Estate Planning

Preserving your wealth during your lifetime and for future generations

Whether you are planning to protect your estate during your lifetime, for your children and future generations, or for your health care, we can help with all aspects:

  1. Preparing Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
  2. Will drafting
  3. Powers of Attorney for financial matters and health care
  4. Advance Health Care Directives (living wills)
  5. Addressing estate tax, income tax and property tax issues
  6. Choosing the appropriate Trustee, Executor and Agent
  7. Establish or administer guardianships and conservatorships

Estate planning documents should be flexible and designed to fit your unique needs, as opposed to simply plugging you into a generic form.  We work closely with you to determine your goals and create precise instruments to carry out your intentions.

Securing your legacy

You have worked hard for your family, so knowing that you have planned for their long-term well-being and financial security can bring you great comfort. We analyze your estate and strategize the best means of transferring your assets to your heirs, minimizing taxes, protecting your children, supporting your charitable causes and generally protecting your loved ones, including caring for your pets.

Drafting your Last Will and Testament

A will is essential at every stage of your life. Your will provides the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes.  A will is necessary if you intend to leave property to a person or entity other than a blood relative such as a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, California law and the court will determine how your property is distributed and who cares for your children, making decisions that might not reflect your desires.

As your life changes so might your estate plan.  You should update your will periodically.  We can draft valid codicils that address changes in your financial situation, marital status, number of children and charitable interests.

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

Most clients today put their assets into a Revocable Trust to avoid probate and conservatorship. Doing so will also cause your assets to avoid a claim by the State of California if you receive funds from Medi-Cal during your lifetime. Because a Revocable Trust, if established and funded properly, will avoid probate, you will avoid the statutory probate attorney and executor fees which can be substantial, delays in distribution of your estate, and the public exposure of your assets. We recommend a Living Trust in nearly all cases. 

The Irrevocable Trust is generally used to avoid estate taxes and sometimes used to qualify you for Medi-Cal benefits for long term convalescent home care. The size of your estate may indicate the appropriateness of an Irrevocable Trust for you. For clients with large estates, an irrevocable generation skipping trust can be a very effective way for avoiding estate tax not only on your death but also on your children’s deaths, saving 40% (under current law) of their estate from being paid to the government. This can amount to millions of dollars and can prevent the need to sell trust assets to pay the tax.

Power of Attorney for Health Care and Advance Health Care Directive

This document designates a person to make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated. This document is also essential to avoid a conservatorship which can be costly and brings the court into your personal decision making. This document is also important because you can advise your agent what “end of life decisions” you would like made for you. This may mean when and how to “pull the plug”. It also designates who has the authority to direct your funeral and burial arrangements.

Appointment of Guardians

In your will you have the opportunity to appoint guardians for your minor children. This is extremely important for couples with young children. It can avoid disputes among your relatives. These same individuals can also be appointed as trustees over a continuing trust for your children so that their assets can be more efficiently managed and protected.

Contact an estate planning law firm you can trust

For comprehensive estate planning services in Sutter and Placer Counties and vicinity, as well as throughout California, call Guth & Changaris, A Professional Law Corporation at 530-674-9841 or or contact us via email at [email protected] or online to schedule a consultation.

Contact the Firm


Yuba City Office


474 Century Park Drive,
Suite 300,
Yuba City, California 95991



Roseville Office


919 Reserve Drive,
Suite 118,
Roseville, California 95678