We are Orange County's comprehensive estate planning firm.
Estate Planning • Trust Administration & Probate • Legacy Planning
We have been a leader in providing legal services to South Orange County since 1974.
For more than 48 years, our attorneys have helped more than 6,100 individuals, families, and family-owned businesses with a variety of legal needs through the use of creative solutions. Our goal is much more than the protection of assets; it incorporates the preservation of family legacies. We have named this holistic, comprehensive approach to Estate Planning “Legacy Wealth Planning.” Legacy Wealth Planning is much more than simply drafting a trust – it is a broad spectrum of services intended to provide you and your family with a lifetime of service to ensure that your estate and your legacy pass to your heirs in the smoothest, least costly manner possible.
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Powers of Attorney for Property
- Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care
- Incapacity Planning
- Charitable Giving Strategies
- LGBT Estate Planning
Advanced Estate Planning
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Family Limited Partnerships
- Special Needs Trusts
- Medicaid Planning
- VA Planning
- Emergency Medicaid Qualification
As a comprehensive estate planning firm, The Gibbs Law Firm, APC provides its clients with the following services:
Who We Are
As members of Lawyers With Purpose, we've made a significant commitment to providing a level and breadth of services in Estate Planning that is unparalleled. Lawyers with Purpose is a membership organization of the top Estate Planning and Elder Law attorneys in the country. We are proud to be one of a small handful of firms in Southern California to be members. Lawyers with Purpose provides comprehensive support, and as members we subscribe to a stricter standard than the average Estate Planning attorney.
Estate Planning FAQ
What is estate planning?
Estate planning allows a couple or an individual to arrange for the management of their personal and financial affairs should they become incompetent or disabled, and ultimately for the smooth transfer of an individual's property after death. An estate plan is a compilation of multiple documents which may include a trust and/or a will.
Why do I need to plan?
Without a plan, your heirs may be required to file a Probate action to settle your estate. Probate actions can take years, and can cost significantly more-than administration of a properly-planned estate. A plan provides for the orderly, smooth transfer of assets to your intended heirs. A well prepared plan will help to mitigate or eliminate any taxes imposed on the transfer of assets on your passing.
What is my “estate”?
An estate consists of all property owned at death before it is distributed by will, trust, or intestacy laws. An estate may contain both real property (real estate, including houses and investment properties) and personal property (all other property, including bank accounts, securities, jewelry and automobiles).
What happens when someone dies without a will?
A person who passes without a will is referred to as intestate. Each state has enacted a set of intestacy laws that make provisions for how a deceased individual's assets should be distributed if they pass without a will. Since each state has the authority to create its own intestacy laws, the procedures that apply after an intestate individual passes vary greatly. In general, however, each state's laws provide a list of the decedent's next of kin in the order in which they will receive a portion of the decedent's estate. For example, a state may specify that the decedent's surviving spouse receives the decedent's property, or that the decedent's surviving spouse receives one-half of the estate and the decedent's surviving children receive the other one-half of the estate in equal shares. These laws vary, particularly where the surviving children are from a previous marriage and unrelated to the surviving spouse.
In the event the decedent is single and has no surviving children, the decedent's parents typically are next in line to receive the decedent's property. If the decedent has no surviving parents at the time of his or her death, the estate is divided among the decedent's surviving siblings in equal shares. If an individual passes without surviving siblings, his or her estate is divided among his or her siblings' decedents. It is important to look up the intestacy rules that apply in your state.
What is a living will/advance healthcare directive?
An advance healthcare directive provides specific instructions to healthcare providers should a range of circumstances arise. For example, if you are in a coma, in a vegetative state, terminally ill, or so sick that you are unable to communicate, the advanced healthcare directive can let your treating physicians know what measures they should use to treat you. In many cases, people use advanced healthcare directives to let their physicians know that they do not want any extraordinary life-saving measures used.
What is probate?
Probate is the process that courts use to enforce the provisions of a will and deal with any disputes regarding the decedent's estate. After an individual dies, the person named in his or her will as executor will file papers with the court informing the court that the individual has passed. If there is no executor named in the will, the court will appoint someone to take on the role of executor. Next, the executor must prove the veracity of the individual's will and provide the court with an inventory of the decedent's property and debts, as well as a list of people who are named in the will as beneficiaries. A beneficiary is someone who is provided with a gift in the will.