Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate


Legal planning and preparation for the twilight years should involve a knowledgeable attorney. Likewise, when issues arise having to do with the welfare, treatment, and fiduciary needs of the elderly it is sometimes necessary to involve a lawyer that understands the legal issues that surround this sometimes complex area of law.


Our Los Banos based attorneys also handle cases involving estate planning including, wills, trusts, medical care directives, and probate. We also help deal with legal issues of elder law that have to do with cases involving the unique needs of our aging population. This may include guardianship, elder neglect, Medicaid, disability, fraud, powers of attorney, tax issues, discrimination, conservator ship, fiduciary responsibilities, and other items dealing with the elderly and/or end of life litigation.


- Estate Planning -


Estate Planning, also known as Inheritance Planning should involve legally notifying interested parties of the intentions that you have for the distribution of your assets and the care of your children in the event of your death. Significant stress to your survivors may be reduced by solid estate planning which includes wills, living trusts, and other legal directives.


The lawyers of Germino, Amaral & Jordan are well versed in setting up these legal instruments and may be able to help you to put together the legal documents needed to insure that your estate is distributed as per your wishes.


Wills - The most common legal document for distributing a person's estate is known as a will, or a "last will and testament". A will should outline in clear legal terms what you wish for the distribution of your estate. In it you can name those who will receive items or money (beneficiaries) as well as naming a guardian for any minor children. You can also specify funeral, burial, and other last wishes. Wills are subject to probate in the state of California.


Living Trusts - A living trust is an arrangement created by a legal document which is used to disseminate property to beneficiaries. Living Trusts differ from wills in that they can usually bypass probate which can include significant expenses and time lost as the probate case winds its way through the court system. Many times, living trusts can also require the drafting of an ancillary will so as to name guardians for minor children and make other arrangements which can not be conveyed legally in a living trust.


Living Wills should NOT be confused with living trusts. A living will is part of good end of life planning and allows the person to make advance decisions about how he or she should be treated in the event that he or she is unable to make decisions. This can include items such as whether or not a person should be placed on life support, whether or not to resuscitate the person if their organs fail, as well as a number of other possible directives including such as instructions for medical personnel to use, or not to use, 'heroic' measures to keep the person alive in the event of major medical events.


Living wills should also include Health Care Power Of Attorney documents which will allow you to appoint a trusted individual to make health case and or financial decisions for you in the event that you can not make these for yourself.


The attorneys of Germino, Amaral, and Jordan have expertise in drafting solid wills, living trusts, and living wills as well as the associated documents such as those dealing with creating medical or financial powers of attorney. Please contact us to make arrangements for your needs in these areas.


- Probate Attorneys -


Probate is the legal process whereby the estate of a deceased person is administered or disseminated. All claims against an estate are decided in probate, which can sometimes be a lengthy and costly process. The probate court in Merced County will decide the validity of a person's will, choose an executor, and decide numerous issues which surround the execution of a person's last will and testament.


In the event a person dies without a will or trust, the deceased person's estate is considered "intestate" and probate MUST be entered into.


Probate cases can be quite complex or they can be fairly routine depending on many factors including the relationship of the survivors, size of the estate, tax issues, debt issues, and a myriad of other factors.


Our attorneys have dealt with many probate cases and may be able to help in your case.


- Elder Law -


Elder Law can be defined as the large and varied body of legal issues that surround individuals who are part of an aging population. Elder law litigation often includes complex and interwoven issues concerning everything from neglect to fraud, powers of attorney, discrimination, conservatorship, fiduciary responsibilities, and other items dealing with the elderly and/or end of life litigation.


At Germino, Amaral, and Jordan, we are adept at representing the elderly as well as individuals or businesses who are tasked with giving care to members of our aging population.


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Germino, Amaral & Jordan primarily serves Merced County and the Westside. This includes but is not limited to Los Banos, Dos Palos, Santa Nella, Merced, Gustine, Patterson, Firebaugh, Newman, Chowchilla and the rural areas in between.


If you believe that you have need of an experienced attorney who will represent you by helping to sort out contracts or legal disputes of any kind please contact us first. If we are not able to represent you we may be able to direct you to another local attorney who can.