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California Probate, Trust and Wills

Experienced California trust and estates attorney can draft your last will and testament
A will is essential at every stage of your life, providing you with the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes for what will happen upon your death. A will is necessary if you intend to leave property to someone who is not your blood relative, e.g., a domestic partner, a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your beloved pet — and the decisions the court makes might not reflect your desires. Attorney Sherry Lee Collins has 22 years of experience and can assist by drafting a valid will to ensure your intentions are honored.

Changing your will
As your life evolves, so may your estate plan. You may need to update your will throughout your life. We draft valid codicils that address changes in your financial situation, marital status, parenthood status, philanthropic interests and general lifestyle decisions.

Creating an optimal estate plan
Drafting an effective will requires more than filling in a form. If a court determines that your will is invalid, your desires will not be honored upon your death. Attorney Collins meticulously drafts your will and considers all aspects of your estate plan. She reviews your family arrangements, financial situation and philosophical goals to guide you in making the best estate planning decisions, and then she drafts your will accordingly.

Probate follows what is typically a painful emotional loss. Attorney Collins has 22 years of experience in probate law and knows how to ease the stress of probate by guiding executors and beneficiaries through the complex process.

The process of probate
Most executors have rarely if ever probated a will and know little about it. Our office can guide you through the complex probate process, including:

  • Filing the will with the California probate court
  • Developing the best strategy for fairly and expeditiously probating the estate
  • Finding and collecting assets
  • Closing and opening bank accounts
  • Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate
  • Paying estate taxes
  • Valuing, managing, preserving and liquidating the estate
  • Locating beneficiaries
  • Hiring experts, when appropriate
  • Valuing and managing the estate

Our attorneys assist executors with the arduous process of collecting, managing, valuing, protecting and liquidating the assets of the estate. We have a team of experts available to assist in every aspect of estate probate. When appropriate, the firm calls upon accountants, financial advisors, real estate agents, property managers and other professionals to assist with executor duties. We can access expert opinions about unique assets such as antiques, rare books, automobiles and other collectables for accurate valuation, management and possible sale.

Probate disputes
Even in apparently straightforward estate cases, there are sometimes disputes between beneficiaries. Attorney Collins’ professional courtroom presence can calm the emotionally-charged process of probating a challenged will or disputed executor or judicial decision. When it is in the best interests of our client to preserve cordial familial relationships, she is adept at mediating these disputes. When necessary, she assertively defends our client’s beneficiary rights within the California probate court.

Revocable living trusts are often used in place of the probate process to reduce the emotional pressures of probate as well as to eliminate the potentially high cost of probate.  Revocable living trusts are especially beneficial when real property is involved.  Attorney Sherry Lee Collins can explain whether or not a revocable living trust makes sense for each client who speaks with her.

Contact Sherry Lee Collins today
Sherry Lee Collins serves clients in Riverside and San Bernardino County. Call our firm at 951-784-6150 or contact her online for a free consultation.