Estate Planning

As a member of ElderCounsel, a nationwide network of Trust and Estate planners, I am able to answer questions about how to set up your Estate plan. Most people should understand why a living trust is better than a will, and how to convey property to the people you want now, while maintaining all your property rights through your lifetime. Advance planning to maintain needs-based medical coverage is an absolute necessity. If you or a loved one relies upon Medicare, Medicaid, Medi-Cal (what’s the difference?) then you need to include a Special Needs Trust in your estate plan. Don’t disinherit your special-needs child because you think it will disqualify them from benefits. Special Needs Trusts are often used in Worker’s Compensation settlements.

Estate Planning services include preparation of Last Will and Testament; Trust Planning, Preparation and Administration; Power of Attorney; Medical Advance Directives; Business Succession Planning; Charitable Planning; Estate Transfer Tax Minimization Strategies; Asset Protection; and establishment of Guardianship and Conservatorship. 

Questions and Next Steps:

Last Will & Testament Services

When it comes to your parents, you don’t want someone just filling in the blanks on a form, you want someone who will put your mom at ease, discuss her concerns and take the burden off your shoulders.

I know that it is hard talking about death and losing someone you dearly love.,I know you want the best for your family, and you want your wishes to be followed. Know that our discussions are confidential and privileged, so you can feel free to discuss concerns without judgment. I can point out advantages and disadvantages for your decision-making.

Often my clients say ‘Thank you so much for being so nice to my mom” It’s easy. I regularly volunteer for pro bono legal assistance, and I enjoy helping people and answering questions. Whether it is a dependent adult child still living in grandma’s house, or struggling with drug addiction, there are ways to plan your estate to protect your loved ones (and you). There are ways to preserve the family home and ensure a smooth transition, reduce family conflict and leave a lasting legacy.

Questions and Next Steps:

Trust Planning, Preparation & Administration

Trusts provide privacy, as they are not public record. A will must be submitted to the probate court in order to get an order transferring the assets of one person to another. A trust can specify how to distribute your assets over time and set up triggering events (like the remarriage of a spouse) to dissolve the trust and distribute assets.

Trusts also act as as a way to preserve separate property for your married adult child in the event of divorce, or creditors. A trust can be set up in multiple ways to accomplish your goals. Funding a trust is as simple as changing the title of property to “Living Trust of John and Jane Smith” and does not trigger any change in taxation status or valuation.

Blended families can be difficult. With approrpiate trust planning, you can protect your hard earned assets for your biological children in a blended family, while reserving income for your spouse during their lifetime. Many disputes occur as a result of family conflict, As an outside party, I can provide the services of an independent administrator for the estate if needed.

For example, Special needs trusts protect the assets of a disabled person, and there are ways to protect their assets while continuing to qualify for government benefits. I can help you determine how best to protect your adult dependent while maintaining their independence.

Trust administration requires annual reporting, tax payments, and management of the trust assets. Having a professional administrator prevents family conflict over access to bank accounts and property, while increasing the value of your preserved assets.

Questions and Next Steps:

Worker's Compensation & Social Security Legal Counsel

Although my current focus and primary client work is in Estate Planning, I have extensive experience and expertise in helping clients with their legal Worker’s Compensation and Social Security needs. You are welcome to contact me and see if I can take on your case or otherwise help you with your needs. Use the form below to contact me.

California makes all employers carry insurance to cover if their employees get hurt at work. It is an insurance policy paid for by employers to provide benefits to employees who become injured at work. It has been reformed multiple times, and benefits have been significantly reduced over the past 10 years.

As a CA State Bar certified specialist in worker’s compensation law, I can explain how the system works, and guide you the best way through it in one piece. Prior experience as an insurance defense attorney for over ten years at a large worker’s compensation firm taught me the way claims are analyzed, and how settlements get negotiated.

I represent injured workers in Napa, Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville, American Canyon, Yountville, Lake County, Dixon, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Benicia and Contra Costa County. These areas are covered by Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board venues including Santa Rosa, Ukiah, Oakland, and Sacramento. I meet injured workers at my office in Benicia, located at 701 Southampton Road, Suite #211, Benicia, CA. Please note, if you are unable to climb stairs, there are several handicap-accessible restaurants nearby.

Attorney fees are 15% of the final settlement in worker’s compensation, so there is no out of pocket cost for an injured worker to seek representation. If you are an injured worker, please review Inside Info for the Injured Worker.

The process of applying for Disability Retirement can be overwhelming. Many people get lost in the lengthy provisions of retirement plans, Worker’s Comp benefits, Industrial Disability Leave, long term disability and Social Security. Numerous studies have demonstrated that having legal representation for your Social Security application greatly increases your chances of approval, simply by knowing what information to include in your application, and how to present it to a judge. I accept referrals from NOSSCR, the California Teachers Association, as well as the SOAR program for moderate-means beneficiaries.

Attorney fees from a successful Social Security application are capped at 25% of the back pay, up to a maximum fee of $6,000. In your decision, Social Security determines the date you became unable to work. Social Security benefits are not payable for the first five months after your disability date. Soc-date-of-onset.

Social Security will calculate the attorney fee and Social Security pays the attorney directly from back pay you receive, up to either $6,000 or up to 25% of the past-due benefits.

Let's Work Together

Contact me with your questions or let me know what type of services you require and I will guide you through the next steps.

General Legal Consultations

  • I will gladly provide a single free 20 minute phone consultation for new clients. If I can’t help you, I can at least refer you to another resource to help you.
  • General legal counseling (60-90 minutes) in my office is available by prior appointment. Hourly rate $250 – $450.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, I suggest utilizing one of these pro bono programs for legal assistance.
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