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​Copyright 2012: Vintage Law | Napa Lawyer | All rights reserved.
P.O. Box 544, Napa, CA, 94559;  707-666-2267 | sara@vintagelawyer.com

Napa Attorney and Professional Fiduciary Definitions

Conservatorship - If you are found to be incompetent for any reason and you do not have a Living Trust, a court proceeding must be initiated to have someone appointed to manage your assets until such time as you are able to manage them again yourself. This legal proceeding can be very costly and time consuming.

Elder Abuse - It is a sad state of affairs that in today's world, elderly people are quite often the target of not only physical abuse but also financial abuse by family members, friends and sometimes even complete strangers. California is one of the pioneers of creating specific laws designed to punish those people who prey on our elderly citizens. I am proud to say that I was one of the first lawyers to pursue litigation against an individual under California's elder abuse statute and we successfully won that case.  My Napa law firm is available to assist you with any elder abuse concerns you or a loved one may be experiencing.

Private Professional Fiduciary - Who would you trust to take care of your finances if you were unable to do it for yourself? Who would you want to administer your assets after your death for the benefit of your children or other beneficiaries? What if there is a disagreement among beneficiaries and none of them can serve as your fiduciary without being biased or perhaps they simply do not have the time or desire to provide fiduciary services for you? 

Anyone who is an Executor, Trustee, Conservator or Guardian must perform their fiduciary services in an unbiased fashion, ensuring that your wishes are carried out. Needless to say, the decision to name a fiduciary is critical and must be given serious consideration as whomever you appoint must be trustworthy, must have time to devote to managing the assets and must have expertise and knowledge of his/her duties. Many people do not have someone close to them to fill this role or they are worried that appointing a family member as this may end up causing a terrible family dispute among heirs. The best alternative is to name a professional fiduciary such as me to manage your assets as I have almost 25 years experience in this area of law.
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(707) 666-2267 
PO Box 544
Napa, CA 94559
Estate Planning – As a California estate lawyer and Napa attorney, I will help with the preparation of various documents needed to ensure that your wishes are carried out either during incompetency or at the time of your death. These documents may include a Last Will and Testament, Living or Irrevocable Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney and other health care related documents. 

Last Will and Testament - This is a document that sets forth your wishes for administration of your estate and final distribution of your assets. This document may either stand by itself or be used in conjunction with a living trust (pourover Will). The administration of a stand alone Will generally requires Court supervision which is a public process that generally requires assistance from a Napa County lawyer.

Living or Irrevocable Trusts - This is a document that sets forth your wishes for administration of your estate and final distribution of your assets. A living trust works to delay distributions to younger beneficiaries, potentially save estate taxes (if that is an issue) and generally avoids court involvement so that it is a private administration. Additionally, should you become unable to manage your own assets for any reason during your lifetime, a living trust will help with the management of your assets and again avoid court involvement through a Conservatorship. Irrevocable Trusts are primarily used to save taxes for larger estates.

Durable Powers of Attorney (or Advance Health Care Directive) - These documents name a person to make health care or financial decisions for you if you are unable to make your own decisions and also sets forth your health care wishes. 

Probate - When a person dies without having any estate planning documents or dies with only a Last Will and Testament, a public "probate" generally must be opened with the Court, which then supervises the administration of your estate, decides who will receive the estate and eventually orders the distribution of the estate to your heirs.  Probates are generally very costly, public (i.e. everyone will have access to your private financial information and take substantially more time than a private Trust administration.