INNOVATIVE LEGAL ADVICE
Experienced Probate and
Family Law attorney serving the San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County areas.
Escondido, CA and
JBSmith Law: An Escondido Probate and Family Law Attorney
JBSmith Law is a Probate and Family Law practice with experienced knowledge of the San Diego, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino County Courts. JBSmith Law provides innovative legal advice and assertive client representation.
Legal Services Provided
ESTATE AND TRUST LITIGATION:
Estate and trust litigation attorneys primarily represent clients in litigated disputes over estate and trust assets or distributions. Estate litigation involves wills and matters arising from the death of an individual in relation to their assets. This may include trusts, a fund created by an individual or group intended to benefit another individual or group. Trust litigation specifically involves the administration and distribution of a trust. Usually trusts are created with conditions on the distribution of the assets in the account and are managed by a third party trustee. Many law firms involved in trust and estate litigation assign these cases to attorneys who are fundamentally estate planners with limited or no experience handling a major contested matter in the probate courts. Other firms rely on civil litigators with little or no experience in the field of trusts and estates. JBSmith Law is unique because we offer experienced trial attorney familiar with the local and regional probate courts and in-depth knowledge of the substantive law and unique procedures applicable to probate and trust disputes. For that reason, JBS Law is the recommended choice to represent corporate fiduciaries (including large financial institutions), charitable beneficiaries, and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries in the most significant disputes involving trusts, estates and conservatorships. JBSmith Law is successful because we are as comfortable cross-examining a witness at trial as we are arguing an arcane point of probate law in the courts of appeal, and we are just as comfortable deposing hostile witnesses as we are building consensus with conservators, court-appointed counsel and guardians ad litem. JBSmith Law has had enormous success in the trial courts in probate matters of all types in San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County courts. JBSmith Law has the credibility to obtain the most favorable settlements of disputes for our clients in mediation or even before litigation ensues. JBS Law also counsels clients about litigation avoidance, and we can provide sophisticated advice that only comes from experience in the courtroom.
FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE:
Senior citizens are vulnerable to financial exploitation on many different levels. Elders can be victimized by their caregivers, family members, fiduciaries or friends. Victims of financial exploitation should seek help from an experienced California financial elder abuse attorney. Learning about your rights is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself or a loved one. At The JBSmith Law, we are here to provide guidance and support in caregiver abuse, financial exploitation misuse of power of attorney, isolation and freeze-outs, and unwarranted transfers to outside senior facilities. JBSmith Law has represented people throughout San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County in financial elder abuse cases.
ESTATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION:
Estate administration, also known as a “probate proceeding,” and trust administration are the necessary processes of collecting and distributing your assets following your death. A probate proceeding is carried out in court with a judge overseeing the entire process and is necessary when a person dies without a will or trust or with only a will. The probate courts require that an attorney assist in the probate proceeding. Trust administration is the private alternative to the probate process and involves transferring control of trust assets to the Successor Trustee, at which time the Successor Trustee becomes responsible for notifying the beneficiaries of the death of the Settlor, collecting and accounting for the assets of the Trust Estate, paying the expenses of administration and taxes, and distributing the Trust Estate assets according to the terms of the trust agreement. While it is not required by law that the Successor Trustee retain attorney assistance in the administration of a living trust, the administration is still highly regulated by IRS and California law and therefore the expertise of an experienced estate planning attorney is always strongly recommended. JBS Law has the experience to efficiently and effectively administer your trust or estate.
Probate is the court process of administering a decedent’s estate. If the decedent has a Will, then the Will is submitted to the court for probate, usually by the nominated Executor. The judge then orders the probate process to be opened and officially appoints the Executor to serve. The Executor is then responsible for collecting the assets of the estate, identifying and paying off creditors, accounting to the beneficiaries and finally distributing the assets to the beneficiaries named in the Will. If a decedent dies without a Will, the court will appoint a qualified party to serve and will order distribution according to the provisions contained in the probate code for “intestate distribution.” Estate planning is typically designed in part to avoid the probate process because of the increased time, expense and supervision that probate requires compared to the administration of a trust. JBS Law has years of experience probating both intestate and where there is a will. JBSmith Law will handle all of your needs from the drafting of your petition to administer the estate to your final accounting and distribution petition.
