Category: Lawyers

Estate Planning Tips For Those Who Haven’t Started Yet

Estate planning is the task of designating to whom and how you want your assets distributed upon your passing. The purpose is to secure that beneficiaries will receive their inheritance in a way that is as prompt as possible, while minimizing income tax, gift tax, estate tax, and other issues. 

Estate planning may not seem like a fun task, especially because it will entail thinking about a time when you are no longer here with loved ones. However, if you want those closest to you to receive a piece of your legacy, then you must establish an estate plan. If you have yet to begin writing your estate plan, consider these tips:

Inventory Your Things

Many people think they don’t have enough assets in order to write an estate plan. But, this is simply not true. You may be surprised by the amount of tangible and intangible assets that you do own. Examples of tangible assets and intangible assets to inventory include:

  • Homes, land, real estate
  • Collectible items (art, antiques, coins, trading cards, etc.)
  • Personal possessions
  • Cars, boats, motorcycles
  • Savings and checking accounts
  • Bonds, mutual funds, and stocks
  • Health savings account
  • Life insurance policy
  • Business ownership
  • Retirement accounts

Establish Directives

An estate plan is not complete without certain legal directives, such as a trust, medical care directive, limited power of attorney, durable financial power of attorney, and more. Your lawyer can assess your assets and situation and let you know how may be most suitable to fulfill these roles listed. You must choose someone who is willing to take on the role in the event that they need to.

Review Beneficiaries

In your estate plan, you will have to write down the names of people and organizations that you wish to have a portion of your assets. Many people choose their spouse, children, close relatives, and best friends as their beneficiaries. However, you can also choose a charitable organization as well. Discuss your preferences with your estate planning lawyer. As an estate planning lawyer from W.B. Moore, Attorney at Law can attest to, most people can benefit from an estate plan regardless of how much assets they have, and sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.

What Assets Avoid Probate?

Probate lawyer for Yolo County, CA

What Assets Avoid Probate?

probate lawyer in Yolo County, CA

Not every person that passes away requires a probate. At The Yee Law Group PC., There are certain situations where our Yolo County, CA probate lawyer can advise that a probate is not necessary. For instance, the following types of assets:

  1.     Accounts with a named beneficiary. These accounts are often referred to as pay-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts. Financial institutions simply require a death certificate and identification to transfer these types of accounts to the named beneficiaries.
  2.     Assets held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship. When the owner of a joint account passes away, the surviving joint owners continue to own the account by right of survivorship. A death certificate is needed to remove the deceased owner from the account. There are certain circumstances where the surviving joint owner(s) do not receive the account. This is most common when the decedent added a joint owner on the account for convenience purposes only. e.g. bill paying.
  3.     Assets held in Trust. The best way to avoid probate is to hold assets in Trust. Assets held in Trust are distributed pursuant to the terms of the Trust by the Trustee.
  4.     Assets intended to be held in Trust. Often times a decedent had a Trust but certain assets were not held in the Trust. In certain circumstances, these assets can be transferred to the Trust after the decedent’s death.
  5.     Assets with a value less than $166,250. If the value of the assets (other than real estate) is less than $166,250, the assets can pass to the heirs without a probate using a summary proceeding or affidavits.

Testate vs. Intestate

Testate means the decedent died with a valid will. Intestate means the decedent died without a valid will. If a decedent dies with a valid will, the decedent’s estate will be distributed pursuant to the terms of the will. If a decedent dies without a valid will, the decedent’s estate will be distributed pursuant to the law of intestacy. The distribution of the decedent’s assets pursuant to the laws of intestacy depend on the make-up of the decedent’s family and the character of the decedent’s assets. The assets may be distributed to the spouse, children, parents, siblings, more remote family members, or a combination of those family members.

The person named in the decedent’s will that is appointed is called the “Executor.” If there is no will, the person in charge of the decedent’s estate is called the “Administrator.” There are other more obscure names for special situations.

Length of Probate

At The Yee law Group PC., our probate lawyers in Yolo County, CA work towards the shortest time-frame. However, even for the simplest of estates, a California Probate can take anywhere from a year to two years to complete. During this time, your family may be left with no assets for their support, and there may not be available assets for the upkeep or maintenance of your other assets (e.g. mortgages on your home or other real estate). Your family may be forced to sell certain property at a discounted rate to avoid foreclosure.

