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Your Estate Is In Great Hands

Plan a secure future for your loved ones with the expertise of Essayli & Brown LLP, an acclaimed estate planning law firm in Irvine, CA. Our team understands the importance of a well-drafted estate plan, tailored to your unique needs.

We offer a comprehensive range of estate planning services, including the preparation of revocable trusts, wills, durable powers of attorney for finances, advanced health care directives, dementia directives, and corporate formation to insulate you from liability. By carefully crafting these essential legal documents, we ensure that your assets avoid probate, your wishes are honored, and your family is cared for in times of incapacity or after your passing. We draft estate plans with an eye toward implementation to ensure the plan can be effectively carried out when necessary.

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Lawyers having a discussion in the office

Why Estate Planning Is Essential

A well-crafted estate plan can offer numerous benefits, such as avoiding probate, which is always a costly and time-consuming process. An estate plan also provides the opportunity to specify how assets should be distributed after death, which enables you to ensure your beneficiaries are capable of handling (and making the most out of) their inheritance. Effective estate plans can help protect assets from creditors and minimize estate tax liabilities. Finally, an estate plan can appoint guardians for minor children and provide incentives for your beneficiaries to be successful prior to obtaining their inheritance.

Services Offered

Our experienced estate planning attorneys offer a comprehensive range of services to ensure that your unique needs are met.
Our services include:

Wills and Trusts

Preparation of wills, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, and special needs trusts.

Powers of Attorney

Durable powers of attorney for finances and health care directives.


Guidance on the complexities of probate in California.

Corporate Formation
& Asset Protection

Safeguard your assets from creditors and minimize tax liabilities through our asset protection and corporate formation services.

Trust Administration

Assistance with setting up and managing trusts. Click here to learn more.

Estate Planning Review

Comprehensive review of existing estate plans to ensure that they are up to date, efficient, and legally sound.

Estate Planning FAQs

I already have an estate plan. Do I need to review or update it?

Tax laws, family dynamics and individual considerations are constantly changing. It is generally considered a good idea to review your estate plan at least every three years and when significant life events occur. Given that there have been several major changes to applicable tax laws this decade alone, it is likely that your plan could use a thorough review. If it has been a while since you have reviewed or updated your estate plan, contact us for a free consultation.

What is a probate vs. non-probate asset?

Probate is essentially the process the courts use to distribute assets after your death. Certain assets, however, will transfer by operation of law and not via the probate process. These assets passing outside of probate include assets titled jointly with the right of survivorship, assets that have a beneficiary designation (such as an Individual Retirement Account), assets with a transfer or pay on death designation, and assets that are properly transferred to your revocable trust, amongst others. There are many advantages to avoiding probate, like saving time and money. In some instances, however, probate can be a useful process for resolving disputes.

What is a “Springing” Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney document allows you to designate someone to manage your financial affairs. When designating your agent, you can decide to either give them the power to manage your affairs immediately, or delay the vesting so that your agent only gets the power to manage your finances if you are deemed incapacitated (at which point it will “spring” to life, hence the name). There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of power of attorney documents. Contact us today for additional information.

What happens if I die without a will or estate plan?

If you pass away without any testamentary documents in place, you die “intestate.” This means that the disposition of your assets will be controlled by state law, as opposed to being controlled by the terms of your trust or other estate planning documents. The intestate succession laws for California are set forth in Probate Code § 6400-6414. If you do not take the time to identify your beneficiaries, the state will default to the probate code and your assets may be disposed of contrary to your wishes. Contact us today to start the process of planning your estate.

What are the fees for probate if I die without an estate plan?

The probate fees are found in California Probate Code §10810, entitled “Compensation of estate attorney.” The fees are based on gross assets, meaning that they do not include encumbrances and debts like mortgages when calculating the fees – they only look at the appraised value of the property. The fees are calculated as a percentage of the estate, and it is important to note that they apply to both the attorney and the executor, should he or she elect to take a fee:

  • Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
  • Three percent on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
  • Two percent on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000).
  • One percent on the next nine million dollars ($9,000,000).
  • One-half of 1 percent on the next fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000).
  • For all amounts above twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), a reasonable amount to be determined by the court.

Based on the above, the probate fees on a $1 million gross estate would be $23,000 to the attorney. If the executor elects to take a fee, the fee would double to $46,000. Having a well-drafted estate plan can reduce or eliminate probate fees – contact us today for a free consultation.

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