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Estate Planning: Estates| Wills | Trusts | Probate

“I want to make sure my desires are followed involving my medical decisions.”

“I want to make sure I control what happens to my things when I am gone.”

“I want to make sure my family is taken care of when I am gone.”

estates planning

Words from the Founder:

I have been involved in a situation where I know my loved one’s wishes were not followed because his will “magically” disappeared. But I could do nothing because it was not my right to contest the situation.

However, many family members will not stay quiet. 

I have read about cases where the siblings were supposedly very close and never fought. Still, they do not even talk anymore because of the chaos of not having a Will or, worse yet, having a Will that is not followed or “probated” properly.

Save your family from the risk of being torn apart when you are gone and from having resentment for one another.

Please take the necessary steps to plan for what will happen when you die. It happens to all of us. 

You need proper estate planning to ensure your wishes are followed about your health, death, and things.

Nobody wants to think about it, but proper estate planning helps ensure our families are cared for long after we are gone.

Many firms can do estate planning, but how many have the personal experience of having a loved one’s wishes ignored due to not having a properly completed will? I do, and these experiences will be the fuel that drives this firm while we ensure your wishes are followed, and your family’s future is secured.

I assure you that you will be given the service I would give my mother in this firm, and your wishes and your Honor will be upheld.

We Stand Ready To Serve.

-JW Zepeda

jw zepeda law firm about

Our Founder took a class in law school that few do, covering Estate Planning needs. He did this to prepare this firm to serve you using the latest proven methods.

the law is a sword
Knowledge is our Sword.

Never in modern history have we seen how fast even healthy loved ones can lose their lives. 

Covid has killed more Americans in one year than World War 1, World War 2, and the Vietnam War combined.

Most that have been lost thought they were too healthy to die.

survival claims honor the dead

Before Covid, road crashes were the leading cause of death for Americans aged 1 to 54. 

Do you drive, or are you ever around moving cars?

Some studies have shown that as many as 250,000 Americans die yearly due to medical errors. 

Do you ever go to a medical facility for service?

Some studies have shown that as many as 825,000 Americans die each year from cancer and diabetes. 

Do you have cancer or diabetes in your family?

The point here is that death will be a part of all our lives, and we never know when it may strike.

The difference between some and most is that some of us will be prepared when death comes, and most will not. 

Preparing for your death differs from inviting death to come now or quickly.

Being prepared for your death does, however, mean your wishes will be followed when you can no longer communicate.

Leaving a will helps ensure that those you leave behind stay close and cared for, not bickering over your things.

we got you covered

Many companies and forms are floating around the internet, allowing you to make a basic estate plan. Some lawyers may charge a lot less and make you a basic estate plan. Some other folks who are not lawyers will claim to be able to make you an estate plan. 

But just like most legal documents, estate planning documents can be challenged by others. 

Suppose the challenge is successful because your estate planning was not done correctly. In that case, all or part of your documents will be canceled. 

Your wishes will not be followed.

We spend a lifetime gathering our assets, so avoid risking them with just any company or person to save money.

Risking your estate planning to the lowest bidder or some generic format by some company may cost you control of all your money, assets, and medical decisions.

Is that worth saving some money you cannot even take with you?

We all need estate planning. Are you responsible enough to get it done correctly?

What is estate planning?

Estate: 

The estate is just a fancy way of saying everything you own. Your estate consists of the things you can touch and those you cannot (such as investments) that you own.

An estate plan allows you to transfer your ownership to those you choose in life or death. Proper estate planning can provide you with methods of transfer that can be instantaneous upon your death and avoid your creditors trying to collect from the loved ones you leave with your property. 

An estate plan also sets forth decisions involving your medical wishes and tells others what should happen if you cannot decide for yourself.

A basic estate plan can have many sub-parts, but some of the most common include the following:

Different Power of Attorney Contracts:

Power of Attorney:

Allows a person to make specific decisions on your behalf as outlined in the Power of attorney document.

Durable Power of Attorney:

If you cannot make those decisions for yourself, choose a person to make financial decisions on your behalf.

Medical Power of Attorney:

Chooses a person to make decisions involving your medical health on your behalf or authorize this person to ensure your outlined medical desires are followed if you cannot make that decision yourself. 

Advance Directives:

This action plan sets forth a person to make medical decisions for you if you cannot. And it tells medical staff and others what to do when certain medical conditions arise and you cannot communicate your desires. 

For Example, Your advance directive may say, never keep on life support or never take me off life support.

A Will:

A will is a legal document sharing your orders about what you want to be done with your stuff upon your death.

All wills are not the same. An improper will is not valid and is not enforceable. 

If a will is found invalid, your things will pass according to the state’s laws, and your orders will not matter.

This could mean that some people you did not want to have anything of yours may be the same people that end up with all or most of it. 

In some rare instances, the state may end up with everything you own.

Each will, even if done appropriately, can be different.

Many companies and forms are floating around the internet to allow you to make a basic will; some lawyers will make you a basic will. 

However, a basic will may only ensure that some of your assets are protected and given as you ordered.

If a will is made with the least effort, it will be defeated by the least effort.

Your will can be challenged as “disputed,” and if the dispute is successful, your whole will or some parts of it may not be legally enforceable.

A competent attorney can take many extra steps and strategies to ensure your will has the best chance of surviving any challenge or dispute.

We spend a lifetime gathering all the things we own. And saving money by doing your estate planning things the cheap, easy way could mean whatever your desires are for your items will not matter—All Your Things Could Be Given Away Using The Rules Of The State. 

You get what you pay for, and the lesser the price, the lesser the quality. 

Do not risk your life’s work with the lowest bidder. 

