Peace of Mind Planning

Customized legal plans that:

  • Manage a crisis before it happens
  • Keeps your loved ones out of court
  • Protect your home, business, finances, and belongings
  • Support your children, aging parents, and pets, when you no longer can

Do I need a Life and Legacy Plan?

Take our self-test to see if you might benefit from a Life and Legacy Plan.

If you answered “No” or “?” to any of the questions, schedule your Good-to-Go (GTG) Meeting with us to get started on your Life and Legacy Plan. Your GTG Meeting will cover:

  • Your goals and areas of concern
  • The services we offer
  • Plan options and recommendations

We offer a free 30-minute online meeting from the comfort of your own home, or a 1 hour in-person meeting (fees apply) in our office. If we are all Good-to-Go, we can start your design that same day.

Estate Planning with attorney Diana L. Martinez

Pre-Crisis Planning. Our Life and Legacy Plans include planning for the unexpected:

  • Guardianship. If you have minor children or other dependents, your plan will specify who will take care them during your incapacity.
  • Pets. Pet trusts provide for the care of your furbabies if you become incapacitated and after your death. Too many shelters become the first stop when loved don’t have the means or the time take care of pets whose human parents can no longer care for them.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney. You decide who will make decisions for your medical care when you can no longer make those decisions, and any limitations on that care. Without a plan, the state looks first to your spouse or registered domestic partner, then to the next closest relative living nearby. They do not look at who would make the best decisions for you. 
  • Financial Power of Attorney. You decide who will manage your businesses and finances when you can’t.
Advanced Estate Planning with attorney Diana L. Martinez

Life and Legacy Planning

Some of the benefits of our customized plans: 

      • avoid probate court
      • minimize estate taxes
      • manage who gets what, when, and how
      • provide creditor, divorce, and lawsuit protections for heirs
      • keep personal and financial information private
      • provide instructions for financial and health-care decisions and limitations
After Loss Guidance with attorney Diana L. Martinez

How does it work?

      • Step 1: Good-to-Go Meeting, 30 minutes, where you share your goals and areas of concern and ask us questions. We explain the process and pricing. If we are “Good to Go”, we move into designing your customized Life and Legacy Plan
      • Step 2: We get more details about your family and financial goals and concerns and help you create a plan to achieve those goals. You complete and return our design questionnaire and we schedule our next appointments.
      • Step 3: Once we receive your completed packet, within 2-3 weeks we draft your plan and walk you through it in a confidential design meeting, making any final adjustments.
      • Step 4: Signing meeting, with your witnesses and notary – within 1-2 weeks after your design meeting.
      • Step 5: Funding your trust.
      • All plans include 1 year of free updates/changes. You can choose to stay on our Client Care plan for a flat annual fee.

Why do I want to avoid probate? Time, money, and privacy. If you have a gross (not including debts, like a mortgage) estate (real estate, bank accounts, art, etc.) worth more than $184,500 and you die without a Trust, your estate must go through probate before it can be distributed. 

      • What is Probate? Probate is the legal process to confirm if there is a Will and if it is valid, figure out who the value of the decedent’s property, who the heirs and beneficiaries are, manage the decedent’s financial responsibilities, and finally distribute the property to the heirs and beneficiaries.
      • Time. Probate in California can take 9 – 18 months, or longer. Most courts are still backlogged due to COVID – a lot of people (including the young and healthy) died without a Will or with an unfunded Trust, leaving courts overburdened while understaffed.
      • Money. Probate fees are set by law. In 2023, the fee structure looks like this:
        • 4% on the first $100,000
        • 3% on the second $100,000
        • 2% on the next $800,000
        • 1% on the next $9,000,000
        • 0.5% on the next $15,000,000
        • For amounts above $25,000,000, the court determines a reasonable compensation amount

These fees are paid to both the administrator (appointed by the court) and the attorney (hired by the decedent’s family). For an estate valued at $1,500,000, for example, the fees would look like this:

  •  Privacy. Probate court is public. Your financial holdings, your heirs (known and unknown), your creditors and financial responsibilities will be made public information

Blended Families

Yours, Mine, and Ours

If you were previously married, you may have:

  • Children from that prior relationship
  • Separate Property Assets (and perhaps debts)
  • A pension plan that will result in payments to you once your former spouse retires
  • Life insurance or other plans that require either a change of beneficiary designation

Blended families require unique solutions to:

  • hold property in a way that makes sense
  • protect assets from falling into unintended hands
  • ensure stepchildren and grandchildren feel honored and supported by their parent and step-parent
  • ensure continued support for each spouse’s children
Protecting Your Children Estate Planning with attorney Diana L. Martinez

Schedule My First Session

Schedule your free 15 minute introduction call or your first planning meeting.

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