-The Law Office of Mary Ann Tardiff recently announced new fixed fees for estate plans. The Atascadero-based attorney provides estate planning, wills, and trusts to Paso Robles, Atascadero and the California Central Coast.
Fixed fees, along with making house calls, are part of Tardiff’s common sense approach to her law practice. Practicing law for over 30 years, Tardiff emphasizes working with people’s daily lifestyles. “People have lives that don’t always fit into normal fee structures or even the 8–5 office structure,” said Tardiff. “Fixed fees are a down-to-earth way to help my clients take care of important estate planning. So is my house-call service. I’m a person like everyone else, who just happens to be an attorney.”
“Why do I need an estate plan? I’m not rich,” is the response from most people when the topic comes up. However, wealth isn’t a requirement for an estate plan, and many are surprised to discover how much value their possessions are actually worth. Anyone who has assets that are worth more than $184,500 total needs a will and trust if living in Paso Robles or anywhere in California.
In California, when someone dies, leaving an estate valued at more than $184,500 that is not included in a trust the California Probate Court distributes assets according to state law, regardless of someone’s wishes. Anyone who owns real estate in California has an estate worth more than $184,500, even if the only property is the old family home that was purchased in the 1960s.
A will alone can be contested, drawing out legal proceedings for months or years, and there is no guarantee the decedent’s wishes will be honored. Since there is more to an estate plan than just deciding which relative gets which assets, it’s even more critical to set up an estate plan that includes a trust and a will. The trust makes sure that important matters are carried out according to the decedent’s wishes, including:
- Guardianships for minor children or dependent adults
- Beneficiaries of insurance policies
- Disposition of personal property, including the family home and any other real estate
- Care for pets
- Living will, or Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD), which specifies health care in the event of serious or life-threatening injury and end-of-life wishes.
One of the benefits of an estate plan is to legally avoid probate and make sure that assets are distributed according to one’s wishes upon that person’s death.
Whether you are a young person starting out, a family, or a senior citizen, Mary Ann Tardiff can help you with an estate plan, will and trust in Paso Robles or anywhere on the Central Coast that is appropriate to your circumstances or make changes to an existing trust.
Mary Ann Tardiff is an experienced attorney who can advise you on the most successful ways to achieve your estate planning goals. Through detailed analysis, Mary Ann can:
- Inventory all of your assets
- Assist with retitling of assets and preparing deeds and transferring those assets so they are properly held in your trust
- Establish guardianship for minor children, dependent adults who rely on your care and even beloved pets
- Assist with setting up college funds
- Make sure favorite philanthropic causes are included in your estate plan
- Draft a will
- Assist in preparing the AHCD
- Provide guidance for power of attorney related to wills, living wills and trusts
- Establish trusts and other legal entities beneficial to the estate
Law Office of Mary Ann Tardiff
3540 El Camino Real
Atascadero, CA 93422