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Estate Planning and Administration

Laguna Hills Lawyer Provides Full-Service Estate Support

If your estate plan could accomplish anything you wanted, what would that be?

Offering a wide range of estate planning and administration services

For more than 30 years, at Genevieve Wall, A Law Corporation, I have provided high-quality estate planning and administration counsel to my neighbors in Orange County, and throughout Southern California.   I also serve more distant clients with California probate, trust, and estate matters.

From Wills to Trusts to Health Care Directives and Powers of Attorney, I help clients put estate plans in place, and help their named fiduciaries carry them out, to ensure that their assets will pass to their intended beneficiaries, and to ensure their medical wishes are upheld.

I also assist executors and trustees with the probate and trust estate administration processes.

My estate planning practice provides assistance with:

  • General estate planning and administration
  • Estate planning for people with minor children
  • Estate planning for people at midlife
  • Beneficiary designations for tax-deferred accounts
  • Estate planning for beneficiaries with disabilities
  • Estate planning for when a person becomes elderly or ill
  • Establishing a pet trust to provide for a pet

What is involved in estate planning and administration?

A comprehensive and well-crafted estate plan may include the following:

  • Your will — A well-drafted will provides clear, unambiguous instructions for how you want your estate to be distributed upon your passing.  It specifies beneficiaries, the people or groups to receive your property and assets upon your death. If you have minor children, your will should also appoint a legal guardian to care for those children.
  • A trust — In a trust, you transfer ownership of property to a person you choose, the trustee. The trustee manages your property for your benefit and for the benefit of others you designate. Trustees can be family members, friends, or even an institution such as a bank. Some trusts take effect when you die; others are in effect while you’re living. Depending on the type of trust you choose, your estate may avoid probate upon your death. There are also pet trusts that can ensure your pets are cared for after you die.
  • A living will and a durable power of attorney for health care — The purpose of a living will is to specify your wishes for your medical treatment should you become unable to do so. For example, you can request that your health care providers not resuscitate you if your heart stops, or you can request that they take all reasonable measures to resuscitate you. The health care durable power of attorney names the person you want to make health care decisions on your behalf and to carry out your living will. This person can be anyone you choose, but it is usually a spouse, adult child, sibling or close friend.
  • A durable power of attorney for finances — In this document, you appoint someone to manage your assets if you become unable to manage them. If you become incapacitated — for example, by stroke, dementia or serious accident — this person pays your bills.

The people or groups involved in estate administration are those you designate to carry out your wishes — following your death or, in the case of some trusts, during your life.   An executor is the person you choose to ensure the conditions of your will are met:  He or she must pay your estate’s debts and taxes before transferring the rest of your assets to your beneficiaries.   A trustee is the person you designate to manage your trust.

What should I consider in planning my estate at midlife or if I am elderly?

If you have assets, such as a home or investments, or if you have a family, it is never too early to plan your estate. You can always revise your will later. Many people revise their wills several times as their financial and family circumstances change.

Regardless of your age, and certainly if you are at midlife or elderly, you should hire an experienced estate attorney to prepare a will and durable power of attorney.  You may also want to discuss ways to avoid or minimize probate. One strategy is to create a revocable living trust.  As with a will, you name a trustee, but unlike a will, you transfer — into the living trust — all of the property that you want to leave to your heirs.  You can change or revoke this kind of trust at any time.   At Genevieve Wall, A Law Corporation, I have the experience and skill to advise you about the benefits of both wills and trusts.

If you have minor children, you and your spouse should choose a guardian to care for them until they reach legal age.  If your estate is subject to estate tax, you should consider ways to minimize the tax for the benefit of your heirs.  An experienced attorney helps with each of these considerations.

How Can You Help Me With An Estate Administration?

When someone passes away, there are a number of legal and tax matters that must be resolved.   I can help you with the estate administration, whether it involves the private administration of a trust, probate of a will, or both.

Proper administration is more than just making sure that the right people get the right stuff.    It is about taking advantage of tax planning opportunities, resolving disputes and eliminating unnecessary costs.

If you have lost a loved one and have an estate to administer, I can help you handle the details of the administration, so you can focus on dealing with grief and being with your family.

How can I be sure that my pets will be cared for after my death?

For many of us, pets are more than companions: they’re family members. Just as we ensure our children are cared for in the event of our death, we can ensure our pets are loved and cared for once we’re gone. Assuming a family member or close friend will step up and care for your pet after you die is a risk you needn’t take. There are presently several options for providing for your pets once you can no longer care for them yourself:

  • Pet trust — In a pet trust, you name someone to be your pet’s guardian, and you designate an amount of money to be placed in the trust and used only for that pet’s care.
  • Will — You can will your pet to someone, along with a sum of money to reimburse that person for pet-care expenses. Of course, you should discuss this with the person beforehand to be sure that he or she is willing to take on that responsibility.
  • Legacy arrangements — If you do not have a relative or friend who can care for your pet, consider a legacy arrangement. Some animal shelters, rescues and veterinary schools have programs to care for animals after the owner has died.

At Genevieve Wall, A Law Corporation, I have a special interest in animal welfare and am experienced in planning for pet care in estate plans. I can advise you on the options available and prepare a plan for your pet that offers you peace of mind.

Concerned about estate planning and administration? To schedule a free consultation, contact my office today

I offer a courtesy initial consultation to prospective clients who need to open a California Probate court proceeding, or who need to administer a Living Trust after the death of a Trustor, or who want to establish a Trust, a Will, or an estate plan.

To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss opening a California Probate court proceeding, or to discuss administering a Living Trust after the death of a Trustor, or to discuss setting up a Trust, a Will, or an estate plan, call me today at 949-859-0861 or contact me online.   My office is located in the Laguna Hills Civic Center, City Hall building.

Your call will be promptly returned. Set in the Laguna Hills Civic Center, City Hall building, my office serves clients from throughout Orange County and Southern California.   My office has free parking, and it is accessible by public transportation. My office hours are flexible: I can schedule a time that is convenient for you.

“I have worked with Genevieve over the past ten years since my mother’s stroke. She helped me with advanced directives, power of attorney, and through the probate stages. As executor of the estate, I was able to rely on her guidance throughout the process.”
–5.0 Rating ★★★★★

“Ms. Wall has been of great assistance in competently preparing our family trusts and assisting with all matters pertaining to the recent death of my mother in law. She is the best example of the professionalism and care for clients that characterizes a great attorney and counselor.”
–5.0 Rating ★★★★★

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  • "Ms. Wall has been of great assistance in competently preparing our family trusts and assisting with all matters pertaining to the recent death of my mother in law. She is the best example of the professionalism and care for clients who characterizes a great attorney and counselor."  -LN

  • "Dear Genny, On behalf of our family, I want to take a moment to thank you for your time, patience, expertise and especially your kindness while helping us manage the affairs necessary after our Mother’s passing. You may remember commenting that we all seem to get along and how rare that was in your experience. Fortunately, we can appreciate what our parents had worked hard to be able to pass on to us. Having someone of your expertise to help guide us, made it all the easier! Thank you again. May you continue to enjoy personal happiness and professional success."  -Best regards. – MB

  • "I like your attention to details, your willingness to answer any and all questions, always getting copies of materials needed, and that you allowed plenty of time to explain over and over if needed. Keep up the good work!"  -RG

Our Office
  • Laguna Hills Office
    24031 El Toro Rd
    Suite 200
    Laguna Hills, California 92653
    Phone: 949-859-0861
    Fax: 949-362-1749