Petition for Probate

In order to initiate a probate, you must file a petition for probate. The petition will ask the Court to appoint you or someone else as the Personal Representative of the estate. The Court determines the appropriate Personal Representative by the terms of the decedent’s Will, or if none, based upon California Probate Code’s order of priority. e.g. spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, then siblings, etc.

The petition also gives the Court some information regarding the assets of the estate, the surviving family members, the decedent’s Will, and whether a bond is required. Once the petition is filed, the Court will set a hearing to determine whether your petition should be approved. These hearings are typically set 45 to 60 days after the petition is filed. Notice and publication of the hearing will be required. At the hearing, if the Court approves your petition, the Court will issue a Minute Order. You are still required to submit a proposed order for the Court’s signature. However, the Order does not actually give you any power.

Other Issues in Probate

There are many other issues that must be addressed in a probate. If these issues are not properly addressed, they will lead to delay, or even worse, liability to the Personal Representative.

Often times there are ways to avoid probate, either before or after the death of a loved one. To have a smooth process, The Yee Law Group, PC., highly recommends that you consult with a probate lawyer in Yolo County, CA today.


Benefits of Hiring a Yolo County, CA Probate Lawyer

Probate lawyer for Yolo County, CA

Yolo County, CA Probate Lawyer

Probate is a complicated process that requires executors to prepare forms, meet deadlines, keep records, generate reports, submit filings to the court, and serve notices to creditors, heirs and local newspapers. At The Yee Law Group, PC., there are several benefits of hiring a Yolo County, CA probate lawyer.

  •     Prevent Personal Liability For Your Actions As Executor

Personal liability can arise in a probate situation if the executor makes an error in marshalling assets, generating reports, paying creditors and heirs in the wrong order or the wrong amounts, failing to obtain court authority before taking certain actions, or failing to give notice to the proper individuals in the proper manner. 

  •     The Probate Process Will Be Completed More Quickly with a Lawyer

 The process can be extended by as much as several years if the executor does not prepare each form correctly the first time and give proper notice to all necessary parties, obtain the necessary signatures of heirs and interested creditors, and file the appropriate documents before each deadline passes. Rescheduling court dates, Delay in inheritance.

  •     A Probate Lawyer Will Save Time for The Executor

Even if you hire a probate lawyer in Yolo County, CA, much of your valuable time will be dedicated to gathering and liquidating the estate’s assets, keeping records, paying bills, and making lists of creditors.  Having to learn the law and local court procedure and generate inventories, accounting, and reports in a form that will be accepted by the court may make an already difficult task insurmountable.

  •     A Probate Lawyer Will Minimize the Potential for Disputes

​​At The Yee Law Group, PC., Potential for expensive and time-consuming probate litigation is significantly diminished if the probate estate in question is handled effectively, quickly, and efficiently by a professional.  

v If the estate is being handled in an unprofessional manner, creditors and heirs are more likely to be involved.  

v At a minimum, interested parties may request Supervised Administration.

v At worst, you may find yourself embroiled in an expensive lawsuit.  

v A lawyer’s job is to resolve disputes early in the process in order to make the process as inexpensive as possible for all concerned. ​

  •     Hiring A Probate Lawyer Will Minimize Stress on The Family

 The net effect of speeding up the probate process, reducing the amount of time that the executor must personally dedicate to the case, and heading off any disputes in a professional manner is to minimize the amount of stress that the family of

the deceased must deal with at a time when emotions are already high.

  •     Families can be torn apart when money enters the equation.  
  •     If the executor is seen as acting in his or her own best interest at the expense of the heirs,
  •     or as failing to competently handle the estate, this can cause interpersonal problems with loved ones.
  •     Hiring an attorney will place a third party between the executor and the heirs and will allow the executor to focus on spending time and energy on his or her family.

Consult a California Probate lawyer

If you have questions about estate planning or probate, an experienced Yolo County, CA probate lawyer can assist you. You should reach out to The Yee Law Group, PC., today to learn more about the process and how a legal advocate can help.

While it may be possible to go through the probate process without a lawyer, it is important to ensure that all steps of the probate process are completed according to California law. An experienced probate lawyer can help you to determine whether probate is necessary, and whether or not there are certain assets that may be excepted from the probate process.


When Is Probate Required?

Probate Lawyer for Yolo County CA

When Is Probate Required?

