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 Estate Planning

Estate Planning:

Estate planning is a broad term encompassing:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Property agreements and related documents
  • Healthcare Powers of Attorney and Directives

The typical plan involves an evolution of needs and desires to:

  • Minimize taxes
  • Care for beneficiaries, including those with special needs
  • Preserve assets
  • Disability protection
  • Probate avoidance strategies

Our estate planning attorneys, Robert J. Lanzone and Gregory J. Rubens, evaluate your personal and family situation to ensure the estate planning documents meet your objectives and meet the needs of your spouse and beneficiaries.  Our clients' plans

         typically include:

  • A revocable living trust    
  • Pour-over will
  • Durable power of attorney for financial management
  • Healthcare directive
  • Durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions

         and may include:

  • Property agreements   
  • Irrevocable charitable or life insurance trusts
  • Special needs trusts

Probate is a court supervised process under which the estate or assets of a deceased person (decedent) are administered and transferred to heirs, if there is no will, or designated beneficiaries if a will exists.  The process can be costly due to statutory attorneys' fees, costs and commissions, and because it is court supervised, typically takes more time than a trust administration.  ADC&L advises its clients through this process toward distribution of the estate and includes:

  • Advice on duties and responsibilities
  • Inventory and allocation of assets
  • Tax compliance
  • Accountings
  • Defense of will contests
  • Other disputes and litigation

ADC&L attorneys provide services to conservators in making the important and sometimes difficult decision to petition the court for conservatorship of a loved one who can no longer care for him or herself due to disability, dementia or inability to resist undue influence or fraud.  Conservatorships are designed to protect the estate of the conservatee.  Gregory J. Rubens is appointed by the court to represent conservatees to protect their rights as well.

Estate Litigation:

ADC&L attorneys are experienced in trust and probate litigation including:

  • Will/Trust contests
  • Trust disputes and litigation
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Misconduct

ADC&L attorneys protect our clients' rights under the Probate Code and/or terms of the decedent's estate plan.  ADC&L attorneys are often asked to resolve these matters in a creative and cost effective manner, such as through mediation.  However, many cases are not amenable to mediation due to family dynamics or the facts and circumstances of the estate. 

Estate Planning and Probate Articles:

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