Estate planning is a very personal endeavor. Without an estate plan, someone else makes the decisions for you after you are gone. At Citron & Deutsch, we have a comprehensive understanding of estate planning law and can assist you in developing a plan that best accommodates your family’s future needs. Our services include drafting wills and trusts, buy/sell agreements, as well as advantageous tax planning, asset protection planning, and the formation of Family Limited Liability Partnerships.

Our estate plan includes but is not limited to: a Trust, a certification of trust, pour over will, advanced health care directive, HIPPA release, a personal property memorandum and a Springing Power of Attorney. Here at Citron & Deutsch, we customized your estate plan to your needs and wants. We understand that no two estate plans are the same and that everyone’s needs are different. Which is why we like to ensure that our clients’ needs are heard and we personally take our time to show them the best options for their estate plan. During the final signing, we take our time to go over the entire plan with you and ensure that all documents are as you wish.

We have clients who desire to protect their separate property before a marriage, or their gifts from parents later in life. One way to do this is with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. These agreements are difficult to do, for all of the obvious reasons.

The benefit is that the Separate Property trust assets are not subject to division in the event of a dissolution of the marriage. The income and value from the assets may be used to determine the ability to pay spousal and child support, but the assets continue to be separate property. In this trust, you can still fulfill your bequests upon passing. Usually the desire is to give the assets to your surviving spouse and/or your children, but it could also be to share certain Separate Property Assets with others.

If you are married, at some point before passing away, it is advisable to place all of your accumulated assets into the Community Trust in order to obtain a full step up in basis on the entire value of the property upon the passing of the first spouse.

01. Wills & Trusts

A will is a written instrument by which a person disposes of property at death. A will is always subject to change during the person’s lifetime. It conveys no present interest in property until the person’s death. In California there are three types of wills: (a) a “holographic” or handwritten will; (b) a statutory will; and (c) a formal will, prepared by an attorney.

In general, trusts permit the owner of property to provide for the management and disposition of property. Basically, there are three types of trusts: (a) the revocable living trust; (b) the irrevocable trust and (c) the testamentary trust.

The Revocable Living Trust. Generally, in a revocable living trust, an owner (“grantor”) transfers property to himself as trustee to be managed for his own benefit (beneficiary). A revocable living trust (also called an inter vivos trust) may be canceled or changed during its existence. The trust agreement provides that the trustee is to pay the grantor all of the income from the trust during his lifetime, together with such amounts of principal as desired at any time. After the grantor’s death,the trust assets automatically pass to the grantor’s heirs. The grantor may change the assets in the trust, the successor trustee, or the terms and beneficiaries of the trust at any time. Upon the death of the grantor, the trust becomes irrevocable.

02. Buy/Sell Agreements

Every small business should have a buy sell agreement. Most do not. So often the issues appear to be quite complex and as a result no agreement is put in place. And, just like in a marriage, many new business owners do not want to discuss or think about one of the principals leaving the business. And, it is important to resolve these issues now before the need arises, while on good terms.

The buy sell agreement does not have to cover every situation that might arise, but rather can address those most important to the continuation of the business. In order to simplify the process we break it down into five parts:

1. Death

2. Disability

3. Withdrawal

4. Retirement

5. Termination

ADDITIONAL SERVICES include: Tax Planning, Family Limited Liability Partnership, Asset Protection