Probate Lawyer for Yolo County CA

Dealing with the death of a family member or partner is always difficult. Making it even more challenging is the question of how to handle the deceased person’s estate. If an estate in California includes at least $150,000 in combined value, the estate must go into probate.

The Yee Law Group, PC., regularly helps grieving loved ones navigate California probate rules to ensure that the estate administration process goes as smoothly as possible. Retaining the services of a Yolo County CA, probate lawyer can give tremendous peace of mind during what can be an otherwise difficult time.

Probate Overview

Probate is simply a means of determining the distribution of a deceased person’s estate. This is accomplished with the assistance of the probate court. If the deceased person had a valid will or trust, those documents will communicate the intentions of the decedent, including how to administer the estate. 

A decedent’s will may express their preference of a family member, friend, or trusted advisor to administrate and fulfil the decedent’s wishes as outlined in the will or trust documents.  This person is referred to the executor or executrix, and they serve as the personal representative of the estate. Many people accept the role of executor or executrix of a will, or trustee of a trust, without realizing the potential complexities of probate. For this reason, they often choose to work with a trusted law firm as The Yee Law Group, PC., instead of undertaking the complicated probate process.

When Is Probate Necessary?

Not every estate is required to enter probate. If a person dies and leaves behind less than $150,000 of combined estate value, the estate is not required to enter probate. However, it is not difficult to accumulate $150,000 or more of possessions. In California, a person’s estate can include residences, vehicles, mineral rights, undeveloped real estate, motorcycles, boats, investments, and other assets. 

A Yolo County, CA probate lawyer will assist surviving loved ones with a determination of the total estate value, as some assets may be exempt from probate. For instance, if an eligible asset was left to a named beneficiary, as is often the case with life insurance policies, then that item will not count toward the $150,000 minimum.

Probate Administration Legal Process Overview

In most cases, the executor or executrix of the decedent’s will is required to file the appropriate documents with the probate court. In the event there is no will available, an interested party should consult with a probate lawyer in Yolo County, CA to review the available options of filing an estate with the probate court.  

After opening probate with the assistance of a lawyer, the executors or administrators will assist in the identification, collection, and appraisal of assets.  Additionally, the probate lawyer will provide guidance for resolving any debt with available estate funds, as well as assist with determination of rightful heirs. The probate process can be a long process that is time-consuming and quite involved depending upon the number of beneficiaries, types of estate assets, availability of personal information, as well as a host of other factors.

The fee for working with a knowledgeable Yolo County, CA probate lawyer at The Yee law Group, PC., follows the formula outlined by California Probate Code Section 10810. In some cases, a probate court may make the remuneration higher if the case is particularly involved. Reasonable compensation for probate of estates which exceed $25 million will also be determined by the courts.

Seek Legal Advice

If you are interested in reviewing a probate matter or begin the probate process in the state of California, please contact The Yee Law Group, PC., and speak to a seasoned probate lawyer in Yolo County, CA.


What does a probate legal representative do?

So, what exactly does a probate lawyer representative do?

Probate Lawyer

When a person dies, their properties should be disbursed in a manner consistent with state laws and following the instructions they present when they were alive, as stated in their will. A probate lawyer guides the executor of a will or recipients of an estate through the probate procedure: From identifying estate properties and beneficiaries to dispersing properties and inheritances. A probate lawyer will be able to guide you through many different processes after the death of a loved one. 

What is a probate legal representative or probate lawyer?

A probate attorney is a state certified lawyer who deals with the executors and the recipients of an estate to settle the affairs of the decedent. In some instances, probate can be avoided if all the decedent’s assets have been positioned in a trust. A trust can ensure a smooth transfer of residential or commercial property beyond court and legal proceedings.

Is a probate attorney like an estate lawyer?

A probate lawyer is also referred to as an estate attorney and will be involved in different ways depending upon the particular situations of that estate. Their participation will depend upon the worth of the decedent’s assets and whether they had a last will and testimony at the time they passed away. In cases where no will exists, recipients file claims and demand what they believe they are entitled to. In scenarios where there is a will, obstacles might occur regarding the credibility of the will, also causing possible litigation.

What does a probate lawyer do?

