Palmer | Kucera LLP
Attorneys at Law

Estate Planning

Our law firm specializes in estate planning. Estate Planning is a process by which you plan for how your personal and financial affairs will be managed in the event of your passing, while maximising the size of your estate for your beneficiaries.

Estate Planning

At Palmer Kucera|LLP we advise our clients on the complexities of a proper estate plan and can tailor our services to meet the individual needs of our clients

estate planning attorney
 
 

“An estate plan is a gift we leave behind for our loved ones”

Location

725 Pollasky Ave. Suite 101

Clovis, CA 93612

T: (559) 900- 2806


Probate

Probate is a court-managed process through which a person's estate is administered after their death.

Basic Estate PLanning

Estate planning is a process by which you plan for how your personal and financial affairs will be managed in the event of your passing, while maximising the size of your estate for your beneficiaries.

advanced Estate PLanning

There are many additional estate planning strategies that can preserve wealth, reduce taxes and strengthen an estate plan you may already have.

Trust & PROBATE Administration

Trust administration is NOT a court-supervised process, yet its ultimate goal is also the transfer of property to beneficiaries who are identified in your trust instrument.


WHAT IS PROBATE?

Probate is a court-managed process through which a person's estate is administered after his or her death. Through the probate process, the decedent’s debts are paid and distributions are made to his or her heirs and beneficiaries. If the decedent left a valid will that provides for the distribution of his or her assets, the probate process is often administered rather efficiently and quickly. If the decedent did not leave a will or there is a dispute about the validity of the decedent's will, however, the probate process can be time-consuming, emotionally draining and costly.  It is the role of the executor named in the will (perhaps a surviving spouse or child), or the administrator assigned by the court, to oversee this process and report to the court.  It is a fiduciary role that carries a great deal or responsibility.

WHAT SERVICES CAN I EXPECT FROM PALMER|KUCERA LLP ?

At Palmer Kucera LLP, we work with the probate court to administer the estate according to the decedent's wishes so that the executor and decedent's beneficiaries do not bear the burden alone. This includes filing all necessary petitions and documents, making appearances at hearings, publishing notice of the administration, processing creditor claims, and countless other tasks that fall within the purview of the executor. Probate is a complicated and time-sensitive process, but Palmer Kucera LLP is there to take the reins and relieve the executor of this added burden.

WHAT IF YOU DIE WITHOUT AN ESTATE PLAN?

Dying without a will or trust is called “dying intestate.” In this case, the judge appoints an administrator (who can be an heir or even an agent of the court) to handle your estate, which means:

  • Your assets will be distributed according to a set of rules called intestate succession

  • Your minor children will be placed in the custody of someone approved by the court

  • In the event of your incapacity, medical care decisions—including end of life decisions—may be made by the court (remember the sad case of Terri Schiavo from the 90’s?)

The lesson: don’t die without an estate plan!


WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?

Estate planning is a process by which you determine:

  • How to provide for your spouse and children upon your death

  • How and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death, including trusts for the benefit of a spouse, children or grandchildren

  • Payment of debts, taxes, burial arrangements, etc.

  • Charitable & legacy gifting

  • Business succession planning

  • How and by whom your finances will be managed during your lifetime if you become incapacitated

  • How and by whom your medical care will be managed during your lifetime if you become incapacitated

  • Who will be responsible for taking care of your minor children in the event of your death or incapacity

WHO NEEDS ESTATE PLANNING?

  • You do!  Whether your estate is large or small

  • If your estate qualifies as a “small estate”, the probate process is usually less expensive and time consuming than a formal probate. But it is still important!

  • Sibling rivalries and bad blood can easily develop when arguing over mother’s favorite painting or father’s stamp collection, let alone a house and other substantial assets.

  • If your estate is large, you may develop a plan that calls for estate tax planning, revocable and irrevocable trust instruments, business succession planning, and so on.

  • Married clients with blended families

WHAT DOES A PROPER ESTATE PLAN ENTAIL?

  • WILLS


  • REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS


  • FINANCIAL AND HEALTH CARE POWERS OF ATTORNEY


  • ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE (INCL. LIVING WILL)


OTHER SERVICES OFFERED AT PALMER|KUCERA LLP

  • Re-Titling of Assets

  • Updating Beneficiary Designations

  • Transfer on Death Deeds

  • Converatorships

  • Guardianships

There is a wide assortment of strategies and instruments that you can use to ensure that your hard-earned success is preserved, protected and transferred as you intended.  Palmer Kucera LLP uses these tools to create sophisticated wealth transfer strategies that allow you to maintain your current lifestyle while providing for your loved ones.  Count on us to provide proactive, expert advice to help you navigate the complex and often emotional decisions that come with providing for your future . . . and the future of your loved ones


WHAT IS ADVANCED ESTATE PLANNING?

At Palmer Kucera LLP, we are able to provide our clients more complicated estate planning tools and options. Characteristics of a complicated estate plan can vary depending on the needs of our clients:

  • Business Succession Planning

  • Gift Trusts

  • Family Limited Partnerships

  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts

  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts

  • Grantor Retainer Annuity Trusts (GRAT)

  • Grantor Retained Interest Trusts (GRIT)

  • Grantor Retained Unitrusts (GRUT)

  • Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (IDGT)


HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE?

  • Although it sounds complicated, most estate plans can be drafted and executed with only a few visits to Palmer Kucera LLP.  Or if necessary we can come to you!


WHAT IS TRUST ADMINISTRATION?

Many people elect to have a revocable living trust in addition to a simple will.  One of the main benefits of having a trust is that administration of the decedent’s estate takes place outside of the court’s purview.  In other words, there is no probate.  The successor trustee has full authority to marshal and distribute assets of the estate as prescribed by the trust document.

But, as with executors in a probate, most trustees quickly find themselves in uncharted waters.  For most people, reading a trust is complicated enough—actually understanding its legal intricacies and implementing its terms is simply overwhelming.  Many administrative tasks must be accomplished before successfully distributing the funds of a trust to the beneficiaries.  The tasks may be further complicated by the relationship the trustee may have with the beneficiaries, often family members who are still distraught and grieving over the death of the settlor of the trust.  That’s why most trustees hire an attorney to help them through the process.  An attorney can help minimize the emotional aspects of trust administration while focusing on the business and legal issues that confront the trustee.

The attorneys at Palmer Kucera LLP are experienced in helping trustees negotiate the unfamiliar landscape of trust administration.We can help a trustee avoid legal missteps and errors that could be costly to the trust estate and that could result in personal liability of the trustee.Remember, as with an executor, a trustee has a fiduciary role. We can ensure that every trustee fulfills that role in a manner that comports with not only the law but with the wishes of the deceased settlor as prescribed in the trust.

WHAT IS PROBATE ADMINISTRATION?

Regardless of the complexity of the probate, most executors and administrators find it too overwhelming and time-consuming to handle alone. Oftentimes, the executor is a loved one who is likely dealing with the emotional aftermath of the decedent’s death, which can make it difficult to manage the legal and financial issues associated with probate. For this reason, he or she usually enlists the aid of an attorney.

At Palmer Kucera LLP, we work with the probate court to administer the estate according to the decedent's wishes so that the executor and decedent's beneficiaries do not bear the burden alone. This includes filing all necessary petitions and documents, making appearances at hearings, publishing notice of the administration, processing creditor claims, and countless other tasks that fall within the purview of the executor. Probate is a complicated and time-sensitive process, but Palmer Kucera LLP is there to take the reins and relieve the executor of this added burden.