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Estate Planning


Your Last Will and Testament allows you the opportunity to determine how your possessions will be distributed when you pass away. Besides providing for an orderly distribution of your assets after your death, a will also allows you to select the person who will handle your estate and even allows you to name a guardian for your minor children. While you can prepare a do-it-yourself will from an internet form, this is rarely a good idea.

Even the smallest mistake can render your Last Will and Testament void, leaving your loved ones to deal with the fallout at a time they should be allowed to mourn. The Law Offices of Steven J. Cottrell can draft a Last Will and Testament on your behalf, which will carefully follow your plan for the distribution of your estate. We will ensure your will has no unintended legal consequences and that it is executed in accordance with the strict formal requirements of California law.

Revocable Living Trusts

Most importantly, a revocable living trust is a legal document signed by the trust maker and trustee. Furthermore, it lists the property assigned to the trust, the trustee, and the name of the beneficiaries of the property held by the trust after the trustee dies. The trustee exercises control over the property. Consequently, it often is the same as the trust maker until their incapacity or death. At The Law Offices of Steven J. Cottrell, we help clients with several aspects of estate planning, including revocable living trusts.

Do I Need a Revocable Living Trust?

We recommend estate planning for anyone with minor children. This plan ensures that the children have trustworthy guardians after their death. Additionally, we recommend this trust for clients with complex estates who want to avoid probate or lingering disputes among potential heirs. Many parents may assume they know who will take care of their minor children if both parents pass away. However, proper estate planning will ensure that is the case. We can help you to address just about any issue you might face at incapacity or after death.

Health Care Directives

A healthcare directive is a planning tool that allows people to make healthcare decisions in advance. In an advance directive, you can state-specific healthcare treatment preferences. You can also empower a trusted agent to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated or too ill to give informed consent.

When people prepare advance healthcare directives, they may specify how they want to be medically cared for near the end of their life. Some persons may indicate they want to be kept alive by doctors for as long as possible. Others may indicate they prefer a more comfortable, natural death. Other medical considerations include preferences on surgeries, medications, or where you want to be cared for as you near the end of your life.

Durable Powers of Attorney

Many people are familiar with an ordinary power of attorney. However, this type of power of attorney is only valid as long as the principal is capable of acting for him or herself and will end automatically when the principal becomes mentally incapacitated or dies. A Durable Power of Attorney remains in force even after the principal later becomes mentally incapacitated and ends automatically when the principal dies or is revoked by notifying your Attorney-in-fact in writing.

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