Law Office of Amber Rodriguez

Practice Areas

 

Trust and Estate Litigation

Trust and Estate Litigation is an area of law many attorneys "dabble" in, but few actually regularly practice. We have been practicing in the area of Trust and Estate Litigation for more than ten years. We use our experience in this unique area of practice to your advantage. In addition, our hands-on knowledge of Trust and Estate Administration and Estate Planning gives us a distinct insight into the issues our clients face when litigating a trust or estate matter.

Many clients, and even many attorneys, fail to recognize that "litigation" in trust and estate matters begins long before the first paper is filed with the court. Many cases can be successfully settled or determined simply by the actions taken during the beginning stages of a probate, trust or estate administration, conservatorship or even the planning stages of an estate. Early involvement is key to maximizing the best possible results. Contact us today to discuss your particular matter in more detail.

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Trust and Estate Administration

Trust and Estate Administration most often involves the process and procedures that need to be followed after the death of a loved one. However, a Trust or Estate Administration can also become necessary when someone begins acting as a trustee or agent for another person during that person's lifetime. Either way, there are specific steps that may need to be taken to assure the correct and timely administration of a trust or estate.

While we most often represent the person acting as a trustee or an agent, we also commonly represent beneficiaries. If you are a beneficiary, it can be very helpful to have someone watching over the process on your behalf. We find that representing beneficiaries allows those individuals to rest assured that the administration is proceeding properly and in their best interest.

If you are acting as a trustee, agent or personal representative for another person, a trust, or an estate, you should seek legal counsel to be certain you are meeting all of the burdens and requirements placed on you under California law. You are held to one of the highest standards of care that exists. If you fail to meet those requirements, you can be held personally responsible for any loss suffered by the trust, estate or beneficiaries.

Whether you are a beneficiary or a fiduciary, a little legal advice can go along way. We welcome the opportunity to further discuss with you the process, procedures and requirements of any Trust or Estate Administration. Please contact us if you would like more information.

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Estate Planning

Do you need an estate plan? Even with the recent changes in the federal estate tax laws, almost everyone needs a plan. Your plan should be tailored to meet your individual needs. Not everyone needs a trust, but everyone should have a basic Will, an Advance Health Care Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters.

Many people, including attorneys, often overlook the most important part of proper estate planning. What is the most important part? Well, while it is helpful for your heirs to have some guidance on what your last wishes are, the more important issue is planning for your care during your lifetime. A properly executed trust, Advance Health Care Directive and Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters can allow you to decide who should make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. This is something everyone can - and should - plan and address while they are still able to do so.

Whether your estate is simple or complicated, large or small, you need a plan that addresses your individual needs. If you are ready to take the first step, contact us for an estate planning appointment.

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Probate

Many people misunderstand what a "probate" is and how the process works. A probate is simply a court proceeding that is used to pay debts and transfer assets following someone's death. If properly handled, it does not have to be an arduous process.

A probate can be avoided, in most cases, with proper planning. However, if you or your family find yourself in a situation where you believe a probate may be necessary, you should seek legal advice. An attorney's fees and costs are generally paid by the estate. In addition, the attorney's fees will most likely be decided based upon statutory guidelines, which means the fees and costs will vary little from attorney to attorney. Thus, you have an opportunity to work with someone who makes you feel comfortable and at ease during this difficult time in your life without additional cost to you or the estate.

We enjoy offering our clients quality service with a personal touch and we have successfully concluded numerous probate matters. Please contact us today to discuss your matter further and what we may be able to do to assist you during this difficult time.

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Conservatorships

A conservatorship is a court proceeding during which the court essentially assumes a guardian-like role over an individual who can no longer make decisions for themselves. This person is referred to as a "conservatee." During this process, someone will be appointed to make decisions on behalf of the conservatee. That person is referred to as a "conservator."

A conservatorship can be costly and time consuming. In most cases, a conservatorship can be avoided completely with proper, advance planning. Once you have experienced the conservatorship process with a family member, you will undoubtedly have a new appreciation for proper estate planning.

In those situations where a conservatorship becomes unavoidable, it is critical to have an experienced attorney help you through the often complicated and overwhelming process. We will share our expertise with you to help make this difficult experience easier on you and your family. Our experience includes assisting various family members in contested proceedings.

If your family is facing a conservatorship, contact us for advice and guidance. We are here to help.

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