Trusts and Estates

When Jeanne Gale (then Jeanne Tunison-Campbell) founded our firm almost 20 years ago, she concentrated in the areas of estate and business planning. Today, we continue to be recognized for our sophisticated estate planning and probate practice for both individual and family business clients.

Each of our attorneys is skilled in estate planning disciplines, including the drafting of wills, trusts and other estate planning instruments; charitable planning; the administration of probate estates and trusts; business succession planning; and the representation of clients in court. We can help you to form and administer specialized trusts like charitable trusts, special needs trusts, QTIP Trusts, and irrevocable life insurance trusts. In addition, we assist in planning for unique assets, such as closely-held businesses, partnerships, real estate, art, and life insurance.

Each member of our professional team is able to provide our clients with a full range of planning services, extending beyond financial issues to address the personal concerns important to clients and their families. Our clients find peace of mind and confidence because their relationships with us are based on mutual trust. We explain the financial and family ramifications of planning options, and then work with our client to develop the best plan to provide for their loved ones’ welfare and the disposition or continuation of their wealth.

Our approach to estate planning is to establish and maintain close personal contact with each of our clients. This enables us to develop unique estate plans that provide for their particular family and business needs. Typically, we:

  • Meet with the client to discuss their stage in life, and their plans and goals for the future.

  • Analyze the impact of potential income, estate, gift, generation-skipping and income taxes.

  • Determine liquidity needs for providing for the family.

  • Analyze whether to restructure the ownership of various assets for operational or financial reasons; this can include allocating business interests among family members, reducing potential probate administration expenses, or reducing exposure to future liability.

  • Analyze the feasibility and tax consequences of a gift program, including gifts to minors.

  • Review the client’s pension plans, profit-sharing plans, IRAs, life insurance, and other retirement plans, and coordinate beneficiary designations with the client’s estate plan.

  • Develop a plan to continue a family business.

  • Develop a plan for any special family needs (such as providing care for a disabled or mentally challenged child, elderly parents requiring care, or children from a second marriage).

  • Help the client determine who should act as the personal representative, trustee or guardian.

  • Prepare wills, trusts, irrevocable trusts, or other documents needed to implement the plan, including powers of attorney for finance, and powers of attorney and advance directives for health care.

  • Conduct Medi-Cal planning, including planning for financial eligibility to apply for Medi-Cal, and applying for hardship exemptions from reimbursement claims against the estate of a deceased Medi-Cal recipient.

  • Draft prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

Probate

All of the members of our law firm understand how difficult everything can become after the loss of a family member or friend. This is a complex area of the law that can be exhausting for the people assigned to manage the estate through the court process.

We have mastered the methods and procedures to make this process as easy for our clients as possible. Our firm maintains excellent relationships with court staff, government officials, and local professionals in the accounting, real estate, and financial planning fields. All of these people are essential to managing and distributing probate estates.

We provide a understandable step-by-step procedure that our clients can participate in as fully as they wish. Our firm is committed to maintain our expertise in the ever-changing field of probate law.