use. Wills do, however, actually serve one key function.

In a will you name your children’s guardians. If you have young children, deciding who will take care of your children should something happen to you is a vital question to answer.

For small estates, a will may be the centerpiece planning document, instead of a trust.

Special Needs Trust

Special needs children benefit greatly from additional planning.

Children with disabilities can benefit greatly from advanced planning on the part of their parents. Conversely, if the parents fail to plan for their special needs child’s future, that child could find themselves without resources and without assistance.

Retirement Trust

Recent legal changes put your retirement at risk.

Your retirement account can easily be the largest portion of your estate. And, with the power of tax-free growth, it can be the most valuable thing you pass on to your spouse and children.

But the power of continued tax-free growth is not guaranteed, and can easily be lost by your spouse and children. Your retirement account can just as easily go to unintended beneficiaries if your surviving spouse remarries, for example, or your child may lose a large chunk in a divorce.

Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2014 that inherited retirement accounts are no longer protected from creditors.

The solution: a cutting-edge Retirement Trust designed based on recent IRS rulings and regulations. If you have more than $150,000 in retirement assets, a Retirement Trust can ultimately save and protect literally millions of dollars for your family.

Asset Protection

Give your children protection from creditors, lawsuits, and divorces.
Most living trusts are designed to avoid probate.  But modern trusts are coming with a new feature – protecting your beneficiaries against creditors, lawsuits and divorcing spouses.Many people don’t know is that they are leaving their children’s inheritance exposed to major financial risks – something they can prevent with proper planning.

Blended Family Solutions

Complicated family relationships require knowledgeable planning.

It is surprising how ill-equipped standard estate planning practices are to deal with today’s families.  If you’ve remarried, or you or your spouse have children from a different spouse or partner, you could accidentally disinherit your intended beneficiaries quite easily.

For blended families, estate planning is essential to ensure that the intended beneficiaries receive what you intend them to have.  With our extensive background litigating family law matters, we have a unique perspective in how to help people avoid future problems.

Power of Attorney & Health Care Directive

Chose who will make important medical and financial decisions when you are incapacitated.

The ability to make decisions for ourselves is something we take for granted.  But if we couldn’t make our own medical or financial decisions, what happens?  Who should make medical and financial decisions for us when we can’t?  The Advance Health Care Directive and Durable Power of Attorney answer that question, letting you choose who will make these important decisions when you can’t.

We’ve partnered with DocuBank to give our clients the ability to carry their health care directive with them wherever they are so that doctors and nurses can have instant access to your directive.

Next Step

Book a FREE Consultation with Attorney Erik Hartstrom so he can answer any estate planning questions you may have.