SonoraLaw.com

Hello. I am an estate planning attorney.

CYNTHIA R. HADELL

ATTORNEY AT LAW

(209) 532-6459  

Business hours:

Monday - Thursday 9 A.M. - 5 P.M. 

Friday 9 A.M. - Noon 

Location:

316 S. Stewart, Suite 2

Sonora, CA 95370 



My office is located less than a block from Washington Street, at the corner of Stewart Street and Gold Street (directly behind the Valero gas station).  It is wheelchair accessible and parking is not a challenge.  I have a first-floor office  for my clients who do not climb stairs.


I can help you to determine what you and your family will need to have in place in order to handle your estate in the event that you become unable to manage your financial affairs for yourself and also at the time of your death.

What is "my estate"?   Your estate includes your home, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, retirement assets and IRAs, life insurance, personal items and family heirlooms . 

Why do you need a plan?  Generally, my clients want to be able to make the decisions concerning WHO will inherit their assets at death and would like to accomplish that distribution with a minimum of expense.  That means that you need to plan who will inherit each asset, and execute that plan.  Signing a Will permits you to take control of the "who" portion of this issue.  Signing a Trust (sometimes referred to as a "revocable living trust", "family trust" or "inter vivos trust") permits you to avoid probate, which is an expensive part of the process.

What is probate?  When a person dies leaving assets in his or her name, family members and other loved ones  soon (or later) discover that access to the assets no longer exists.  Probate is a court procedure that permits the heirs at law (when there is no Will) or the beneficiaries named in a Will to get authority from the court to administer the estate, pay the estate's bills, collect the estate assets, and ultimately, to obtain a court order distributing the assets to the appropriate persons after the payment of executor and attorney's fees, court expenses, and other estate administration expenses.

How can a Trust help?  When a single individual or a couple create a revocable trust, they transfer the assets that would otherwise become probate assets into their names as trustee of their trust.  They can retain the right to remove any assets from the trust at any time, spend their money, give away their money, reinvest their money, or change the beneficiaries or other terms of the trust at any time.  A revocable trust can also be completely revoked by the persons who created it.  Upon the death of the persons who made the trust, the assets held in the trust can be transferred by the successor trustee to the beneficiaries named in the trust without any involvement of the probate court. 

Do I need legal help to determine whether I need a trust and to prepare the trust documents?  You do not want a "fill-in-the-blank" trust or estate plan.  You need the knowledge of what actually happens under California law at the time of death, what your options are for avoiding probate and otherwise simplifying matters for your family, and the best and clearest means of accomplishing your wishes.  An estate planning attorney can help you and provide a wealth of information to you to help you make the decisions that will benefit your family.