Estate Planning Lawyer San Diego

Estate planning may not be the first concern which comes to mind when you think of family law, yet it is a very important thing to think about. Estate planning is taking the time to develop a comprehensive plan which ensures you are able to pass your assets to those you love the most when you die. If you fail to create or update your plan, you could be putting your family in a very complicated situation.

Attorney Steven M. Bishop will work together with you to discuss all your estate planning options. Whether you are starting from the very beginning or simply need to revisit your existing documents after a divorce, Mr. Bishop will help you determine what you must do to ensure your family is protected after you pass away.

Please contact The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop for your estate planning law needs 

Preparing The Right Plan For You

We walk you through all the potential options available to you to distribute your assets. We want you to be informed and feel comfortable about the decisions you are making. We help with many different issues connected to estate planning, including:

  • Drafting a will to state who should receive certain property
  • Creating a trust to help protect your assets
  • Selecting or appointing individuals to receive power of attorney or serve as the administrator of your estate
  • Deciding the amount of health care you are to receive if you are seriously injured and unable to express your wishes
  • Modifying any of the existing estate plan documents you have following a divorce or loss of a loved one
  • Naming family members or friends to care for your minor children

Some people are very reluctant to think about these issues because they do not want to upset anyone by their choices. If you neglect to put a plan in place, it is possible someone may receive property you would have preferred had gone to another family member or friend due to California’s probate laws. This can lead to serious disputes among your loved ones and is something you do not want to have happen.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is an important process that prepares you and your family in case of your death or incapacitation. 

Your estate is all the assets you have accumulated in your life, including:

  • Land and property
  • Real estate
  • Physical possessions (e.g., cars and other vehicles, boat, furniture, jewelry) 
  • Financial securities (e.g., stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and options)
  • Accounts
  • Investments
  • Pension
  • Cash

Everything of economic value makes up your estate. Estate planning allows you to decide what happens to your assets after your death or incapacitation while you are alive and well. 

You choose how your assets will be handled and distributed after you die, who your beneficiaries will be, and how your assets will be managed. 

An estate plan will give you the peace of mind that everything you have worked for in life will be valued and benefit who you choose. Estate planning will:

  • Allow you to avoid family conflict after death by making legally binding decisions now
  • Help you minimize taxes when you transfer assets to your heirs
  • Allow you to provide supplemental financial benefits to a person receiving government benefits. 
  • Help you avoid probate 

There are a few basic elements to an estate plan you may prepare:

  • A will
  • A living will
  • A trust
  • Choose a healthcare proxy
  • Create an assignment of power

The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop has years of experience providing legal advice to residents of San Diego, California. Our estate planning lawyers know there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We will work to understand your needs and wants throughout the design and drafting process to ensure your goals are met.  

Why Choose an Estate Planning Lawyer from The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop?

Attorney Steven M. Bishop is a highly accomplished estate planning lawyer in San Diego. His practice joins together trust and estate planning needs with family law matters.   

A San Diego native, Attorney Bishop attended the University of San Diego School of Law and graduated with honors. He passed the California State Bar Examination immediately following law school and pursued his dream of advocating for the rights of people in his community. 

Bishop has cemented a reputation for providing the highest standard of care and professionalism to his clients and the legal community for more than 40 years. When you need to plan for the future but are unsure of how to begin, Attorney Bishop will take the time to understand your goals and help you make informed decisions fully.

The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop is dedicated to helping residents of San Diego with probate, will and trusts, and all their estate planning needs. 

Why Do You Need an Estate Planning Attorney in San Diego, California?

There are many reasons why you need an estate planning lawyer in San Diego County. The following are the top five reasons families seek the legal advice and estate planning services of our firm:

  • Minimizing taxes:

With a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer, you can reduce the taxes on what is left behind for your beneficiaries. Through strategic planning and the use of trust and estate tools, you can avoid the sizable state, and federal taxes are taken out of an inheritance.  

