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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Estate Planning Questions Answered

What documents should I include in my estate plan?

As an estate planning attorney, I recommend that my clients hold a durable power of attorney and an advance healthcare directive in order to designate a specific person or persons to manage your financial or health-related affairs if you become incapacitated. For a comprehensive list of documents to include in your estate plan, call me to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss the specific needs of for your estate.

What Is Probate?

When you die, probate is the legal process by which your debts are paid and your assets are distributed. Typically, the probate process is conducted in the Superior Court of the county in which the deceased formerly lived.

How Long Will Probate Take?

The length of time needed to complete the probate process varies. In some cases, matters can be wrapped up in as little as eight months. In other cases, the process could take several years to complete. I can better assess the amount of time it would take to resolve your probate matter after meeting with you in person to discuss the details of your case.

I’ve been named the executor of a will. Can you assist me with the probate process?

Yes. While most people can be named an executor of a will or estate, few have the knowledge or experience to approach this process with confidence. While many estates are managed, distributed and resolved without incident, there is always the risk of complication and disputes in probate court. With the counsel of a skilled San Mateo probate attorney by their side, an executor can not only navigate their responsibilities, but also make sure that every part of the process is in accordance with California probate law.

Who Should Have a Trust?

If you own titled assets and want your loved ones to avoid court interference at your death or incapacitation, you should seek a knowledgeable attorney to help you develop a living trust.

Once my living trust is established, can it be amended?

Many shy away from the idea of establishing a living trust because of its perceived finality: Believing that in the event that major circumstances in their lives change, the trust is already set in stone. This is not the case however and in California it is very common to set up what is known as a revocable trust. These trusts can be established and then later amended by the trustor with appropriate paperwork. To learn more about this kind of trust or to make a change to an existing revocable trust – contact my firm today.

How much will it cost me to hire an attorney?

Estate planning cases vary, as do the attorney fees needed to complete them. The Law Office of Mark Gullotta offers free, initial consultations to first-time clients of the firm, during which time we can sit down and discuss the details of your case and determine the cost of legal representation. I am a family man with three children and I know that the added expense of a lawyer can make an already difficult situation seem much harder. I am not here to add stress to your life nor do I want you to feel financially burdened by lawyer’s fees. This is why I do not hesitate to offer free initial consultations and affordable representation to my clients.

I’m not located in San Mateo County. Can you still help me with my estate planning case?

Yes! San Mateo County is where the majority of my clients are based, but by no means is my practice limited to this area. Additionally, I serve San Bruno and the surrounding communities in the area. If you have an estate planning issue that requires the help of an attorney, I encourage you to contact my office. During a free consultation, we can discuss your case, your location and how I may be able to help.