California Probate Laws
Is probate necessary?
What is probate administration?
Miscellaneous Probate Question/Answer
Why a Living Trust?
Advance Health Care Directives
Power of Attorneys
Contact Chris:Phone: 310-595-5218
|Our firm handles legal matters in the following practice areas: Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills and Probate Administration.
In addition to our offices in Santa Monica, we have offices in the following locations:
We feel that Estate Planning should be stream-lined, accessible, and reasonable. Typically, our clients have very busy schedules with work and family commitments. All of our Clients work directly with Chris Arvin, Esq. and not a “legal assistant/secretary” (which is how many firms address what they refer to as “Client intake”). We encourage clients to call or meet Mr. Arvin in the evening or weekends if that is more convenient with their schedules. To that end, our process enables Clients to address their estate planning on their time schedules so that their time is most efficient utilized. Most of our Clients typically say how many years they put-off their estate planning because they thought this matter, although very important, would consume more time than they had available, or describe how friends or family had a difficult time consuming experience – and they were very pleased that they had such a good, non-time-consuming experience, which thoroughly addressed their matters - that is what we strive for! (we are largely referral based, and we are very pleased to have received client referrals from many or most of our clients).
Unlike many law firms or practices which offer estate planning services along with a wide array of other broad legal services in unrelated areas (such as real estate, commercial, corporate, family law et al.), which in many circumstances results in unintended estate planning consequences since that is not their specialty, Mr. Arvin specializes exclusively in estate planning (including drafting of wills and trusts) and probate administration of estates, as he has since graduating NYU School of Law with a Masters in Taxation in 1984 (NYU Law School is by many considered the premier Graduate Law School Taxation Program Masters of Laws Degree in Taxation). It is always important to consider a lawyer's so-called area of expertise and legal background when considering who to hire for specialized legal services, such as estate planning, due to tax, trust and other important legal considerations.
It is quite surprising, but unfortunately commonplace, for individuals with savings, insurance, and/or real estate not to even have the most basic of estate planning tools - a Will, which results in his or her Estate being distributed by way of "intestate succession" (as determined by the State, and not the individual), and the need for a Conservator of the person if the individual becomes incapacitated. In fact, the Los Angeles Times recently reported that over 70% of individuals do not have any Will (or Living Trust).
Today Mr. Arvin recommends for most Clients the preparation, with the assistance of a qualified and specialized estate planning attorney, of both a Will and a Living Trust which may eliminate the need for any expensive probate administration (which likely will exist with or without a Will), and in many cases a Conservatorship (if the need should arise), and an Advance Health Care Directive. As part of our services, we also prepare necessary Deeds and assist in the proper funding of your Living Trust which is of equal importance. Our initial consultation to determine a new client's needs and preferences is always complimentary.
Our practice also consists of the Administration of numerous Trusts after the death of a Trustor (married or single). There are very important Tax matters that must be addressed timely after the death a Trustor (the individual who created the Trust). If the heirs do not address matters in a timely manner - important tax benefits may be lost (such as property tax – Prop 13 benefits), and legal obligations/liabilities may be incurred that would not have had matters been addressed timely. Often we have reviewed our Client’s parents’ trusts, which have not been properly administered, and our Clients have been thrilled that we have been able to reduce property taxes and address key obligations of which they have not been aware.
For those of you who have an Estate that needs to be administered and distributed through probate (as opposed to a Living Trust), our Firm has been practicing this area of law since the commencement of our practice. It is important to consider an attorney's background and experience in this area of law also since it is very intricate and specialized, and experience typically will negate common pitfalls encountered by those who only occasionally practice in this area.