Trust your will to a firm that has studied how to make wills enforceable. Contact an Estate Planning Attorney now. We stand ready to serve you.

Trusts:

A trust is a method of safeguarding assets and ensuring your loved ones or anything you choose (person, organization, animal, property, and more…) are taken care of. 

A trust consists of three different parts: 

Settlor:

The person giving an asset (the res) to create trust with

Trustee:

Trustees oversee the trust.

Trustees have legal duties to care for the trust and distribute it to the beneficiary, amongst other legal responsibilities.

Trustees follow the settlor’s directions or have the power to decide on behalf of the trust. The trust can set out trustee powers.

One trustee may, at times, be the settlor or beneficiary.

Beneficiary:

The thing that is to receive help from the trust

There are many types of trusts. Some can shield the trust assets from creditors, and others can reduce the tax burden on assets.

A trust executed correctly and with suitable “res” (anything transferred to the trust- trust property) can support your loved ones for generations to come, long after you are gone. 

Another reason one might set up a trust is that they fear loved ones will go through the assets quickly and be left needing help. 

Setting up a trust may be your answer if this sounds like you.

Inter Vivos Transfers (transfers made during your life):

Trusts:

Inter Vivos Trusts are created while the settlor (trust creator) still lives.

These are called Living Trusts because until the trust is transferred to the beneficiaries, the settlor can use the trust property res.

These trusts can be set up to be revocable (canceled) or not.

Real Estate Transfers

 

Life Estates:

These estates allow a person to pass rights to a property for as long as a person lives (“Pur Autre Vie”).

When the person designated dies, the land would automatically transfer back to the person that transferred it.

Lady Bird Deed:

It is a deed that transfers title while at the same time keeping an enhanced life estate in the grantors (people transferring the real estate).

This type of transfer can be revoked (canceled) at the desire of the grantors.

It is an enhanced life estate because the grantors holding the life estate have all the same ownership rights as if no transfer were ever made.

This transfer shields the real estate from the reach of the “beneficiary’s” creditors. (Here, “beneficiary” means the owners of the house.) 

Medicaid cannot go after the real estate to collect for specific aid given.

Yes, Medicaid, through certain government agencies, can come to collect from the estate (the things a person owns) of a dead person.

The grantors (owners) do not have to pay a gift tax because they own the property until their death unless the deed is revoked before death.

The beneficiaries do not have to wait for probate, which can be a lengthy process, and they get the real estate immediately upon the death of the grantor (owner).

Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship:

This type of ownership allows all owners the full benefits and rights of real estate ownership.

This type of ownership avoids probate, and the property automatically transfers to the remaining owners when one dies.

Tenants in Common:

This type of ownership allows all owners the full benefits and rights of real estate ownership.

Property passes to heirs of the deceased through intestacy (dying without a will) or by probate (legally enforcing the deceased’s Will).

And more.

Gifts:

Giving gifts avoids probate.

An Estate Planning Attorney can counsel you about the possibility of giving gifts while you are still living.

An Estate Planning Attorney can also let you know the economic effects of those gifts on you and the recipients.

Discussing methods to support your loved ones that avoid probate (the legal process of following a will)

Probate can be a lengthy process. Depending on your situation and desires, there are methods to avoid probate and still get your loved ones the support they need.

Partition Contracts:

These contracts turn the community property of married couples into separate property.

Why turn community property into separate property?

Community property is considered the property of both spouses.

Based on the type of community property, some community property can be subject to the debts of both spouses.

Therefore, creditors can come after that property no matter which spouse owns the debt.

Income Agreements:

Spouses can agree by contract on community property income and what separate income is.

Life Estates:

These estates allow a person to pass rights to a property for as long as a person lives (“Pur Autre Vie”).

When the person designated dies, the land would automatically transfer back to the person that transferred it.

Lady Bird Deed:

It is a deed that transfers title while at the same time keeping an enhanced life estate in the grantors (people transferring the real estate).

This type of transfer can be revoked (canceled) at the will of the grantors.

It is an enhanced life estate because the grantors holding the life estate have all the same ownership rights as if no transfer were ever made.

This transfer shields the real estate from the reach of the beneficiary’s (the thing the real estate is “transferred” to) creditors.

Medicaid cannot go after the real estate to collect for specific aid given.

Yes, through certain government agencies, Medicaid can collect from the estate (the things a person owns) of a dead person.

The grantors (owners) do not have to pay a gift tax because they own the property until their death unless the deed is revoked before death.

The beneficiaries do not have to wait for probate, which can be a lengthy process, and they get the real estate immediately upon the death of the grantor (owner).

Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship:

This type of ownership allows all owners the full benefits and rights of real estate ownership.

This type of ownership avoids probate, and the property automatically transfers to the remaining owners when one dies.

And more.

Life Insurances

An Estate Planning Attorney can counsel you about the benefits of the different types of life insurance out there.

Not only do attorneys have to keep your best interest in mind, but we are not the insurance company selling you the insurance.

An attorney will not be motivated to give you the advice that suits the insurance company but instead provide you with the direction that helps you.

The extra information added to this section is to give you a small piece of the considerations that a competent attorney would evaluate when estate planning.


That is why it is vital to get an attorney competent with proven methods that have been used and are thriving in the field.

Our Founder took extra classes while in school, knowing he wanted to offer to practice many areas of law.

When asked why he decided to offer so many areas of law, he said,

“ I would not trust my family’s legal needs to another, and you will not have to trust another with yours.”

Let This Firm Be Your Champion And Fight For Your Family’s Honor, And

We Will Ensure Your Orders Are Clear And Followed.

We Will Get It Done.

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