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Practice Areas

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Wills & Trusts

Christie M. Phan offers legal counsel to secure your estate and protect your interests now, and in the event that you may not be capable of doing so yourself later.

Managing your estate, no matter the size, is an important responsibility for individuals of any age. Passing on without a will (in the courtroom this is known as intestacy) can be a headache for your family, and causes unnecessary challenges and uncertainties as your family attempts to navigate the probate process.

Don’t be one of the many who passes away without having formed a will. I offer affordable estate planning packages for estates of any size, and have the resources required to develop wills for even the most complex high-value estates, where taxes are a particularly weighty consideration. Properly planning your estate with a well-crafted will is an important matter for any age.

Living Wills

A directive to physicians (aka “living will” or “advance directive”) will allows you to state your wishes in the event that you are suffering from a terminal illness in which you are expected to die within six months, even with available life-sustaining treatment. You can choose to either request that all treatments other than those needed to keep you comfortable be discontinued or withheld or that you be kept alive using available life-sustaining treatments. The living will ensures that your life is handled in the way that you wish, should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Prevent uncertainty and strife amongst family members attempting to make the decisions on your behalf by speaking with us.

Power Of Attorney

Powers of attorney allow other people to make decisions for you. Powers of attorney are a powerful tool for estate planning and management, and many people seek additional security in their lives by granting powers of attorney upon a decline in decision-making abilities due to health or age.

A financial power of attorney allows an agent to carry out your personal financial affairs such as real property transactions, banking transactions, tax matters, etc. There are two possible types of financial powers of attorney – durable and springing. A durable power of attorney is effective whether the principal is incapacitated or not. A springing power of attorney is effective only when the principal is incapacitated. I generally recommend a durable power of attorney. Just choose someone you trust and keep it in a safe place. You don’t have to inform the person that they have power of attorney until you need them to exercise it.

A medical power of attorney allows you to name an agent whose authority begins when your doctor certifies that you lack the competence to make health care decisions. Your agent will have authority to consent to surgery, check you into a nursing home, obtain records about your care, etc.

Declaration of Guardian

A declaration of guardian allows you to name a guardian in the event you later become incapacitated and you have not executed a financial or medical power of attorney. The purpose of the durable power of attorney is to avoid a costly guardianship; however, if a guardianship is instituted, the durable power of attorney is automatically revoked. An important feature of this document is that you can designate who you do not want to serve as your guardian and the judge cannot appoint those persons under any circumstance. Most people generally choose for their guardians the same persons they appoint in their durable power of attorney and their medical power of attorney.

Probate (Including Guardianships)

If you’ve been named the executor of a will or guardian of an estate or person, you have quite a bit of responsibility that you might not know how to handle. The counsel of a probate attorney can be invaluable in such a situation. We’re experienced in matters of probate and guardianship, and we offer compassionate, intelligent counsel.