Particularly, here are a few of the common jobs a probate lawyer might assist an administrator and recipients with during the probate procedure:

  • Collecting earnings from life insurance policies
  • Determining and securing estate assets
  • Getting appraisals for the decedent’s real property
  • Assisting in the payment of costs and debts
  • Preparing and submitting all files required by a probate court
  • Figuring out if any estate or inheritance taxes are due, and making sure those debts are satisfied
  • Solving income tax problems
  • Managing the estate inspecting account
  • Transferring properties in the decedent’s name to the proper beneficiaries
  • Making a last disbursement of properties to beneficiaries after all bills and taxes have actually been paid

There are many nuances to this type of law, as an attorney, like a probate lawyer from a law firm like Kaplan Law Practice, LLC, can explain.

What to Include in Your Will

Making a will is a big part of estate planning. A will is a legal document that details how your estate will be managed when you pass away. Creating a will involves a lot of important decision-making, so you should take your time when you are planning one. You don’t want to rush into a decision just to have it included in your will. While a will may look different for everyone, there are some basic essentials that should be included. The following things are a few things you may want to incorporate in your will. 

Name Your Beneficiaries

Deciding which beneficiaries you will be naming is an important part of making a complete will if you want your assets and possessions to be distributed to specific family members, friends or loved ones. It is a good idea to name two beneficiaries in case the first beneficiary passes away. If you do not have any named beneficiaries, the government may decide who your assets will be passed down to, and they may not necessarily make their decision according to your wishes. 

Create a List of Assets 

Making a complete list of your assets is a must for any will. This includes cash, property, cars, investments, retirement accounts, life insurance and other types of assets. In your wil you should explain how you want each of your assets to be managed. This prevents any disputes that may occur between relatives and loved ones in regards to who will get control of your assets. 

List What Debt You Have

While you are making a will, you should list any debt that you have. Mortgage, car loans, student loans, credit card debt, taxes, and other types of debt that you owe should be mentioned so that your family has an idea of how much your estate is worth. This is helpful especially when planning for funeral costs and other expenses that can arise after your death.  

Appoint an Executor

An executor is a person over 18 years old who administers your last will and testament. An executor is usually a spouse, child, or a family member that you trust. However, you may also appoint your lawyer as your executor since they have a stronger understanding of estate planning law and procedures. 

Having an estate planning lawyer like one from W.B. Moore, Attorney at Law can save you the time and effort in making sure that your will is prepared correctly. Contact a top lawyer today for a consultation.

Qualities To Look for in a Probate Lawyer

Choosing to draft your estate plan is a major life event. Unfortunately, many people think that having a simple will drawn up, without the help of a lawyer is all that they need to do in order to protect their interests. The reality is that you may be leaving many things up to chance when it comes to the future of your estate if you attempt to “DIY” your estate plan. As a result, when working on your estate plan, you should set up a risk-free consultation with an estate planning lawyer. Similarly, when navigating the “ins and outs” of managing the estate of a loved one who has passed away, it is important to connect with an experienced probate lawyer. Failing to take this critically important step could cost you and/or your loved ones time, money, and stress unnecessarily. 

Look for Someone With Experience

When looking for an estate planning and/or probate lawyer, you should look for one who has experience with cases similar to yours. Even if you aren’t sure about your strategy yet, you should try to find someone who deals with people of a similar income bracket and offers some of the services you are interested in. For example, if you know that you want to consider certain types of trusts, such as a special needs trust, you want to talk to someone who has experience in that area. Similarly, as an experienced probate lawyer, including those employed at Kaplan Law Practice, LLC can explain, you’ll want to work with a probate lawyer who specializes in the kind of estate administration and/or probate scenario you may be dealing with after the loss of a loved one. Some lawyers only handle straightforward cases, others only handle complex matters. 

Find Someone You Can Trust

Lawyers understand that your estate plan is personal. This is not something that most people want to talk about and so you’ll want someone who makes you feel comfortable automatically. You should not be afraid to talk about your expectations or your concerns.

When it comes to your estate plan, you do not want to put the responsibility of safeguarding your interests in the wrong hands. To find out more about how an estate planning lawyer can guide you through the process, set up a risk-free consultation today with a local lawyer who specializes in estate planning and/or probate.

Do I need a probate lawyer?

Probate Lawyer

If you are unsure of whether or not you need a probate lawyer. We focus on probate and other estate planning legal services for residents in the Phoenix area. Probate is not always necessary, but it is a legal process and so it’s important that the Court’s requirements are met and that the applicable rules are followed. Lawyer offices often offer a complimentary consultation with our probate lawyer to determine which, if any, of our legal services you may be in need of. We welcome you to call us and make an appointment today to learn more.

