Estate Planning

Everyone needs some form of estate planning, although the plan takes a different shape for each person. Let us help you make these important decisions in an informed and compassionate manner. If you prefer, we can meet in the comfort of your own home or office.

Why Prepare an Estate Plan?

Anybody who has dealt with the probate courts knows they never want to return there. A properly drafted estate plan can save your family thousands of dollars in attorney and court fees. It can expedite quicker distributions to your heirs, resulting in broader investment opportunities. It can also combat the strife among relatives that so many families face after a death. In addition, an appropriate estate plan can minimize the administrative burden your successors will face.

If you own a home or you have children, you need some form of estate planning.  If you have any ownership interest in a business, you need an estate plan.  If you are concerned about incapacity, you need an estate plan.  If you have children or other beneficiaries with special needs, you need an estate plan.  If you own real estate in California or elsewhere, you need an estate plan.

Should I Prepare My Estate Plan Now or Later?

Wills and Trusts form only a part of a comprehensive estate plan.  Law Office of Matthew D. Scott strives to add value to the experience by helping you determine which tools are appropriate for you, and by harmonizing the various components of your full estate plan to accomplish your goals. We can also explain the value of acting now versus later.  It may be tempting to put off this important decision-making moment, but often people wait until it is too late.

Unfortunately, many people have false beliefs about estate planning that prevent them from taking action. For example, people assume that if their house is “underwater” – meaning they owe more than their home is worth – then they don’t need to put that home in trust. To avoid future expense and inconvenience to you and your heirs, please speak with an experienced attorney for correct advice.  Other people believe estate planning is only for families whose members do not get along.  These myths are addressed in a simple document entitled “Estate Planning: Not Quite What You Think”, found below.

For FREE information on the most common estate planning myths, please click here.

We take the pain out of the plan

Many people think the estate planning process is too expensive, too time-consuming, and too complicated. It doesn’t have to be. Let us help you take the pain out of the plan. At Law Office of Matthew D. Scott, we have designed a simple three-step process that utilizes modern technology to make your planning experience as painless as possible.

Here is a basic outline of our estate planning process:

  1. The client meets with the attorney for about 45-60 minutes to discuss the client’s desires, discuss planning strategies, gather demographic information, and agree on the services that will meet the client’s needs and desires.
  2. Usually about a week later, the client receives document drafts electronically through a secure connection. The client approves the accuracy of the documents, and then schedules a meeting to sign them with the attorney.
  3. The client meets with the attorney to sign and notarize the documents, at which point the attorney provides further advice regarding what to do with each final document.

Click here to download a PDF version of the Estate Planning Questionnaire.

A typical estate plan consists of the following documents:

  • Living Revocable Trust and Pour-Over Will
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Guardianship Nominations (for minor children)
  • Special Needs Trust (for disabled beneficiaries)
  • Executor / Successor Trustee Nominations
  • Schedule of Assets
  • General Transfer Agreement
  • Real Property Deed Transfers
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management and Finances
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care (also known as Health Care Directive)
  • Living Will Provisions
  • Instructions Regarding Personal Property Distributions
  • Assignments of Business Interests such as LLC, corporation, or S-corp

Medi-Cal Planning

Most people don’t realize that tools and techniques exist to help people prepare financially for long-term care covered in part or in full by Medi-Cal (the California version of Medicaid, a federal program).  We have helped many families to plan for their long-term care needs, including Medi-Cal covered nursing home and in-home support services.  You do not have to spend down your entire life’s savings to become eligible – there is a better way.

Through the use of specialized trusts, asset allocation, and gifting strategies tailored to your situation, you can enjoy your wealth while preserving it for the next generation, all while protecting your eligibility for important benefits.  Contact us for more information about these strategies such as intentionally defective grantor trusts, special needs trusts, gifting, asset transfers from one class to another, etc.

All of our estate plans include complimentary notarization services. In addition, the initial consultation is free, and all estate planning services are provided on a flat-fee (not hourly) basis. We will provide you with a fee and cost quotation at the end of our initial consultation.

We are a provider for ARAG legal insurance benefits and coverage.

NOTE: Your personal, family, or business situation will affect your estate planning considerations. The list above is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. Please speak with a competent, licensed attorney for advice on how your estate plan should be structured.