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Trusts, Estates & Wills
Client Service First

Protecting your estate should be very important. When you pass away, what will happen to all the money you have worked so hard for?

The Law Office of E. L. Doheny, V, apc can help you decide the best way to transfer your estate before and after death. This will guarantee that the people who you want to get your money, will inherit as much as possible, in the exact way you want.

The Will as a Simple Plan

All estate plans should provide a will. If your estate is small, you may only need a simple will. If your estate is larger, and you own real estate, you probably need to have your estate held in trust and have a pour-over will as a catchall. This can accomplish many different goals, such as avoiding probate and probate administration fees, providing confidentiality, privacy, proper estate tax planning, and directing the distribution of your property upon your death. If you die with assets outside of the trust, the pour-over will directs the assets to pour into the trust and be distributed in accordance with the trust’s directions.

In a California estate, if all the personal estate passed by the will has a gross value of less than $150,000, then a small estate affidavit can be used to transfer that property—but not real property—outside of probate.


There are two basic types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable trust can be altered during the life of the grantor (the person who creates the trust). The assets held in a revocable trust at the decedent’s death are subject to the estate tax. Conversely, an irrevocable trust generally cannot be altered after you create it. The assets held in an irrevocable trust at the decedent’s death are not generally subject to the estate tax.

For larger estates, our firm has experience in using valuation discounts and other tax-advantaged gifting strategies allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. We use specialized trusts and limited liability entities to accomplish this goal.

Executors and administrators

While our firm can help you develop an estate plan, we also assist executors and administrators in the probate process after a person dies. Probate is the judicial proceeding required to transfer title to the deceased’s heirs or beneficiaries under a will. If you are named as the executor by the terms of the will or would like to become the administrator of the estate of a family member who did not have a will, our firm can help you to become appointed by the probate court. We can also assist you in all subsequent probate court matters and procedures until the closing of the estate.

Administration of Estates, Trusts, and Guardianships 

The Law Office of E. L. Doheny, V, apc advises fiduciaries charged with the administration of estates and trusts. The estates we administer include decedents' estates as well as guardianship estates for minors and disabled adults. With respect to decedents' estates, we guide fiduciaries through the probate process, appearing in court as required, assisting them in the transfer of assets, and resolution of claims, as well as the implementation of the decedent's estate plan. We ordinarily prepare required state and federal estate and inheritance tax returns and work in partnership with the estate's accountants to ensure that fiduciary income tax matters are handled in the most advantageous manner. We also design and implement post-mortem planning techniques that are tailored to a client's circumstances and that are aimed at the minimization and deferral of future estate taxes and the estate's income tax liabilities.

Estate Planning 

The Law Office of E. L. Doheny, V apc offers a broad scope of estate planning services, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and nursing home planning. However, there is more to estate planning than the aforementioned services. We ensure that each client’s long-range plans are addressed with their unique needs in mind, whether the needs are simple or highly complex.

Our firm has proven experience in effectively and legally reducing exposure to gift, estate, and inheritance taxes. We provide advice on estate planning techniques that can be used not only upon death but during your lifetime to enable wealth to pass to your intended beneficiaries in the most tax efficient manner possible.

Advanced Estate Planning

If you have done well financially, either through earnings, inheritance or lottery winnings, you might be a candidate for advanced estate planning.  Advanced estate planning techniques are typically used to legally avoid or lessen estate taxes, achieve  asset protection,  and benefit multiple generations of your descendants.  Advanced estate planning may also involve benefitting your favorite charities in ways that also benefit you. 
Charitable Giving Planning

Perhaps you have a desire to make charitable gifts either before or after death.  Clients often tell us that they don't know how to make advantageous charitable gifts, aside from periodically writing out a check, which may not always be affordable during your life.  You may be hesitant to make charitable gifts during your life because of your unknown financial future.  There are practical ways to address your concerns and still provide for your favorite charities.  Advanced estate planning tools and techniques can be used to make charitable gifts that make sense.

Our attorneys are experienced in same-sex estate planning.

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