Frequently Asked Questions

Estate Planning

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is simply the process of arranging your affairs so that your chosen individuals are appointed to take care of you, your dependents, your assets, and your finances should you be unable to do so yourself (e.g., dementia, coma, etc.). The process also involves appointing individuals to handle your final affairs upon your death and to follow your instructions regarding the ultimate distribution of your assets. An "estate plan" is a bundle of all of the documents (with a living trust at the cored) needed to accomplish these objectives.

Why do I need a living trust?

A living trust is a document which appoints your chosen individuals to manage your assets should you become incapacitated (e.g., dementia, coma, etc.), and distribute them to your desired beneficiaries on death. In California, a trust is almost always preferred to a will because it is designed to be simple and to avoid the expenses and delays of probate, which a will cannot avoid.

What is probate?

Probate is the court-supervised process of administering your estate upon your death. Unfortunately, probate is infamous for all of the expenses and delays associated with it. A simple probate can take up to three years to complete and cost your family up to 5% of the total value of the estate. Although a will is subject to the probate process, a living trust is designed to bypass it completely.

Is a simple will enough?

Unfortunately, a simple will is subject to the expenses and delays of probate. For this reason, many individuals and families choose to create a living trust, which is designed for simplicity and to avoid the probate process completely. However, as one part of an overall comprehensive estate plan, a will is used to appoint guardians for any minor children of yours alive at your death. (The trust handles everything else thereby bypassing probate.)

What is a power of attorney?

Whereas a trust focuses on the management of your assets should you be unable to do so, a power of attorney allows you to appoint individuals to manage all other personal affairs such as taxes, social security, pensions, etc. However, medical decisions are handled by a separate document referred to as an, "advance health care directive." A power of attorney is one part of an overall comprehensive estate plan.

What is an advance health care directive?

An advance health care directive allows you to appoint individuals to manage your medical decisions should you be unable to do so. An advance health care directive also allows you to make certain medical decisions on your own ahead of time. An advance health care directive is one part of an overall comprehensive estate plan.

Can I update my estate planning documents?

Absolutely! A living trust can be amended or comletely restate so long as the creator are alive and mentally capable of doing so. Any guardians for minor children you appoint in your will can also be changed through an amendment (called a, "codicil"). All other estate planning documents (power of attorney, advance health care directive, etc.) are typically re-created as it is more cost-effecitve.

Our Process

What is your general process?

We start with a free one-on-one phone or Zoom consultation. Once all of your questions are answered and you are ready to move forward, we email you an engagement agreement to electronically sign. Next, we work with you to complete our Client Intake Questionnaire. You can do this by filling out a PDF or going over the questions with us over the phone. Or if you prefer, we have an online process where you can securely submit your information through our website. A couple of weeks later, a completed draft and summary is ready for your review. We then make any updates or changes you would like us to make. Assuming everything looks good, we then coordinate signing and notarizing your compelted documents. Following execution of the documents, we are available for free, unlimited lifetime consultations.

What can I expect for our initial consultation?

A refreshingly casual and informative experience. We want to answer any questions you have to make sure that the world of estate planning and living trusts is crystal clear in your mind. We then go over our process, fees, and the overall client experience. Last, we outline next steps for you whether that be moving forward or takind some additional time to think about it.

What are the initial steps to get started?

To get started, simple let us know and we will prepare an engagement agreement to email to you for your electronic signature. We also have online invoicing an payment and accept all major credit cards and bank transfer (eCheck). Once those housekeeping items are completed, we begin working on gathering the necessary information we need to complete your plan.

What kind of information do you need from me?

First and foremost, we DO NOT need you to provide account statements or tax returns. In fact, most of the information we need are simply answers to questions about your personal estate planning decisions. These questions have to do with the following:

  • Who you would like to manage your assets for you should you be unable to do so, and administer your estate upon your death.
  • How you would like your assets distributed after your death (and to whom).
  • Who you would like to make personal and medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so (including guardianship of your children).

About Us

How can I learn more about Trust Legal Group?

Trust Legal Group is a boutique law firm with a specific focus on trusts and estate planning. Our mission is to help individuals, families, and business owners protect themselves, their loved ones, and their assets through a comprehensive approach to estate planning. We are located in the Irvine Spectrum area and serve all of Orange County.

How can I learn more about Bryan Eisenbise?

Bryan D. EIsenbise, JD, MBA, LLM(Tax) is the owner and principal attorney at Trust Legal Group. He has dedicated his 14-year career to helping individuals, families, and business owners protect their loved ones and their assets through a comprehensive approach to estate planning. Bryan earned is BA from Cal State Fullerton in Business Management, his MBA and JD from Texas Tech School of Business and School of Law, and his LLM(Tax) from Chapman University School of Law. Bryan is a member of the State Bar of California (#252817) and is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of California and the Federal District Court, Central District of California. Bryan is a proud 5th-generation Southern Californian and resides in South Orange County with his wife and three children.

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