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Sophisticated Multigenerational Estate Planning Assistance in the Bay Area
What will happen to your estate if you pass away or become incapacitated? How will handle the exorbitant expenses associated with your or a loved one’s long-term care? How will you sustainably provide for your family member with special needs once you are no longer around to provide for them?
For over thirty-five years, our attorneys at Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP have helped thousands of clients answer these difficult questions through proactive and comprehensive estate planning. Our team is made up of experienced wealth preservationists, published authors, talented litigators, and nationally recognized pioneers of elder law and special needs planning. We are committed to providing you with the high-quality services you need to protect your legacy, and our goal is to deliver the peace of mind you deserve.
Start exploring estate planning solutions today. Call (650) 683-9200 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation with our team.
- Estate Planning
- Estate & Gift Tax Planning
- Trust Administration & Probate
- Family Protection Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Prop 19
- Long-Term Care Planning
- Asset Protection
- Revocable Living Trusts Wills
- Advance Health Care Directives
- Medi-Cal/Medicaid Planning
- Medi-Cal Asset Preservation
- Litigation & Dispute Resolution
- Trust & Will Contests
- Conservatorships Guardianships
Our Service Areas
Estate planning can be a daunting task, especially if you are not sure where to start. Our legal professionals are prepared to answer all of your frequently asked questions and can directly address any concerns you may have. We will work directly with you to identify the tools and strategies best suited to achieving your goals.
Many estate planning solutions must be proactively implemented, so do not wait to seek legal guidance. At Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP, we are invested in your family’s future and are prepared to serve as your lawyer for life.
Our attorneys can assist you with:
- Advance Health Care Directives and Durable Powers of Attorney. A crucial part of estate planning involves planning for incapacity. By formalizing Advance Health Care Directives and authorizing a Durable Power of Attorney, you authorize trusted agents to act on your behalf if you become unable to communicate. Our team can help you prepare these documents and ensure any specific health care instructions reflect your wishes. Do not rely on “check the box” forms – we make sure your documents provide the tools you and your loved ones will need.
- Asset Protection. We can be your “Legal Architects” to create a comprehensive asset protection plan for multiple generations. You will need to take preventive steps to shield your assets from litigants and creditors. It is also wise to implement safeguards that protect your children’s inheritances from predatory threats and divorce. Achieving asset protection requires careful planning that should only be handled by professionals. We can assist you with establishing Family Partnerships, LLCs, Family Protection Trusts, and other powerful tools.
- Conservatorships and Guardianships. Ideally, proactive planning will preclude the need for seeking a conservatorship or guardianship. If an adult becomes unable to care for themselves, a court will need to appoint a conservator to make financial and medical decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf. Similarly, if a child is left without suitable parents, the court will need to authorize a guardian to care for them. We can help you efficiently navigate these complex affairs.
- Estate and Gift Tax Planning. If your estate’s total value exceeds $12.06 million, it may be subject to punishing federal estate and gift taxes. We can reduce or even eliminate estate tax exposure, saving your family millions of dollars. This excessive tax limits what you can leave to your beneficiaries and should be avoided if at all possible. Family Limited Partnerships, irrevocable trusts, and strategic lifetime gifts can all be used to reduce or eliminate tax liability. Our team can assess your exposure and can develop a plan with multiple tools to protect your assets help you explore all available options.
- Family Protection Trusts (FPTs). An FPT is conceptually similar to a dynasty trust in that it is designed to benefit future generations, including your children and children. Family Protection Trust works to protect inherited assets from divorce, litigation, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) and estate taxes. These collective benefits can potentially save your beneficiaries millions of dollars.
- Litigation and Dispute Resolution. Our experienced team of litigators can aggressively represent you in federal or state court, arbitration, or administrative proceedings. We have successfully handled cases involving elder abuse, contested conservatorships, breaches of fiduciary duty, losses of trust and estate value, will and trust contests, real estate disputes, insurance disputes, and business disputes.
- Long-Term Care Planning. Long-term care is notoriously expensive, especially if you require the services of a skilled nursing facility. If you are not careful, these expenses can quickly exhaust your life savings and leave you with nothing to give to your loved ones. Our firm has decades of experience in this area and has even published a book on the subject. We can assist you with Medi-Cal planning, Medicaid planning, and long-term care insurance.
