Trusts and Estates: Planning, Probate, Administration & Litigation
A comprehensive estate plan is one that takes into consideration your current circumstances as well as long term goals. An estate plan is a flexible and effective way to plan for contingencies, to provide for loved ones after you pass, and to manage your affairs while you are living. There are numerous advantages to setting up your estate plan today.
Depending on your circumstances, it may be appropriate to create a Trust plan. Certain types of trusts provide you with a vehicle for managing assets and minimizing tax implications. With tax laws in flux, anyone living in California who owns a home or business should consider a trust plan.
For relatively small estates, a Last Will and Testament will be sufficient to ensure your wishes are carried out, however, without a trust plan, heirs face the task of probate-- the court process to settle your estate. The process of probating a will or intestate estate can take six to nine months, and cost thousands of dollars.
Attorney Mary E. Mac Lellan begins the process of planning your estate by evaluating your current situation and goals, and determining the appropriate next steps. By working closely with Mary Mac Lellan, you will create an estate plan that meets all of your needs, whether it is to create a simple will or more complex trusts. Your estate plan will also include a power of attorney for health care and financial matters to allow an agent to act on your behalf if you are unable to.
If you are handling the estate of a loved one, Mary Mac Lellan will work with you to complete the trust administration or probate process in a timely and effective manner. As a Northern California trust and probate attorney, she has worked with clients to settle complex and simple estates in the counties of Santa Clara, San Francisco, Monterey, and the counties of eastern and central California , providing personalized service and attention. She also represents beneficiaries in trust and estate litigation and disputes.
Any estate plan should include two very important components: an Advance Directive and Durable Power of Attorney. Sometimes the need for these crucial documents arises outside of the planning process, for example before major surgery, when planning a vacation, or when an agent is no longer able to act. The Law Office of Mary E. Mac Lellan can meet your needs in either situation.
An Advance Directive provides someone you appoint with the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so. You can also provide detailed instructions for your loved ones regarding treatment, care, pain management, and ultimately, what to do after you pass away. A Durable Power of Attorney provides your agent with the authority to manage your financial and legal affairs. In some cases, you will want to appoint the same person as your agent for both health care and financial affairs, sometimes it makes more sense to appoint two different people. In either case, you have complete flexibility and control over who you appoint, when their appointment becomes effective, and what their powers will be.
Mary E. Mac Lellan can help you determine who will best serve as your agent. If the need for an Advance Directive or Durable Power of Attorney arises unexpectedly, these documents can also be created outside of an estate plan, and Attorney Mac Lellan is available to meet with clients on short notice to prepare and execute them.
When loved ones can no longer take care of themselves, whether due to age, an accident, or other event in their life, others must step in to handle financial and personal affairs. The Court process for doing this is known as Conservatorship. Generally, a family member petitions the court to be appointed Conservator of the Person or Estate. The Conservatorship process is complicated, and requires knowledge and expertise to ensure that the Conservator has all of the powers necessary to manage a person's life, and that appointment can be achieved as soon as possible.
Guardianship is a similar process and tool, but applies to situations in which a child is left without parents to provide for their personal and/or financial needs. Like a Conservatorship, Guardianships involve a complicated and long process.
At the Law Office of Mary E. Mac Lellan, we are experienced in working through the processes to secure appointment for our clients as quickly and compassionately as possible. Time is of the essence frequently in Conservatorship and Guardianship matters and you need someone who is knowledgeable and responsive working for you. Our office is uniquely able to respond to same-day requests for legal assistance, as well as to make house-calls and hospital visits, as necessary.
Blended families are more of a reality today than ever before. In many cases, a new spouse becomes more of a parent to a child than that child's biological parent is. For whatever reasons, some biological parents abandon their children and someone steps in to fill the vital role. To create a family unit, clients seeking to adopt their stepchildren must go through the Stepparent Adoption process at Superior Court. The process involves petitioning the court, submitting to a Social Services Agency investigation, and in some cases, requesting that the rights of a biological parent be terminated. Stepparent Adoption in San Jose and surrounding areas can take four to six months, but having an experienced stepparent adoption attorney take you through the process can help ensure everything goes smoothly and without delay.
Whether you desire to change, correct, or add to your name, you can do so by filing a petition with your county's Superior Court and publishing your request in a local newspaper. You can change your name for almost any reason and for a low flat rate, the Law Office of Mary E. Mac Lellan will complete the paperwork, arrange publication, and obtain your name change decree for you. You don't have to take the time to go through the process.
If you need assistance with any of the legal issues described above, contact the Law Office of Mary E. Mac Lellan today. Our professional and courteous staff can answer questions and schedule a complimentary consultation.
Serving Northern California with offices in San Jose, serving Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Monterey Counties and in the Sacramento area, serving Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and surrounding counties.
The Law Office of Mary E. Mac Lellan, Esq.
In the Bay Area:
5595 Winfield Blvd., Suite 200, San Jose California 95123
In Sacramento and the Gold Country:
4354 Town Center Blvd., #114-176, El Dorado Hills CA 95762