Estate Planning Attorneys in Orange County

Zinser | Hayes provides custom estate planning services. Through first-hand experiences over the years, we understand what a lack of planning  can do to harm a family’s financial health.

The inspiration for Kelly’s estate planning practice comes from her experiences raising her own two children and which dramatically changed her perspective on the subject. Most estate planning focuses primarily on a family’s financial issues – such as avoiding probate and reducing taxes – both valid concerns but perhaps not the most important thing to a parent. “As a parent, I want to be the one who decides who will care and nurture my children if my husband and I are no longer around. Having my estate plan completed gives me that all important peace of mind,” says Kelly. “It’s just common sense to have your estate plan done sooner, rather than later, to protect your family and yourself.”

Because of Kelly’s insolvency practice, real estate experience and transactional law, Kelly is able to help her clients legitimately protect assets.

Take care of your family and yourself, and get your estate plan done today.

Estate Planning FAQ’s

Do I need an estate plan?

Almost everyone needs some sort of estate planning. Whether you just need a will or a complicated trust – we can help. If you have kids, you must have at least a will so that you decide who will take care of your children in case both parents are no longer around. Read more about this in “why do families with children need a will?” If you own a home, you need a trust so you avoid the probate court.

Why do all families with children need a will?

If you have children under the age of 18 or still in college, you need a will to appoint guardians of your children. This is extremely important because if you do not, the court will decide who will raise your children. The court’s choice may not be your choice for raising your kids. The last thing you want your children and family to have to deal with after the loss of both parents would be a messy court battle over who will take care of your children.

For example, your brother and sister-in-law appear to be the perfect family on paper. He is a respected doctor and she is a stay at home mom. They have two perfect kids – the teenage boy is the star quarterback and the middle school daughter is a straight A student. Unfortunately, you know that your sister-in-law spends all of her time at their tennis club with the tennis pro, your brother is a work-a-holic and is rarely home, the teenage boy has been caught with drugs a number of times and the daughter has an eating disorder. On top of all that, you and your brother are not close and your kids are not close with their aunt and uncle or cousins. You only see them once a year at Thanksgiving. Is this who you would want to raise your children? The court may appoint your brother and sister-in-law as guardians because they are your closest relatives, your spouse does not have any siblings and they are perfect . . . on paper.

Parents, please take time to consider the best guardians for your children – you owe it to your kids and to your own peace of mind.

Remember just because you have a will, your estate will still need to go through probate. If you have a house, investments, your own business or another unique situation, you should consider a living trust.

What is a health care directive?

Do you remember Terri Schiavo? A health care directive allows you to leave instructions on how much care you would or would not like to receive if you are incapacitated. You also determine who can make these important medical decisions for you.

How much does it cost to create an estate plan?

It depends on how complicated your plan is. Call us today and we can give you an idea of the cost for your particular situation.

If you have a home or investments, a trust will be cheaper and easier than going through probate. Probate costs in California generally run between 4% and 5% of the estate. So, a $500,000 estate will cost between $20,000 to $25,000!

What is probate?

Probate is a process where the court distributes your assets after your death and will appoint legal guardians for your children if you have not already done so. This means that a judge makes all of the decisions about your estate and children after your death. Probate is long, public and expensive. Probate costs in California generally run between 4% and 5% of the estate. So, a $500,000 estate will cost between $20,000 to $25,000! With proper planning, you can avoid probate. By the way, many lawyers love probate because the fees are so high. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish – talk to a trusted lawyer today about how you can avoid probate.