Certified Specialists in Estate Planning & Elder Law
Co-Founder of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys
Pioneers in Elder Law & Estate Planning
Hundreds of Millions of Clients' Dollars in Taxes Saved
Thousands of Families in the Community Served
Over 35 Years of Serving the Bay Area
- Medi-Cal Asset Preservation. You must meet restrictive income and asset limits to qualify for Medi-Cal. However, you do not necessarily need to part with your hard-earned assets by “spending down” in order to become eligible. We can work with you to implement numerous types of tools, including irrevocable trusts, that protect your assets and facilitate benefit eligibility.
- Medi-Cal (Medicaid) Planning. Our attorneys have decades of experience successfully helping Californians qualify for Medi-Cal benefits. We can leverage strategic transfers and retitling of assets to avoid spend downs and secure the financial resources you need to afford long-term care.
- Proposition 19. This recent legislative change in California significantly impacts property taxes and may require an adjustment to your existing estate plan. Homeowners that are at least 55 years old and/or disabled can now more easily move to a pricier property without forfeiting tax advantages. However, children who inherit real estate from their parents will now have to pay higher property taxes if they do not use the inherited property as a primary residence. Prop 13 protections are lost, without proper planning. Our team can evaluate how Proposition 19 may affect your plan and recommend any necessary changes, potentially saving your family hundreds of thousands of dollars in future property tax increases.
- Revocable Living Trusts and Wills. We emphatically urge our clients to consider incorporating a revocable living trust into their estate plan. This tool allows you to name beneficiaries to your assets while maintaining privacy and avoiding the bulk of probate. A last will and testament is typically a less efficient way to distribute assets, but the document also allows you to name a personal representative to oversee your estate and a guardian for your minor children.
- Special Needs Planning. If you have a loved one with special needs, you may understandably worry about their financial security once you are gone. Though public benefits offer some resources, they are often not enough to live on. By creating and funding a special needs trust, you can safely provide for your disabled family member without endangering their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medi-Cal. We are trailblazers in this area and can offer knowledgeable assistance. We’ve authored a book on this subject, available on Amazon.
- Trust Administration and Probate. When someone passes away, their assets must be distributed and their estate must be closed, or “settled.” If someone passes away without a trust, their estate will go through court-supervised probate, and the last will and testament guides asset distribution. If a living trust is in place, the trustee will distribute assets in accordance with the deceased’s wishes. All valid debts must be paid as part of any estate settlement process. Our team can assist personal representatives and trustees with the probate and trust administration processes, respectively.
- Trust and Will Contests. If you have reason to believe a loved one’s will or trust is illegitimate or otherwise not enforceable as a result of undue influence or some other factor, you have the right as an interested party to contest the will or trust. Conversely, you may need to defend against will or trust contests if you are serving as the deceased’s personal representative or trustee. We are extensively familiar with how to advance and defend against these challenges and can assist you throughout the adjudication process.
Learn more about how our services can work to protect your legacy by contacting us online or calling (650) 683-9200.
Your letter to the Medi-Cal office did the trick. They are no longer threatening to put a lien on my house. I cannot thank you enough for helping me protect my home.- D.S.
I now understand why the trust will save our family a fortune in tax!- M.M.G.
When my husband passed away, my attorney at Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP explained all the steps that have to be taken, saw to it that all steps were taken, and literally held my hand through the process.- J.T.
I want to express my gratitude for your professionalism and your invaluable assistance during our recent meeting on behalf of my parents.- J.J.
I heard of the Special Needs Trust before, but I never understood it until you so patiently and clearly explained it to me. We now have one in place for our son.- A.M.
If I have a trust, why do I need to sign a will?
One of the main reasons you signed your living trust is to be sure that your estate avoids probate. Probate, as you know, is the court-supervised process by which an estate is managed and ultimately ...
What is a "Power of Attorney"?
A Power of Attorney is a document in which you give another person, the “attorney in fact,” the legal authority to act on your behalf. This authority can be limited to a particular asset, a particular ...
When is it time to review my trust?
You should also review your living trust at least every couple of years. The law changes, your circumstances change, and other planning needs may emerge. If you do not already have a living trust in ...
What are the benefits of a living trust?
A Living Trust is a planning technique that offers benefits to virtually all Californians. It is particularly appropriate for individuals who are older or who have substantial assets. If you own a ...