1. What is a will?

A will is a legally binding document that lays out what you want to happen, and how you want your personal affairs handled, when you die. This includes the distribution of your real estate, personal property and the care of minor children. A will does not avoid probate.

2. What is a trust?

A trust is a legal document that significantly expands your options as it relates to managing and protecting your money and assets. Some trusts shield wealth from taxes, while others focus on protecting children and future legacies. In order to maximize benefits, a trust must be funded.

3. What is probate?

Probate is a legal process and proceeding that is used to take care of the affairs and wishes of the deceased. In the state of California, probate is conducted in the Superior Court and local county where the deceased lived. Probate is expensive and timely.

4. What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is an epidemic and includes physical and emotional harm inflicted upon a senior citizen. It also includes financial exploitation, or some type of neglect by people and caregivers responsible for care. Many victims are frail, vulnerable and depend on others for care. Abusers may be family members.

5. What is long term care and who needs it?

In some cases, people can no longer perform everyday tasks due to a catastrophic injury, chronic illness, memory loss, disability, or some health care condition due to aging. If you can no longer perform everyday tasks, like getting dressed, cooking, bathing or taking medication, you may need long term care.

6. What is Medi-Cal and how do I qualify?

Medi-Cal is a government program that pays the medical expenses for people in lower income brackets. Generally, this includes people who are senior citizens, the disabled, and those with medical expenses. If you meet the requirements, the government will help pay doctor visits, hospital stays, prescriptions, rehabilitation, and other services.

7. Will an estate plan protect my family and assets?

Estate Planning is an excellent way to make decisions about what you want to happen when you pass away, which includes protecting family and asset distribution. An Estate Plan also allows your family members to access or control your money if you are unable to do so.

8. What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another individual (referred to as the “attorney in fact”) the power to make important decisions on your behalf. These decisions may involve your money and control of bank accounts, daily expenses, medical decisions, and day to day personal affairs.

9. What is a Health Care Directive?

Health Care Directives are legal documents that allow you to inform doctors, hospitals, medical professionals and close family members about the kind of medical attention and treatment you want to receive if you cannot communicate with others. Everyone should have a health care directive especially the elderly, and parents.

10. What is an Estate Planning Lawyer?

An estate planning lawyer is a type of attorney who represents and advises clients about how to protect assets and loved ones through trusts and other important legally binding documents. Estate planning lawyers understand how to maximize tax laws, protect legacies and maximize benefits for the elderly and children.