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Common estate planning & probate questions

Counsel from a Sonoma County estate planning lawyer

A t Gullotta Law Group, we are dedicated in making the legal concepts of estate planning and probate more understandable to our clients. We will take you through the steps involved while maintaining a continuous level of communication and involvement with you. To those in need of creating a well-drafted estate plan, we offer a flat rate for our services.

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In a further attempt to assist the individual needs of our clients, we've decided to answer common questions about estate planning and probate. Take a look at answers to some FAQs on this page or click the links below to read further:

General Estate Planning FAQs

Are There California Estate Taxes?

Wills & Trusts


What happens when a person dies without a will?

When someone dies without a will in California, their estate goes through the probate process. Probate court is responsible for appointing a trusted individual to manage the affairs of the deceased and make sure that the estate gets properly distributed. The appointed individual follows the state intestacy laws that serve as a guideline when going through the distribution process.

Read more about What Happens When A Person Dies Without a Will here.

How can probate be avoided in California?

In order to save your loved ones the hassle of going through the probate process, you can create a living trust with an estate planning attorney. Once you create this trust document, you may elect a trustee to distribute the assets held within the trust once you pass away without having to go through probate. It is important to understand that you must individually transfer your valuable assets into the trust for them to be included. The property that is not transferred into this document is then distributed and handled through the probate process.

Read more about avoiding probate in California here.

Can a power of attorney include multiple agents?

Yes, you may elect more than one agent within your power of attorney. If you decide to appoint more than one agent, you must then figure out whether you want them acting alone or together. Having them act together may be helpful in which they can make sure that neither one is taking advantage of their power; however, it can be difficult when they do not agree with one another. It may also be beneficial to elect more than one agent in which one can serve as a backup if the other cannot fulfill their duties.

Read more about power of attorney here.

Who can serve as my agent within a power of attorney?

It is important to select a trusted individual to act on your behalf. If you become incapacitated, they are in charge of making important decisions for you. You can select your spouse, child, family member, loved one or someone close to you as your agent. It is important, however, to understand who you cannot select as your agent. This includes an employee of a community / residential care facility, a health care institution employee, or your physician.

Read more about who can serve as my agent within power of attorney here.

Do I need an estate plan?

No matter how big or small your estate may be, it is always important to have an effective estate plan set up. This way, you are able to prepare for the future and keep your loved ones and property well-protected. If you were to become incapacitated or could not make important decisions for yourself, an estate plan makes sure that you and your estate stay under proper care. An estate planning attorney can reflect your wishes and requests into a binding and personalized estate plan for your needs.

Read more about why you need an estate plan here.

If you are in need of legal counsel for your estate planning and probate needs in Sonoma County and Santa Rosa, Gullotta Law Group is here for you. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the knowledge and legal tools needed for their individual case.

Our goal is to keep our clients involved throughout the legal process and make sure that we reflect their needs with the representation provided to them. Whether you want to get started with a qualified attorney or you have questions in the matter, our firm can assist you.

Contact Gullotta Law Group to discuss your legal needs immediately!

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