Estate Planning

Our Process

Our estate planning process is a comprehensive and essential journey that ensures the proper distribution of assets and the protection of your loved ones after you pass away.

Step 1

Step 1 begins with an intake meeting, where we engage in an in-depth discussion to understand your ultimate goals and objectives for the estate plan. During this meeting, we will delve into your assets, family dynamics, and any unique considerations that may shape the plan. We will help you choose suitable agents, trustees, and executors to help carry out your wishes. Additionally, you’ll address important matters such as health care preferences and selecting guardians for minor children if applicable.

Couple doing estate planning.

Step 2

Step 2 involves the drafting of the estate planning documents based on the information gathered in the intake meeting. We pay very close attention to your responses, ensuring that the plan aligns precisely with your intentions. After the first drafts are prepared, you will be given two weeks to review them thoroughly. Once you’ve had ample time to consider the documents, you move on to Step 3.

Step 3

Step 3 is the document review meeting, a crucial phase where we sit down together yet again to discuss the contents of the estate plan in detail. This meeting allows for a deeper understanding of the plan’s design, potential tax implications, and how it addresses various “what if” scenarios. During this meeting, any necessary changes are made in real-time, and specific time frames are set for the completion of the final documents.

Step 4

Finally, in Step 4, comes the signing appointment. At this moment, your estate plan is fully prepared and ready to be executed. It’s a time of celebration and reassurance, as the collaboration between us over the course of several months has resulted in a meticulously crafted estate plan. With the signing of the documents, you can rest assured that your legacy is secured and that you have taken the necessary steps to protect both yourself and your heirs.

Overall, the estate planning process is a thoughtful and meticulous journey, designed to provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your wishes and desires for the future are carefully documented and will be executed according to your intentions.

Getting Started

Crafting an estate plan is a vital step towards securing the future for yourself and your loved ones.

To get started, our process typically begins with an initial 20-minute consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney. You can schedule that consultation today using our Calendly link here:

During this introductory meeting, we briefly discuss your goals, concerns, and any pressing matters related to your estate. I will explain the estate planning process, the various documents involved, and the importance of tailoring the plan to meet your unique circumstances. This consultation allows us to get to know each other and assess whether we are a good fit for what you and your family need.

A family consulting about Estate Planning Services

Following the initial consultation, the next step involves completing a detailed 15-page questionnaire. While this might initially sound daunting, it is a crucial document that provides my firm with comprehensive information about your family structure, assets, and financial situation. The questionnaire is designed to ensure that no relevant aspect of your estate is overlooked and helps us gain a holistic understanding of your circumstances. This information will be the foundation for creating a personalized estate plan that aligns precisely with your wishes and addresses any potential complexities or challenges.

California Estate Plans

A comprehensive California estate plan typically consists of several key components designed to protect your assets, ensure your healthcare preferences are honored, and provide for your loved ones after your passing.

The first crucial element is a Revocable Living Trust. This trust allows you to transfer your assets into the trust during your lifetime, providing for the seamless management and distribution of your estate without the need for probate. By avoiding probate, your estate can maintain privacy, reduce costs, and speed up the distribution process for your beneficiaries.

A family interested in California estate plans.

The second essential component of a California estate plan is a Last Will and Testament. While a trust handles most of your assets, a will is still necessary to cover any assets inadvertently left outside the trust and to name guardians for minor children. A will also serves as a fail-safe mechanism to capture any assets not accounted for in the trust, ensuring they are distributed according to your wishes.

The third key aspect of a California estate plan is an Advance Healthcare Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances. These documents address your medical and financial affairs in the event of incapacity, allowing you to appoint trusted individuals to make healthcare decisions and manage your finances on your behalf. By having these directives in place, you retain control over your healthcare decisions even when you are unable to express your preferences, and you designate someone to handle your financial affairs, ensuring your interests are safeguarded.

In summary, a comprehensive California estate plan should include a Revocable Living Trust to avoid probate, a Last Will and Testament to account for any remaining assets and name guardians, and Advance Healthcare Directives along with Durable Powers of Attorney to address medical and financial matters during incapacity. These key components work together to create a robust and personalized estate plan that protects your assets, ensures your wishes are upheld, and provides for your family’s well-being.

If you are interested in a more in-depth analysis, Marlyn recently gave a 45-minute presentation at the San Francisco Public Library which is available here for you to stream


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If you’d like to get started on your plan today, book your consultation here:

Texas Estate Plans

A well-crafted estate plan is essential for every Texan to protect their assets, ensure the care of minor children, and preserve their unique interests, such as homestead rights and oil and gas rights.

First, Homestead Rights in Texas: One of the vital components of a Texas estate plan is understanding and preserving homestead rights. In Texas, homestead laws grant certain protections to the primary residence of a homeowner, ensuring it is shielded from most creditors’ claims. Properly designating your homestead in your estate plan is crucial to ensure its protection and secure its smooth transfer to your chosen beneficiaries upon your passing. Understanding the intricacies of the Texas homestead exemption and incorporating it into your estate plan can help preserve your family’s shelter and financial security.

Marlyn Schulz, Attorney at Law

Second, Guardianship Nominations for Minor Children: For parents of minor children, nominating guardians is a crucial aspect of a Texas estate plan. Designating guardians allows parents to ensure their children will be cared for by trusted individuals if something happens to them. Through a well-thought-out will, parents can name preferred guardians and outline their wishes regarding the upbringing and welfare of their children. This component provides peace of mind, knowing that their children’s care and future are in capable hands.

Third, Oil and Gas Rights in Estate Planning: For many Texans, oil and gas rights can represent a significant portion of their assets. Including provisions for the management and distribution of oil and gas interests in an estate plan is essential. Proper estate planning allows individuals to retain control over these valuable rights during their lifetime and ensure they are passed on efficiently and effectively to their chosen beneficiaries.

Let’s dispel the misconception that every Texan needs a trust-based estate plan. While trust-based estate plans offer various benefits, they are not necessary for all Texans. Many people can adequately protect their assets and achieve their estate planning goals through other means, such as wills, beneficiary designations, and joint ownership arrangements. Trusts can be more complex and expensive to set up and maintain, making them more suitable for specific situations, such as providing for special needs beneficiaries or avoiding probate in states with complex probate processes. A tailored estate plan, created with the guidance of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, can effectively meet the needs of most Texans without the added complexities of a trust.

In conclusion, a comprehensive Texas estate plan should encompass key components such as preserving homestead rights, nominating guardians for minor children, and addressing oil and gas interests. Additionally, while trust-based estate plans can be advantageous for certain circumstances, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Texans can achieve their estate planning objectives with thoughtful planning and tailored legal strategies that best suit their unique circumstances and objectives. Consulting with my firm is essential to create an effective estate plan that meets their needs and protects their loved ones’ futures.

If you’d like to get started on your plan today, book your consultation here: