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Estate Planning

Most people do not want to leave their loved ones shaken and confused after their death. However, this is frequently the case, as many Californians tend to put off planning their estates until the last possible moment. Attorney James A. Zakasky he...


Losing someone is never easy, but the pain is made so much worse when family members and debt collectors begin to fight for a piece of your loved one’s estate. Attorney James A. Zakasky can provide the guidance you need to sail smoothly thro...

It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning for Your Future

There are many sobering moments that force family members to consider (or reconsider) their futures:

  • You may be newly married.
  • You may have just welcomed your first child into the world.
  • Less happily, you may have just seen the sudden incapacitation of a loved one, or you may have been diagnosed with a life-altering illness.

At these moments, a person’s thoughts will naturally turn to the uncertainties of what comes next, such as what will happen to the family home or how their loved ones will cope after he or she is no longer living.

From Planning Your Estate to Passing it on, We Are by Your Side

No matter what event brings people to our door, they all have one thing in common: they want to be sure that their rights and wishes are respected. For over a decade, the Law Office of James A. Zakasky has been helping people protect and distribute their assets, access long-term health care benefits, and plan for a secure financial future.

We offer comprehensive resources that protect clients both before and after death, providing for you and your family in the following ways:

Estate Planning

Many people think that a will is the only document they need for their end-of-life plans. While a will can be useful in telling your family what your wishes are, it does not guarantee that those wishes will be followed. There are many legal tools at your disposal, but all involve complex laws and careful administration—and a single misstep while making your arrangements can turn a simple procedure into an exhausting legal battle.

While it may not be pleasant to think about what will happen after you are gone, planning for the passage of your estate and property during your lifetime allows you to control when and where your assets will go. At the Law Offices of James A. Zakasky, we can…

  • Examine or create your will and testament to guard against contention.
  • Set up revocable and irrevocable trusts to protect your wealth and maintain Medicaid eligibility.
  • Advise you on minimizing your tax liability (such as federal estate tax) on your assets.
  • Reduce the value of assets creditors may collect as debt payment.
  • Designate trusted loved ones to hold healthcare proxies and powers of attorney.
  • Establish clear guardianship of your minor children.
  • Provide protection for any special-needs family members.
  • Assign a competent and responsible trustee for your estate and holdings.
  • Minimize the length of time your assets are held in probate


Before your property is passed on to your beneficiaries, it enters a legal process called probate. Simply put, your assets and belongings are held by a local court which determines if you owe any outstanding debts and taxes after your death. If so, the amount of that debt is taken from the value of your estate before the rest is passed on to your heirs, potentially reducing the value by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Attorney James A. Zakasky provides counseling for families going through the probate process. From finding equitable solutions to providing dedicated representation in court, our firm offers sound legal advice to protect your rights following the death of a loved one.

We help clients resolve all kinds of issues that arise during probate, including:

  • Determining whether or not a will is valid
  • Contesting a will
  • Appointing a qualified executor or administrator of the estate
  • Resolving all financial responsibilities of the estate
  • Examining whether breach of fiduciary duty has occurred
  • Representing clients in probate or estate litigation
  • Administrating the distribution of assets to heirs or beneficiaries

We Can Find the Personalized Solution That Is Right for You

It’s not enough to plan for the future; you need to make sure your plans are viable and that they will be carried out to the letter. Attorney James A. Zakasky is proud to offer a lifelong commitment to his clients, from careful consideration of their desires to administering trusts and distributing assets. We work closely with each individual to meet his or her unique needs, removing the burden of uncertainty and allowing clients to live their lives without worrying about their futures.

It is vital that you work with an attorney who has your best interests at heart, and that you fully understand the choices you have made for your estate. We have written a free guide to estate planning that can be downloaded immediately—free of charge—to help individuals make sound decisions for their families. Click the link on this page to request a copy of our booklet, or contact our offices in Santa Rosa today to discuss your estate planning strategy with an attorney.

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How The Probate Process Works in California

How The Probate Process Works in California

Confused about how probate works? Download Attorney Jim Zakasky's free report on How The Probate Process Works in California

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