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Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions are typical to our law practice and have been communicated to us as one of the many concerns that prospective and current clients have expressed.

Do I need an estate plan?

You should have an estate plan if you have minor children, have an estate considered sizeable in amount, i.e. in excess of 1 million dollars; own California real estate; require family privacy; have significant personal and health related issues or want to avoid probate.

What does an estate plan include?

The typical estate plan includes:

  1. a will for you and your spouse
  2. a living or intervivos trust
  3. a durable power of attorney for healthcare
  4. a durable power of attorney for finance
  5. other legal documents as needed

Is a basic will enough?

Usually, if you only have a will, you may not avoid probate.  Probate is a legal process to wind down your estate.  The probate process is expensive and time consuming.

In California, the minimum probate fees that might have to be paid to an attorney start around $4000 for a $100,000 estate, of course with exceptions.  Probate is a court process and takes a minimum of 4 months to complete and usually it takes one year to complete.

How much does a complete estate plan cost?

A complete estate plan as described in Question 2 usually starts around $2500 for a basic plan.  Fees may be higher depending upon the size and sophistication of the estate.

What are the advantages of incorporating my small business?

A favorite audit target for the IRS is the small business, namely Form Schedule C included in your personal tax return.  In order to lessen you chances of being audited by the IRS, our office can turn your Schedule C business into a corporation.  The corporation is a separate legal entity from you, the owner, and can pay you a salary and benefits which my reduce IRS audit issues.  In addition, to several other tax advantages such as reduced Social Security tax on net income, the corporation may provide legal liability protection for situations that may arise in your business.  Our firm can set up the corporation for you business and additionally assist you with implementation of proper accounting systems.