ESTATE PLANNING      (818) 949-0100

Redondo Beach, CA
​(310) 543-2545
1150 Foothill Blvd. Suite J​
​La Canada, CA 91011​
(818) 949-0100; FAX (818) 949-0104​
Robert K. Smith,​
​Estate Planning, Probate and
Tax Attorney​


Trustsmiths offers a free one hour consulation for a Living Trust Esate Plan and tailors Complete Living Trust Estate Plans to his clients needs.

Click on the titles below for more information

Why do I Need A Will?

To name beneficiaries who will inherit your assets when you die.
​To name choices for guardians to care for minor children.

What Happens If I Do Not Have a Will?

The State will decide who your beneficiaries will be (“intestacy”).
A Judge will decide who will care for your minor children without your input.
​See Living Trust information for a comparison between a Will and Living Trust.

Are All Wills the Same?

There is not one Will form to be used for all situations.
A Will should be "customized" to fit your situation.
​A customized Will can include tax planning provisions as well as testamentary trusts to provide for management and control of inheritances.

What Is A Living Trust?

A Living Trust is used instead of a Will to name beneficiaries for inheritances.
​A Living Trust allows your beneficiaries to avoid Probate, a court proceeding that takes time and is expensive.

How Do You Make a Living Trust?

A Living Trust is created with a document called a Trust Agreement.
​You name beneficiaries in the Trust Agreement as you do in a Will.
​The maker of the trust is named as the “Trustee” (legal owner of trust assets) and lifetime beneficiary (consumer of trust assets).
​You name a Successor Trustee who is responsible to distribute trust assets or manage trust assets for beneficiaries, including the trust maker if incapacitated during lifetime.

Do All Living Trusts Avoid Probate?

You must transfer title to your assets to the trust in order to avoid probate (“Funding”).
Real Estate is transferred to a Living Trust by executing a Quitclaim Deed to the trust.
​Newly acquired assets are funded without changing the Living Trust document.

What Is A Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document used to name another person to make decisions for you.
Generally, there may be a Power of Attorney for financial matters and one for health care.
​A Power of Attorney is called “Durable” when the Agent may act if the maker becomes incapacitated.

How Do You Make a Power of Attorney?

The maker of the Power of Attorney is called the “Principal” and the person named to make decisions for the Principal is called the “Agent.”
​The powers granted to the Agent, either financial or health care decision-making, are set out in the Power of Attorney document utilized.

When Does the Power of Attorney Take Effect?

The Power of Attorney will specify whether the Agent can act immediately or only after a specific event occurs, such as the Principal being declared incapacitated.
​A “Springing Power” is often used in estate planning since the Agent does not have the power to act until the Principal is declared incapacitated, usually by doctors.

What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

The Health Care Power of Attorney is also known as a Living Will/Health Care Proxy or an Advance Health Care Directive. 
​An Agent is named to make health care decisions for the Principal, usually because the Principal is unable to act at some point in time due to health reasons.