Estate Planning, Trusts and Wills

Our firm provides comprehensive, personalized, and tailored legal services to meet all of our client’s estate planning needs. Our firm utilizes a variety of tools to help families preserve their assets for generations to come. Specifically, we work with our clients to minimize estate taxes and ultimately avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process by utilizing Wills (simple & complex), Powers of Attorney, Living Trusts, Living Wills, Family Limited Partnerships, Irrevocable Trusts, and Charitable Gifting Strategies.

When it comes to Medicaid & Medi-Cal Services & Elder Law, our goal is to protect our clients’ nest eggs. We ensure that our clients qualify for Medicaid services and other government medical benefits so that their estates are protected from expensive nursing home and hospital bills. If you become disabled and unable to work, we will help you determine if you qualify for SSD coverage. As a Social Security disability lawyer, James Dolenga will also inform you about the monthly disability benefits and health coverage for a deceased, disabled or retired worker’s disabled dependents.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is essentially writing down your assets, who will be responsible for distributing or administering your assets in the event that you are unable to, due to incapacity or death, how you want or assets distributed or administered, and to whom you wish to leave your assets.

The assets involved in your estate can include more than just money. It can also include houses, cars, stocks, artwork, real estate investments, retirement plans, and gifts, just to name a few.

Your estate plan can direct these items be distributed outright, held in trust for a period of time, used for a specific purpose such as a grandchild’s education, or given to charity.

By having a well-written, customized estate plan, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and your goals are achieved while protecting everything you worked for from family fights, creditors, and unscrupulous predators who may wish to take advantage of your family.

What Does a California Estate Planning Attorney Do for Families?

Estate planning attorneys, also referred to as estate law attorneys are experienced with a thorough understanding of the state and federal legislations that affect just how your estate will be inventoried, and handled after your death.

Furthermore, an estate planning lawyer can help you make sure that you have planned for end-of-life situations in which you’re not able to make your own choices.

This will typically include designating power of attorney, formulating a living will or creating any various other types of documents or instructions. A great estate planning lawyer can give a legal overview regarding all the aspects of planning for the end of life.

As you get older, it’s important to have a secure estate strategy set up so that your family will be cared for when you’re gone. This entails creating plenty of legal documents, which is when employing an estate planning attorney can be specifically helpful. 

These attorneys focus on several areas of estate planning, including federal as well as state laws pertaining to trusts, wills, taxes, power of attorney.

Providing exceptional Estate Planning, SSI, SSDI, and Medicaid & Medi-Cal Planning for seniors and families in Torrance, Los Angeles, Orange County, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Riverside, Moreno Valley, Simi Valley, Ontario, San Bernardino and more.

Estate Planning Attorneys Assist with the Following:

They assist you craft binding lawful records such as wills and also clear power of attorney documents, but they can also be used on a per hour basis to help you keep your estate up-to-date, act upon your part to manage disagreements, and also ensure that your will is carried out according to your wishes.

An estate planning attorney can also be contacted to help any person with power of attorney over a just recently deceased person’s estate via the process of probate court. 

In fact, an excellent estate planning attorney may have the ability to help you avoid probate court completely, but that mostly depends on the type of assets in the deceased’s estate and just how they are structured to be transferred to an heir.

Are you ready for exceptional help with Estate Planning, SSI, SSDI, and Medicaid & Medi-Cal Planning for seniors and families in Torrance, or the Greater Los Angeles area?

What's in a California Estate Plan, and also Why Do I Need One?

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A California Estate Plan usually consists of a Living Trust, Powers of Attorney, a Living Will, as well as a Pour-Over Will– for starters. It needs a specialized California Estate Planning Attorney to do it right. An Estate Plan can not be created after you pass away.

Living trusts are legal tools used for financial planning. Living trusts allow an estate to avoid probate. Probate is a court procedure that handles the paying of creditors and the distribution of a deceased person’s assets. They are a commonly used alternative to wills that allow California individuals and families to pass their assets to heirs. If properly structured, a living trust can help reduce tax liability and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes, income taxes, and sometimes gift taxes. Parents often create revocable, living trusts and place real estate and assets in them to be distributed to their children or other heirs after the parents die.