  • Avoiding probate:

A skilled estate planner can employ a wide range of tools to transfer property and other assets to avoid California probate. Following the death of a family member without a complete estate plan, the estate will be placed into probate. Probate can last anywhere from months to years to complete, tying up and using valuable resources along the way. 

  • Preventing family confusion and potential conflicts:

Unfortunately, family conflict after the death of a loved one is common. If you have a sizable estate, conflict is almost guaranteed without a plan. An estate planning lawyer can help you define all your assets, clearly define how they will be distributed, and place an estate administrator in charge of managing your assets.

Instead of quarreling over the same antique or portion of the estate, family members will respect your wishes.

  • Providing financial security to loved ones:

A well-designed estate plan is the best way to protect your loved ones. If you have beneficiaries, heirs, and children that may not receive parts of your estate for any reason, you can create a plan that protects their best interests.

  • Creating a plan tailored to your needs:

Every family is different and will have different needs. Creative planning strategies will allow you to set each family member up for success in a unique way before you pass on. 

It will also help you from inadvertently voiding the validity of one document when you add another. For example, a will may have worked for your affairs before your second marriage. In an attempt to alter your will to cover the estate of the second marriage, you may accidentally void the validity. 

An experienced attorney can create a comprehensive plan that is legally binding across the board. 

Contact The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop today to discuss our legal services. 

What Are the Benefits of Using Our San Diego, California Estate Planning Attorneys?

Estate planning is highly complex, full of rules that can invalidate a document if not properly followed. Our San Diego estate planning attorney has years of experience and comprehensive knowledge of various trust and estate tools.

When you retain the estate services of Attorney Steven M. Bishop:

  • We have the knowledge and skill to create a strategic plan that suits your individual needs
  • We are here to advise you of all your options and help you make an informed decision with your family’s best interests in mind
  • Our San Diego estate planning attorneys can help maximize your estate and assets while protecting your beneficiaries and heirs
  • If you have a beneficiary who qualifies for government benefits, we can help you provide for them after you are gone without jeopardizing their government assistance

The most important benefit of using our experienced estate planning lawyers in California is the peace of mind that you are prepared for the future. 

When you need reliable legal services, consult The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop.

What Are Our California Trust and Estate Practice Areas?

The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop can handle a wide range of estate planning needs, including:

  • Revocable trust
  • Irrevocable trust
  • Asset protection trust
  • Charitable trust
  • Constructive trust
  • Special needs trust
  • Spendthrift trust
  • Business law
  • Tax by-pass trust
  • Elder law
  • Power of attorney
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Common-law marriage
  • Estate administration
  • Trust administration

Schedule a consultation today to discuss your unique needs with one of our highly sought estate planning lawyers.

What is a Last Will and Testament?

A will is an estate planning tool that will ensure your wealth, property, and other assets are given to your heirs. It is a written document that expresses your wishes in the event of your death. 

A last will and testament involve decisions about:

  • Naming guardians of minor children
  • Bequeathing assets to your beneficiaries, organizations, or charities
  • All wills must go through probate
  • Directive of how you want your wake, funeral, or service held
  • Family heirlooms
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Property 
  • Bank accounts
  • Pensions
  • Retirement accounts
  • Financial securities

Wills can transfer your estate after death, but it will be subject to probate. 

It is also a good idea to create a living will. A living will have nothing to do with your wealth. Instead, a living will express your medical wishes should you become incapacitated. In many cases, people will use a living will to name someone to make decisions on your behalf.

What is a Trust?

Like a will, a trust also transfers your property and assets. A trust gives another party the authority to handle your assets for the benefit of a third party, your beneficiaries. 

  • Revocable living trust:

A revocable living trust is used to avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, and protect the privacy of the beneficiaries and trust owner.

  • Irrevocable trust:

An irrevocable trust cannot be amended or terminated without the permission of the trust’s beneficiaries.

  • Asset protection trust:

Asset protection trusts hold a person’s assets to shield them from creditors, lawsuits, and judgments.

  • Charitable trust:

A charitable trust is set up to benefit the trust owner, the beneficiaries, and the charity.

