The Law Office 
Gillian M. Stein
Estate Planning



Do not allow the state to dictate where your assets are being distributed after your death. Wills are an essential part of Estate Planning and  are often drafted in conjunction with Trusts, otherwise known as Pour-Over Wills.

Disadvantages of having a Will without a Trust may require going through Probate (a court procedure). This may result in:

  1. Increased fees and costs, including  estate taxes (depending on the size of the estate)
  2. The length of time it takes to do Probate
  3. Probate is a public process thereby reducing privacy

The pros and cons of Wills will be discussed on an individual basis and decisions will be made to meet each client’s specific needs.


Trusts overcome SOME of the problems caused by probate such as costs, length of time and the public nature of Wills. Trusts also allow flexibility in planning for estate taxes and often avoid going through a court appointment of a Conservator in the event that a Trustee does not having the necessary capacity to manage his or her affairs. Various forms of Trusts will be discussed. For a Trust to be effective it must be funded with the recording of Deeds for real property and transfer of assets into the Trust. There is no single solution and options will be discussed on an individual basis with clients.

Durable Powers of Attorney and Advanced Health Care Directives

An essential part of any estate plan includes Durable Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives.

Do not allow the courts to make your decisions for you and appoint your representative. This happens with Conservatorships. Make plans in advance. Durable Powers of Attorneys allow you to designate an agent or attorney-in-fact to make decisions for you in the event of your incapacity to manage your financial affairs.

An Advanced Health Care Directive allows you to appoint an agent to make decisions on your health and medical care decisions, should you be incapacitated. This allows you to designate someone you trust and who knows your wishes to help healthcare providers make informed decisions on your care, if and when, for any reason you are incapable of making them yourself.

Special Needs

Should a member of your family be receiving Public Benefits, it is essential that you become informed about Special Needs Trusts. A Special Needs Trust is essential to ensure that the individual does not lose benefits because of a poorly designed Estate Plan of parents or grandparents.

State Bar of California Pamphlets




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