Sherman Oaks, CA

Estate, Trust, & Probate

Sherman Oaks & Studio City Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is a way of taking responsibility for the financial well-being of yourself and your loved ones. Because life is unpredictable, it is important to attend to such matters as promptly as possible. At the Law Offices of Rodney Gould, in Sherman Oaks, California, the founder and principal attorney has impeccable credentials and has been successfully practicing law for more than 30 years. He is dedicated to assisting clients as they prepare for the future needs of themselves and their families. Having worked as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and having worked on hundreds of estate plans, Mr. Gould has well-honed legal skills. He prides himself on using his accumulated knowledge to help individuals with accumulated wealth protect their assets from unnecessary taxation and creditors, and plan for secure futures.

When you come to our office with your estate planning needs, you can be sure you will receive the respectful, responsive, timely responses you seek. Above all, Rodney Gould values straightforward communication between his clients and himself and so commits himself to using clear language, as well as advanced technology, to connect easily with those he helps. He wants to ensure that you not only navigate the complexities of estate planning in a way that is most beneficial to you, but that you understand precisely the reasons for the steps being taken. Mr. Gould is compassionate as well as efficient and will address every financial and personal concern you have about planning for the future with empathy and meaningful suggestions.

Covering the Territory of Estate Planning in Southern California

In California, as throughout the country, if you die intestate (without a will), a trust, or another method of distributing your assets, your money and property will be doled out according to California law. This means that your wishes will not be considered. To most of us, this is a disturbing thought since we want to exert some control over how our accumulated assets will be distributed.

Each case is unique. Some of us may be concerned about a special needs relative; others may worry about taking care of their children from a previous marriage. Still others who have amassed substantial assets may worry that one of their beneficiaries is too immature or reckless to be left a large inheritance. Rodney Gould deals with such problems routinely and efficiently. He will assist you in creating wills and trusts, avoiding probate, increasing and protecting your accumulated wealth and making arrangement for your own potential incapacity or death. Most importantly, he will explain financial procedures in terms you can understand and ease your mind by helping you prepare for contingencies you hadn’t even considered. Estate planning attorney Rodney Gould knows how high the stakes are in preparing for your future and the futures of those you love.

The Benefits of Establishing Trusts

Although dying intestate (without a will) is to be avoided, resulting as it does in the delays and costs of probate, having a will involving a large estate presents the same difficulties. Mr. Gould is well-equipped to create trusts which will ensure that money is available quickly to those you wish to protect. In addition, a trust can protect a beneficiary who is irresponsible with money because he or she is a minor, psychiatrically disabled, or addicted to gambling. In any of these situations, a trust can keep the individual from receiving inherited funds as a lump sum. Instead, you will be able to appoint a trustee to dole out money to your beneficiary in a disciplined manner.

The types of trusts Rodney Gould can help you establish include:

  • Revocable trusts (also known as Living Trusts)
  • Irrevocable trusts, such as charitable trusts, trusts for minors, and spendthrift trusts
  • Testamentary trusts
  • Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) Trusts
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT)
  • Special needs trusts
  • Generation-skipping trusts
  • Pet trusts

Each type of trust serves a different purpose. Mr. Gould will create the trusts you and he decide will be beneficial to you and will make sure each is well-structured and legally binding.

Specifics of Estate Planning Handled by the Law Offices of Rodney Gould

Rodney Gould is well-prepared to deal with any financial matter involved in your estate planning. He will guide you through processes that best suit your needs, including:

  • Preparing a will
  • Dealing with insurance proceeds
  • Establishing retirement funds
  • Determining which of your assets are community property
  • Assisting in probate procedures
  • Creating various types of trusts to avoid probate
  • Preparing a Durable Power of Attorney, Advanced Health Care Directive, and HIPAA release
  • Creating an effective business succession plan

Each of these documents has a place in arranging for potential future occurrences. When it comes to estate planning, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

How Rodney Gould Assists in Probate Procedures

Rodney Gould is happy to help you navigate probate procedures. If you are in the role of estate administrator (executor) your duties include collecting the decedent’s assets and paying creditors to settle the estate. You are also tasked with distributing the remaining assets to heirs or other beneficiaries according to the deceased person’s wishes. These duties are not always simple, particularly if the estate is substantial, which is why it is a good idea to have an accomplished probate attorney, like Rodney Gould, at your side.

Be Aware of California Laws

While there is a great deal of free will inherent in working with a highly capable estate planning attorney like Rodney Gould, it is important that you be aware of certain legal restrictions to your estate planning decisions. If you reside in California and are married, for example, your home is considered community property and your surviving spouse will inherit it in its totality upon your death. Also, in California, if you wish to make a caregiver one of your beneficiaries, you must consult a lawyer who will testify to the fact that the caregiver is not exercising undue influence over you as you make this decision. A third California law to be aware of is that your electronic accounts are inviolable unless you make provisions to the contrary. Even if you decide to give your executor or someone else all of your log-in information and passwords, your attorney has to be informed that you are permitting this person to access your accounts.

Why You Should Do Your Estate Planning with the Law Offices of Rodney Gould

If you want personalized service by someone wise to the ways of estate planning, Rodney Gould is the estate planning attorney for you. When you come to him, as the lead attorney of his practice, he will give you responsive, individualized counsel. He will provide you with clarity concerning the complex issues to be handled. More than that, because life if full of changes — a new baby, a new business, a death in the family, an inheritance — he will review your plans with you on a regular basis to make sure they remain current. Estate planning with the Law Offices of Rodney Gould will not only stabilize your future, but will be an easy and pleasant experience.

You can connect with us by calling us or by filling out one of the contact forms on our website.