  • Constructive trust:

A constructive trust is an imposed duty by one person or company to hold the property of another as an equitable remedy by the court.

  • Special needs trust:

A special needs trust allows a beneficiary who receives government assistance to benefit from the trust without losing eligibility. 

  • Spendthrift trust:

A spendthrift trust prohibits the beneficiary from selling or giving away her equitable interests in the trust.

  • Tax bypass trust:

A tax bypass trust is an irrevocable trust that helps to minimize estate taxes

Trusts can be very useful tools in estate planning. Depending on your particular family situation, our estate planning lawyers can help you choose the right trust for your needs.

What is Elder Law in California? 

Elder law and estate planning are very similar. While both areas have long-term planning capabilities, elder law focuses on the aging population and their current issues. 

In California, the goal of elder law is to prepare the populace for financial freedom. Some of the most common legal needs facing seniors include:

  • Asset protection
  • Tax planning 
  • Estate planning
  • Nursing home issues
  • Elder abuse and fraud cases
  • Social security and disability claims process
  • Medicare claims and appeals
  • Disability planning
  • Probate and administration of estates
  • Trust administration 
  • Housing issues
  • Age discrimination
  • Retirement
  • Mental health

If you have any questions regarding elder law, please schedule a consultation with one of our San Diego estate planners today.

What is Probate in San Diego, California?

The California probate process can be lengthy and expensive. Our estate planning attorneys are here to provide legal advice to protect your loved ones’ financial future. 

If your goal is to have your beneficiaries avoid probate, speak to one of our lawyers about the tools we can employ to keep your estate private and secure.

The California probate process consists of the following steps:

  • File a petition to begin probate and select an executor if one has not been appointed already
  • Give notice that the estate is in probate to all beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors
  • Conduct an inventory report of all assets subject to probate court:
    • Real estate and other property
    • Stocks and bonds and other securities
    • Family heirlooms and antiques
    • Bank accounts
    • Retirement accounts
  • Pay all bills, debts, taxes
  • Distribute assets that are remaining
  • Close the estate

Overall, probate should last around 6 months to a year. If you prefer guidance through the complicated process, our probate lawyers can help. The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop would be happy to evaluate your case today. 

Can Estate Planning Help Me with My Immediate Family Care Needs in San Diego?

Life can be unpredictable. It can be overwhelming to know where to turn for immediate family care needs when a family is everything. At The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop, our compassionate estate planning lawyers can help you make tough decisions in a timely and efficient manner. We have extensive experience helping families throughout the county. 

Some of our clients found the following tools beneficial to their family situation:

  • Special needs trust
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorship
  • Power of attorney
  • Durable powers of attorney

When you need trusted representation and legal advice, turn to our San Diego, California estate planning lawyers. 

Contact the Best Estate Planner in San Diego, California for Your Trust and Estate Needs

At The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop, our San Diego, California estate planning attorneys are committed to keeping your estate plan current. 

Life can happen fast. One day you are single, walking along the beach. Three years later, you are married with your first child on the way. One year you may hope for grandchildren as you watch the last of your children walk down the aisle. The next year you have two grandchildren with plans for a third.

Preparing for life’s eventualities and protecting your assets is the foundation for estate planning. Contact the best estate planner in San Diego, California, today. You can schedule a consultation at our office in Camino Del Rio.

Want To Know More About Your Options?

If you would like to talk about creating an estate plan with an experienced lawyer, please call our San Diego office at 619-535-0678 or send us an email to schedule your free telephone consultation. We assist clients throughout San Diego County in a host of family law concerns.

Contact Us Today


Discuss Your Case With An Experienced Family Law Specialist

To talk to our lawyer about your family law issue in a free telephone consultation, please call our office at 619-299-9780. You may also send us an email. We represent people throughout San Diego County in a host of different family law matters.

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The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop, Attorney at Law, A California Corporation

591 Camino De La Reina, Suite 700

San Diego, CA 92108

Phone: 619-299-9780

Fax: 619-299-0316

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