This is the court process of appointing guardians for a minor child. The court will appoint a person to serve as guardian of the person of a minor child, and will also appoint a person to serve as guardian of the estate of a minor child. The guardians are responsible for accounting to the court regarding the status of the guardianship at least annually. JBSmith Law has represented people throughout San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County in guardianship cases.
This is the court process of appointing conservators for an incapacitated adult. The court will appoint a person to serve as conservator of the person of an adult, and will also appoint a person to serve as conservator of the estate of an incapacitated adult. The conservator are responsible for accounting to the court regarding the status of the conservatorship at least annually. JBSmith Law has represented people throughout San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County in conservatorship cases.
Estate planning is the term used to broadly describe the practice of preparing your estate to pass to your chosen beneficiaries upon your death and to allow for its management in the case of your incapacity prior to death. It also involves the nomination of guardians for your minor children and the preparation of assets and trusts to insure their financial security. In our practice, revocable living trusts are the most common vehicle used for transferring assets and providing for the care of minor or disabled beneficiaries. Smaller estates may only require a Will and powers of attorney, documents that are included in all of our estate planning packages. There is no individual or estate that cannot benefit from some form of estate planning. JBSmith Law will mold an estate plan specific to your needs.
A trust is an artificial entity that is able to become the owner of record on all of your assets. It is a bit like a corporation or LLC in that it is really just a bunch of paper that when signed and funded is able to own property. You, as the creator of the Trust, are able to designate who will manage the assets, who will benefit from the assets during your life and who will benefit upon your death. Trusts can be used to meet a multitude of needs and issues. The most common reason for creating a trust is to avoid the long and expensive probate process. A trust can also be used to protect assets from estate taxation, to make assets exempt from being included in the value of an estate for purposes of public benefits qualification, to make charitable gifts after your death, to limit the access to funds while insuring the ongoing care of a child or other beneficiary addicted to drugs or gambling or with heavy debt, and to make sure that beneficiaries and their creditors do not gain access to the funds until they are ready to responsibly manage them. JBSmith will work with you to execute a trust that works for you.
There are two basic types of Wills that we employ here at JBS Law- the “stand-alone Will” and the “pour-over Will.” The stand-alone Will works without a corresponding trust. It is the only document stating your wishes for the disposition of your assets, appointing the Executor of your estate and often appointing guardians for your minor children. The stand-alone Will is in essence a letter to a judge, because the estates of those who pass away with only a Will or with nothing at all must go through probate. We recommend stand-alone The other type of Will- the pour-over Will- is a document that is created to work in conjunction with a revocable living trust. The pour-over Will lists the revocable living trust as the beneficiary of the estate assets and acts only as a “safety net” to ensure that any assets not properly funded into the trust prior to the death of the Settlor are brought into the trust following the Settlor’s death. The terms for disposition are then found in the revocable living trust. JBSmith will work closely with you to draft your will.
Charitable giving is incorporated into estate planning in several ways. The simplest form of charitable planning is including charitable organizations into the dispositive provisions of your trust or will. Charitable planning becomes more complicated when a client wishes to use charitable giving to avoid estate taxation. There are several different charitable trusts and trust provisions that can be employed to accomplish legitimate tax avoidance. If you are interested in charitable gifting at your death and/or feel that charitable gifting is how you would prefer to limit the value of your estate for estate tax purposes, feel free to contact us to discuss your options. Call JBSmith Law for more information about charitable planning.
SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING:
Disabled or elderly beneficiaries accepting public benefits from the State or Federal government can lose their qualification for these benefits if the receipt of an inheritance or other gift raises the value of their estate above the level for qualification. In order to make sure that the receipt of a gift will not disqualify a disabled beneficiary from receiving public benefits, the law allows for the creation of “special needs trusts.” These trusts allow a Trustee to hold assets for the benefit of the disabled beneficiary and to distribute income and principal for items and in the amounts that will allow the beneficiary to live more comfortably but still not lose their eligibility. Special needs trusts can be created and funded prior to the death of the Settlor, or can be incorporated into a revocable living trust to be funded at the Settlor’s death. JBSmith Law can draft a trust to protect your disabled loved one's benefits.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY:
The term “power of attorney” refers to giving another person the power to represent your interests and sign on your behalf during any period of your incapacity. It is a part of any comprehensive estate plan in that it provides for the management of any non-trust assets and day-to-day bill paying activities while you are incapacitated. There are two basic types of powers of attorney: the general power of attorney and the durable power of attorney. The general power of attorney expires upon the incapacity of the principal. It is typically used for short-term purposes, for instance in order to give a spouse power to sign on your behalf while you travel. The durable power of attorney, on the other hand, is more commonly used in estate planning because it survives the incapacity of the principal (hence the word “durable”). JBSmith Law includes and incorporates a durable power of attorney into all of our estate plans.
ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE:
This document is the modern California law form of the durable power of attorney for health care and living will. The purpose of the advance health care directive is found in the title- giving directions concerning your health care wishes in advance. This form appoints your agent to make health care decisions and instructs the agent and the attending physician what life-saving health care measures you do and do not wish to receive in the event that you are unable to capably give these instructions. JBSmith Law includes and incorporates a advanced health care directives into all of our estate plans.
In delicate family matters, turn to JBSmith Law for comprehensive and compassionate legal services. Family law cases are among the most stressful and impassioned proceedings in today’s court system. Frustration over divided assets and shared finances must be tempered with sensitivity for any children caught up in the dispute. Our family law lawyers in Escondido, CA and Vista, CA diligently counsel and represent clients who need to resolve family law issues. JBSmith Law is the experienced advocate you can trust to fight for the best outcome. Schedule a consultation with JBSmith Law today.
Premarital agreements can provide substantial benefit to those considering marriage. However, limitations and other challenges demand caution and careful review of expectations before signing one. Call JBSmith Law in Escondido, CA for a consultation.
JBSmith Law will not only help in stepparent adoptions, but JBS Law will also assist when birthmothers give up a child, and adoptees look for birth parents. JBS Law will guide you through each step in the adoption process, procedural requirements for international adoptions, placing a child for adoption, and even assisted reproduction issues like surrogacy.
While every child has a biological father, not every child necessarily has a legal father. A child does not have a legal father until paternity is established. This service is designed for non-married individuals who have children and want to establish paternity, custody, and support orders.
If you are filing for divorce, you deserve personalized representation and treatment. Every divorce is different, so we take the time to get to know you, your situation, and the issues related to your case. JBS Law will discuss the process and your desired outcomes for your case. You can count on our attorney to provide you with accurate and honest information through every part of the proceedings. We understand going through a divorce can be an emotionally draining experience, as can selling your home. JBSmith Law has represented people throughout San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County in divorce cases.
JBS Law also provides mediation services as an alternative to an emotional dissolution process. Our attorney is a certified mediator.
DIVISION OF MARITAL ASSETS:
California is a community property state. Community property laws can be complicated and require legal assistance to ensure you receive the marital assets you are legally entitled to. JBSmith Law will provide guidance on the division of your marital assets.
INJUNCTIONS FOR PROTECTION:
The court provides restraining orders in cases of domestic violence, civil harassment, and elder abuse. If you are the victim of abuse, the restraining order provides law enforcement with a critical tool for your protection. If you have been falsely accused of violence and are facing a protection order hearing, you should aggressively defend yourself. At JBSmith Law, we work to protect those who are abused, as well as those who are falsely accused of abuse.
CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION:
It can be an emotional and overwhelming experience to establish visitation and child custody. We will work with you to determine what is best for your children, and work with you to develop a parenting plan which meets the needs of your family. JBSmith Law's priority is helping you realistically work out the details of sharing time with your children.
Parents’ incomes, custody agreements, health insurance coverage, and many other factors play into child support. JBSmith Law will provide you with an explanation of the current considerations by the court in calculating the appropriate support amount.
Alimony or spousal support refers to support paid by one spouse to the other. The amount paid is based on one spouse’s need and the ability of the other to pay. This is designed to help the spouse earning less maintain their standard of living as it was before the separation or divorce.
JBSmith Law can help you change or modify your current child and/or spousal support agreement. It is our goal to help you get a fair result that also protects your interests. JBSmith Law will work with clients to modify or terminate alimony agreements.