Early Estate Planning Is Key to Leaving the Best Possible Legacy

It is never the wrong time to think about the future of your estate. Whether you are in perfect health, entering a nursing home, or are starting a family, having a well-crafted estate plan provides peace of mind, assurance, and security.

Too many people make the mistake of waiting until the last moment to get their affairs in order—and in some cases, never get around to it at all. Our firm ensures that your hard-earned property is distributed according to your wishes, allowing you full control over what happens to your home, wealth, and even your children.

You Need to Be Thorough to Leave a Great Legacy

When crafting an estate plan, it is crucial to think through all aspects. Who will be responsible for administering your estate once you pass away? Who should be entrusted to care for your minor children? How should you protect aging family members and provide for children with special needs? Creating a solid estate plan requires diligence and a meticulous approach to detail, which is the only way we do business.

When you contact us for a complimentary evaluation, lead attorney Jim Zakasky will carefully review the details of your estate and listen to your overall goals. You tell us what is most important, what your biggest fears are, and clearly explain how you want to leave the world. Once we have a full understanding of your estate planning goals, we make an appointment to help you take the next best step forward.

The Law Offices of James A. Zakasky provides one-on-one planning for:

  • Last wills and testaments. We can examine your existing will for possible updates and additions, or even create your will from the ground up. We can help you answer tough questions such as whom to assign as trustee for your estate and holdings, advise you on ways to minimize the length of time your assets are held in probate, and guard your wishes against contention after your death.
  • End-of life care. Your estate planning does not just dictate what will happen after your death, but also what will happen if you are incapacitated later in life. We can set up revocable and irrevocable trusts to ensure access to federal healthcare, designate trusted loved ones to carry your healthcare proxy and power of attorney, and establish other necessary protections.
  • Guardianship. It is vital that parents establish clear guardianship of minor children, as well as conservatorship for any special-needs family members. We ensure that the language used in your estate plan leaves no room for loopholes and that no detail is overlooked.
  • Tax planning. Families can lose thousands of dollars in assets in taxes alone. We counsel you on minimizing your tax liability (such as federal estate tax and gift taxes), and stay ahead of changing tax laws to mitigate taxes on your estate and property.
  • Debt protection. Debtors will often wait until a person has passed to make claims on his property, leaving little for the deceased’s loved ones to inherit. We can help reduce the percentage of your assets that creditors may collect as debt payment.

Helping Family Members Take Control After a Death

When a family member dies without a without a will, his relatives are left both at an emotional and financial loss. They may be struggling to cope with sudden debts, unsure how to divide community property, or even who should be appointed in control of the estate. We can provide the support you need.

In our estate administration services, we help family members understand what needs to be done after a loved one’s death, and then help them through the steps of settling the estate. We can act as executor of the estate and administrator of a trust to get family members and loved ones the assets they are owed.

Even when the decedent had an estate plan in place, there is no guarantee that it will be followed. An estate plan may be contested by a beneficiary or heir, leading to complex legal disputes that prevent family members from getting their rightful inheritances. If you are facing estate litigation, we provide counsel on contested documents and aggressive representation in court to settle the matter as quickly as possible.

We Can Help You Leave the World a Better Place

We understand that planning for the end of one’s life requires both competence and sensitivity, and we are dedicated to making a lifelong commitment to our clients. Attorney Jim Zakasky strives to make the process as straightforward as possible for his clients, taking the frustration and anxiety out of planning for the future. Contact our offices in Santa Rosa today to see how we can help you.