About Estate Planning

Historically, estate planning has been reserved for the wealthy who can afford to hire attorneys to write the documents in a foreign language called “legalese” for them. The middle class has been largely left out of participating in this service and therefore forced to go through the expensive and stressful experience of Probate Court. As technology and knowledge advance, so too should access to this information. That is why we created Your Legacy Lives — to share the wealth of information surrounding estate planning and empower you to take control of your personal, medical, and financial decisions. You have the ability to create an estate plan, use legal terms powerfully, and avoid being controlled by the Probate Court system.

What is probate and why does everyone wants to avoid it?

The probate court was created to “protect us” from the bad people who might, like vultures, descend upon us and our families during a time of crisis and steal our assets. So the court freezes our financial accounts until the court order is obtained. That means no one has access to our much needed bank accounts for several weeks to several months. Fortunately, most of us are not surrounded by “vultures” and trust our loved ones more than the court system. Probate is public (not private), takes a long time (over a year on average) and can be very expensive. A typical probate for a $700,000 family home in Alameda, California would cost about $36,000. The probate court requires certain procedures be followed which doesn’t allow for flexibility. For example, in probate we are forced to refinance mortgages at a time where it may not be possible or advantageous to do so.

What happens if I dont have an Estate Plan?

Without an estate plan, a judge makes the financial and legal decisions for you and your loved ones when you aren’t able!  Without obtaining a court order, current state and federal privacy laws do not allow for your loved ones to talk to your doctor, let alone make medical decisions for you if you are incapable. Often, incapacity is triggered by an “accident” which can result in your receiving a large financial settlement. Most of us would not want the probate court in charge of our spending and investment decisions, especially not for the rest of our life.

Why do i need Estate Planning?

If you are 18 years of age and have a body, you have enough to plan your estate! Estate planning ensures that your personal, medical  and financial affairs are in order in the event of your death or incapacity. Estate planning allows you to control your money, control your medical decisions, plan for the care of your children, keep your personal affairs private, and empower yourself and your loved ones to be prepared for life’s uncertainties. 

Why Choose Your Legacy Lives

Your Legacy Lives was developed specifically for people like you — average citizens with no legal training who care about their families and want to protect them but may not have the financial resources necessary to pay for attorney fees. We listened to what stops people from creating estate plans and designed our system specifically to address those needs. Your Legacy Lives was designed to help people overcome common barriers to creating estate plans such as:

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