There’s no certain dollar quantity of assets for which a living trust becomes a good idea. In numerous states, probate isn’t a big deal, while in others– consisting of California– probate cost is so high that the price of establishing a living trust can be beneficial. Even in California, smaller estates (those under $150,000) can stay clear of probate or receive a streamlined process that can make living trusts unneeded.

Essential Components of Estate Planning

What is a Will?

A will is a legally-binding declaration, directing who will receive your property at your death. If you do not have a will, the state will determine exactly how to distribute your property. A will, also designates a lawful representative (called an executor or a personal representative) to accomplish your wishes. A will is especially important if there are minors involved. A will enables you to appoint a guardian for the children.

A will covers only probate property. Several kinds of residential property or forms of ownership pass outside of probate. Jointly-owned properties, life insurance proceeds, property in trust, and property with a named beneficiary, such as IRAs or 401(k) plans, all occur outside of the probate process and aren’t covered under a will.

Need Medicaid & Medi-Cal? It’s important to seek the advice of a seasoned professional who understands the rules, process and provisions under these laws. Don’t risk losing the assets and inheritance you worked hard for.

What is a Trust

A trust is a legal arrangement where a single person (or an organization, such as a financial institution or law firm), called a “trustee,” holds lawful title to property for another individual, called a “beneficiary.” Trusts have one collection of recipients throughout those beneficiaries’ lives and another established– commonly their children– who start to benefit just after the senior has passed away. There are several reasons for setting up a trust. 

The most typical reason is to prevent probate. If you establish a revocable living trust that terminates when you die, any kind of residential property in the trust passes immediately to the beneficiaries. This can conserve money and time for the beneficiaries.

Certain trusts can additionally result in tax advantages both for the trustor as well as the beneficiary. These could be “credit shelter” or “life insurance” trust funds. 

Other trusts might be used to secure a home from creditors or to aid the trustor in qualifying for Medicaid.

What is a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney permits a person you select– your “attorney-in-fact”– to act on your behalf for financial issues if you become incapacitated.  The individual you select will have the ability to look after your finances. Without a good power of attorney, no person can represent you unless a court assigns a conservator or guardian. That court process requires time, expenses, money, and the court might not choose the person you would choose! Additionally, under a guardianship or conservatorship, your rep might have to obtain court consent to take some actions that she could execute right away under a straightforward power of attorney.

What is a Medical Directive

A medical directive might encompass a variety of legal files, including a health care proxy, a durable power of attorney for health care, a living will, as well as medical instructions. The specific document or documents will depend upon your state’s legislation as well as the choices you make.

Both a healthcare proxy and a durable power of attorney for healthcare designate a person you select, to make healthcare choices for you if you are incapable of doing so on your own. 

A living will advises your healthcare provider to withdraw life support measures if you are terminally ill or in a vegetative state.

 A broader medical directive may include the same information as a living will, however will additionally provide directions if you are in a much less critical state of health, but are still not able to express your healthcare wishes on your own.

What is a Beneficiary Designation?

Although not necessarily a part of your estate strategy, at the same time you develop an estate plan, you must see to it that your retirement plan beneficiary designations are correct and current. If you don’t name a recipient, the results may be controlled by state or federal law or according to your particular retirement plan. Some strategies immediately disperse money to a spouse or kids. Although others may leave it to the retirement plan holder’s estate, this might have negative tax consequences. The only method to regulate where the assets go is to name a beneficiary.


Research shows that having a professional representative can boost your chances of getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Make sure you’re represented.

Are you ready for exceptional help with Estate Planning, SSI, SSDI, and Medicaid & Medi-Cal Planning for seniors and families in Torrance, Los Angeles, Orange County, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Riverside, Moreno Valley, Simi Valley, Ontario, San Bernardino and surrounding areas? Then let’s Get Started!