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Ventura Estate Planning Attorney

Estate Planning in Ventura, CA

There are few things as intimidating as the task of completing your estate plan. The best time to plan for your incapacity or passing, though, is while you’re still healthy.

With a little time, effort, and guidance from a trusted estate planning professional, you can develop a plan to protect your family and get peace-of-mind. Failing to complete a proper estate plan can place the security of your family and assets in jeopardy.

What is Your Estate?

Your estate is comprised of everything you own: your home (including all the stuff inside your home), bank accounts, 401k, business holdings, investment accounts, etc. In addition to what you own, your estate must also consider your minor children and pets.

It’s important to be thoughtful and strategic about how, when, and to whom your estate is divided and distributed. Inaction can lead to the government taking over control of the distribution of your assets after you pass. This is known as intestacy and generally involves probate court. This intestacy process leaves your loved ones with few options and places your legacy in the hands of the government.

The Benefits of an Estate Plan

A well-prepared estate plan can ensure the safety and security of your family long after you have passed. A financial planner can help you make important financial decisions about your estate while you’re still in good health and help ensure your trust is funded and safeguarded for the next generation.

If your trust is unfunded (meaning you haven’t put any money or assets in it), your loved ones could face a public, costly, and time-consuming probate process upon your death. Don’t worry, funding the trust sounds complicated but working with a professional like us makes it fairly easy.

The Trouble with Using a Will Only

Many presume that a will is more than enough to convey their wishes for their estate after they pass. Unfortunately, with only a will, the plans for your assets are only effective upon your death and require probate court proceeding to work. If you become incapacitated, your assets will be under the control of a court-appointed conservator.

Even when your distribution plans for your assets are honored, it is easy for loved ones to see an inheritance as a windfall. Too often, a person’s legacy is frittered away by poor decisions made by grieving family members.

That’s why most inheritances are gone within a mere five years of receipt. A failure to consider the long-term implications of their financial choices often results in one’s inheritance disappearing practically overnight.

With the help of an estate planning lawyer, you can ensure your beneficiaries are taken care of and that the assets are distributed in a way that will be the most beneficial to all involved.

How Our Ventura Estate Planning Lawyers Help You 

At Hermance Law, we offer strategic legal advice and estate planning services tailored to your family and financial dynamic.

Here are four ways we can use estate planning tools to help you.

Wills: Making Your Wishes Known

A last will and testament is a signed and witnessed written document whose terms go into effect when you die. With it, you can designate beneficiaries, select guardians for young children, and appoint an Executor of your estate. 

Drafting a will is a quick and painless way of allowing your wishes to be known, and therefore a great starting point for beginners. Speak with a Ventura will lawyer to ensure your will is drafted legally, ethically, and properly according to your wishes.

Trusts: Asset Protection That Works

Creating a living trust is one of the best ways to avoid probate. Trusts come in various forms, but their overall purpose is to set aside assets for your heirs and prevent those assets from being forced through the costly and time-consuming probate process.

Trusts work by transferring ownership of the assets from your name to a trustee, who manages the assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. Our Ventura trust lawyers can help set up a trust document that meets your needs and assist in trust administration when the time comes.

Guardianship: Estate Planning for the Vulnerable

When it comes to estate planning, planning for the vulnerable is a must. An estate plan can be used to address concerns regarding the care of young children, special needs family members, and incapacitated adults.

Speak to one of our Ventura guardianship attorneys about establishing guardianship and how you can ensure your loved ones have a bright future.

Probate: What Happens When You Don’t Plan

Without proper estate planning, you leave your estate at the mercy of your local probate court. Even with a will, you risk the details of your estate becoming public knowledge and your loved ones fighting in probate court over their rights to property, accounts, and other assets.

Should your family find themselves heading to court for probate matters, our experienced probate lawyers can help them navigate the probate process, ensuring things go as smoothly as possible.

Services We Offer In Our Ventura Estate Planning Attorney Office

Our Estate Planning Packages & Costs

All of our estate planning packages are done on a flat-fee basis, so clients know how much the plans cost before getting started.

We accept payment by check, cash, and credit card (mastercard and visa).

We also have payment plan options available for clients through AFFIRM Payments.