What is probate?

Probate is a legal process that is handled by a probate court and judge following the death of someone and its focus is to determine if the decedent’s will is legitimate and how the assets should be distributed if there was no valid will. In addition, if the will does not designate an executor to manage the estate, the probate judge will name someone. Usually, that person is a close relative of the decedent. There are other aspects of the probate process that may also come into play, depending on the circumstances. Your probate lawyer can tell you if any of the following will be necessary during probate:

  • Validate the decedent’s will.
  •  Appoint an executor to follow the instructions of the will and eventually close out the estate.
  • Determine the location of each of the estate’s assets and assess the value of each asset.
  • Identify each beneficiary and which should inherit which asset or assets and the amount of each, such as cash or percentages of liquidated assets.
  • Payment of estate taxes and debts to creditors.

 What does a probate attorney do? 

A probate lawyer provides legal counsel to an estate’s executor or the will’s beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate. Every situation is different and so a probate lawyer’s tasks and responsibilities varies from one case to the next. In large part, the probate lawyer’s actions will be guided by the probate laws of the State of Arizona and whether or not the decedent died without leaving a valid will. Some of the services that our probate lawyer can provide clients includes:

  • Identify and locate the estate’s assets.
  •  Appraise the value of the estate’s assets.
  • File all required documentation for the probate process to the correct authorities and before the deadline expires.
  • Provide legal guidance to the estate’s executor as to payment of the decedent’s debts and bills (including burial costs if appropriate), and liquidation of assets in order to pay the estate’s debt and taxes.
  •  Assist in settling any disputes that arise between the estate’s beneficiaries and/or with the executor.
  • Provide guidance during the distribution of the decedent’s assets to the named beneficiaries.

Should I hire a probate attorney?

Ultimately, this is a personal decision but in many cases, hiring a probate lawyer is beneficial when the goal is to streamline the process and ensure that it is completed lawfully and correctly. Contact us at a probate lawyer today and request a free consultation.


Filing for a Probate Conservatorship

Probate Lawyer

 It is difficult to watch a loved one become incapacitated. When someone you love is unable to care for him or herself, or properly manage their finances, you may want to pursue a conservatorship. This type of legal appointment can allow you to care for your family member. To become a conservator, you must first ask a judge to grant you the authority to act on your loved one’s behalf. The petition process can be difficult, so it is important to consult with an experienced probate attorney before you begin.

A Conservator’s Duties

There are two types of probate conservator: a conservator of the person, and a conservator of the estate. Each type has different responsibilities, but the court closely monitors both types of conservatorship. A conservator of the person makes personal decisions for the conservatee, who is unable to care for him or herself. These decisions can include choices about food, clothing, residence, and routine medical care. However, the conservator cannot make these routine medical decisions if the conservatee forbids such.

On the other hand, a conservator of the estate manages the conservatee’s financial matters. In such a case, the conservator can pay bills, invest assets, manage daily finances, and collect payments (like disability or pension payments) for the conservatee. Sometimes, one person fulfills both conservator roles.

Regardless of the type of probate conservatorship, the court will be closely involved. Probate laws dictate these types of conservatorship and require close court monitoring. These laws are designed to protect the conservatee, who cannot advocate for him or herself. The judge who appoints the conservator is obligated to conduct a review, typically six months after the appointment and then one year after the appointment. After those two initial reviews, the judge will make follow-up reviews each year. Again, this is to ensure that the conservatee is being properly cared for and that his or rights are being protected.

Get Conservatorship Help Now

If you believe a loved one is unable to care for him or herself, you may be able to petition the court to grant you a conservatorship. This can be a lengthy legal process and involves many complex steps. The law grants preference to those who can act as conservator, based on their relation to the conservatee. Generally, spouses are preferred to act as conservators. If there is no spouse, or the spouse is not qualified, the following people may act as conservator (in order of legal preference):

  • Adult child
  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Other persons permitted by law
  • Public guardian

If you are concerned about a family member who is unable to care for him or herself, contact a skilled probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ. Experienced lawyers understand the complicated state probate laws and will thoroughly explain your legal options to you. Call a law office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Thanks to Klenk Law for their insight into estate planning and probate conservatorship.