Estate Planning & Accessibility

When a person dies how does the family or loved ones know if that person has a will, trust or no estate plan at all?

Check the title of the property owned by the deceased person.  The property title will show if the owner was an individual, a couple or a trust.  If the property is in the individual's name alone then there is no estate plan or  there is a  will based estate plan.  This means there must be a court probate.    

If the title to the property, is in the name of the decedent as trustee of a trust  then there usually is no need for a court probate.   One objective of trust planning is to avoid court, especially now during this pandemic.

The trust must also be accessible.  If no one knows where the trust is  the estate may have to pass as if there is no trust estate plan using California intestate laws.  This often means that  the estate property will go to different people than was intended by the decedent.
 A solution to the accessibility problem is the Estate Planning Portfolio.   This is a binder containing the estate plan.   For a trust plan it usually includes a copy of the Trust, Will, Power of Attorney, Certificate of Trust,
List of Trust Assets, Personal Property Memorandum, Advance Care Directive, Insurance Policies, Memorial Instructions and other estate planning documents.

At the beginning of the portfolio should be the name and address of the attorney who drafted the trust and the location of the original  estate planning documents.  These estate planning originals  should be put in a safe place such as a bank safe deposit box, rather than in the portfolio itself.

Keep the estate planning portfolio in a book case in your bedroom or personal office.   This makes these documents easy to locate and accessible to your loved ones in time of need.

Estate Planning & Availability

In the current Pandemic it is time to rethink who should be your Trustee(Trust), Executor (Will), Attorney in Fact (Power of Attorney) and Surrogate (Advance Care Directive).  These can be the same people which can be convenient and  good parallel estate planning.

In California many families are spread all over the country.  It is a good idea now to have a local person or institution as an alternative that can perform some of these tasks if necessary.

As this virus progresses travel may become more difficult and risky. In the future communication may break down.

PLEASE NOTE:  Make sure, and get their permission before you put anyone on your estate planning documents

Feel free to contact us...

In order to help you more quickly, please fill out the quick form and submit. A representative of the firm will call you.


Our Offices

  • Santa Monica Office


    2221 23rd Street
    Santa Monica, California 90405, US



  • Pasadena Office


    215 North Marengo Ave.
    Suite 160
    Pasadena, California 91101, US