Our Estate Planning Process

We understand that Estate Planning is generally an item on your To-Do list that keeps getting pushed towards the bottom of your list. Let’s be honest, it’s not glamourous to do and it requires you to think about things that you just don’t want to think about. But, it is so important to ensure that your family is planned for and protected.

Our process is designed to make it as easy as possible for busy families to complete their Estate Plan in 4 to 6 weeks. We have flexible schedules to allow working families to meet in the evenings or even on some Saturdays. We use the latest technology available to ensure the families can access information and messaging 24×7.

Hermance Law Estate Planning Process

Stage 1: Family Planning Appointment

After our phone consultation, the first meeting is an opportunity for us to get to know each other to determine if we are a good fit to work together. You will need to complete a online worksheet at least 2 days prior to our meeting in preparation for it. The Family Planning Appointment uses the worksheet you complete to give us an idea of what your currently family situation and finances are. During the Family Planning Appointment, you meet with an attorney to design an Estate Plan that specifically addresses your family needs. All Estate Plans are done on a flat-fee basis so you don’t have to worry about hidden fees coming up throughout the process.

Stage 2: Pre-Signing

During this stage, your entire Estate Plan is drafted within 2 weeks of signing our legal fee agreement and paying your invoice. An Estate Planning summary is sent to you for your review and we send you any follow-up questions we have. During this stage of the process we use our online secure client portal to share documents and communicate with each other. After you review the summary, you then send back any questions or revisions using our secure client portal. You will also meet with your attorney virtually again during this stage to go through all of your estate planning documents, answer any questions, make necessary changes, discuss trust funding and next steps, and discuss your A-Team of professional advisors. We then finalize all your Estate Planning documents for your Signing.

Stage 3: Signing Estate Planning Documents

At this stage, we have an in-person meeting or online remote signing where you sign your Estate Planning documents. Our hope is at the end of the meeting, you will feel a tremendous weight lifted from you and a feeling of accomplishment for protecting your family.

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Stage 4: Post-Signing

Our relationship doesn’t end at the signing. We will be in contact with you every 3 years to review your Estate Plan as part of our service. But that’s not all, as a client you will receive communications from us on an ongoing basis updating you as needed and providing you tips and education on family planning. We are always here for you if you have any questions.

Planning Framework for Parents

We are here to help you

No two families are the same, so no two estate plans will be.

To discuss your custom California estate plan strategy, contact us. Let’s chat. We assure you that you will be able to communicate openly with us in a no-cost consultation, whether in English, Spanish, or Korean.

Click below to schedule an appointment, or complete the form here. A member of our estate planning team will contact you!

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We are probate lawyers, but we are also parents. We have great resources on estate planning for parents, focusing on what parents can do to protect their children in emergencies.

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Serving Clients Throughout California

Find An Office Location Near You

We understand that this can be overwhelming. Family estate planning forces uncomfortable conversations about preparing for unfavorable eventualities. Rest assured that we are as empathetic as we are knowledgeable.

Find us in Ventura, Westlake Village, Valencia, Pasadena, Calabasas, Santa Clarita, and Irvine, or connect with us virtually.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main goals of estate planning?

Every estate plan should address four main goals:

  1. Protecting assets, property, and wealth for future generations
  2. Minimizing financial burdens (estate tax, inheritance tax, probate fees, legal fees, etc.)
  3. Determining guardians for dependents
  4. Planning for end-of-life or incapacity (medical treatment, disability, funeral costs, etc.)

To achieve all four, a comprehensive estate plan is critical.

What are some common estate planning mistakes?

Among the many mistakes made in estate planning, the most common tend to be:

  • Not having a will or estate plan in place at all
  • Lack of healthcare and disability planning
  • Naming minor children as joint owners to assets
  • Not keeping an estate plan up-to-date

The good news is that all of these issues can be avoided when you enlist the help of an estate planning attorney.

What's the difference between a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust?

Both revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts are estate planning documents that provide asset protection.

The main difference between the two is that with a revocable trust, you can change the terms of the trust document—add and remove beneficiaries, trust assets, or even terminate the trust completely—while with an irrevocable trust, you cannot. Our trust attorneys can help you choose the right trust for your needs.

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