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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all! I know this is a bit random but I'm wondering if anybody has a recommendation for an attorney in San Francisco or just south of SF area (Daly City, San Bruno, etc.) to do a living trust.

I know it is strange that I'm asking on a MTB forum but I have always received the best recommendations for everything here!

Thanks!

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I have no experience with him, but his sister was a high school friend of mine:
 

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I can give you the names of a couple of practitioners here in the east bay that I refer my clients to for estate planning needs if you want to p.m. When looking I suggest the following:

1) Use someone who does estate planning (which may include probate litigation) as their primary practice. The law is regularly changing and hard to keep up with if you don't practice in the area regularly.
2) While not a guarantee of quality, the California Bar does have a certified estate specialist designation. You can search by county here: Certified Specialist Search
3) Going rate for a basic estate plan with mutual I love you wills, durable power of attorneys, advanced health care directives, and a revocable trust is about $2,500-4,000.
4) Anyone you hire should take care of submitting the property retitling of your real property into the revocable trust for you. If they want to have you do that yourself or submit it to the recorder yourself, run. This is a huge potential malpractice issue and no decent practitioner has the client do it themselves (note I have one client I have allowed to do so, but the person is a real estate professional).
5) Stay away from the self help and document preparation services, they are a disaster. If you think you want to do it youself, go through Nolo Press. Nolo is a legimate legal self help provider that has excellent software and publications for preparing your own estate plan. It is not hard to do, but you must follow all the steps.

Keep in mind, that the real reason for a revocable trust is to avoid probate of real property. If you do not own real estate, you likely do not need a revocable trust. Virtually all financial accounts can be transferred by beneficiary/payable on death designations which are not subject to probate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can give you the names of a couple of practitioners here in the east bay that I refer my clients to for estate planning needs if you want to p.m. When looking I suggest the following:

1) Use someone who does estate planning (which may include probate litigation) as their primary practice. The law is regularly changing and hard to keep up with if you don't practice in the area regularly.
2) While not a guarantee of quality, the California Bar does have a certified estate specialist designation. You can search by county here: Certified Specialist Search
3) Going rate for a basic estate plan with mutual I love you wills, durable power of attorneys, advanced health care directives, and a revocable trust is about $2,500-4,000.
4) Anyone you hire should take care of submitting the property retitling of your real property into the revocable trust for you. If they want to have you do that yourself or submit it to the recorder yourself, run. This is a huge potential malpractice issue and no decent practitioner has the client do it themselves (note I have one client I have allowed to do so, but the person is a real estate professional).
5) Stay away from the self help and document preparation services, they are a disaster. If you think you want to do it youself, go through Nolo Press. Nolo is a legimate legal self help provider that has excellent software and publications for preparing your own estate plan. It is not hard to do, but you must follow all the steps.

Keep in mind, that the real reason for a revocable trust is to avoid probate of real property. If you do not own real estate, you likely do not need a revocable trust. Virtually all financial accounts can be transferred by beneficiary/payable on death designations which are no subject to probate.
Good stuff thank you so much!… and that’s why you ask for recommendations on MTBR NorCal!


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All the good advice has already been covered, so my advice would be to get some references from some dead people. Ask them how their trusts worked out after they died.
This is actually pretty genius - but now I need a referral to a good reliable medium - I wonder if Miss Cleo is still available for consults?
 

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If this living trust entails doing a trust for a child with special needs, can refer someone in the east bay that specializes in those.
 

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All the good advice has already been covered, so my advice would be to get some references from some dead people. Ask them how their trusts worked out after they died.
Dead people tell no tales.

Rather ironically, my stepmother got remarried and wanted to do some estate planning with her new husband. I took them to meet with an estate planner, introduced them and left, not wanting to interfere with their decisions and assuming he had been hired. Fast forward 7 years, she passes away and I and my stepsiblings find out she and he left without retaining him and went to one of those do it yourself documents services instead. His kids then took her husband, three days after my stepmother died, while he was totally incompetent and had him sign an amendment removing my stepsister as trustee and all of my stepsiblings as beneficiaries from the trust (while making themselves trustees and beneficiaries) because the trust document allowed for amendments to trustees and beneficiaries after the first spouse died (very unusual).

It took 2.5 years and several hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees (just for our side, they spent even more) to get it resolved (we ended up recovering most of the assets). They saved $1,500 by not hiring a qualified person and going to a trust mill. Penny wise and pound foolish.
 

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If you're willing to go a little further south to San Mateo, PM me for a recommendation. We used an attorney here on the recommendation from a colleague, and we think she's been great. She handled everything really smoothly, had good recommendations, and caught some issues that a previous attorney didn't.
 

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One more thing I should point out, the price an attorney charges has about zero correlation with the quality of their work. I have litigated against $800 an hour attorneys that are pathetically incompetent and $200 an hour insurance defense attorneys who are phenomenal. Last year I had to help a relative of a friend hire a new elder law/estate attorney after he paid $8,000 for an irrevocable trust that was defective and should have been about $2,500 when done properly.
 

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I have an arrangement with my family attorney. I don't ask him for bicycle advice and I don't ask for legal advice on this forum.

come to think of it, I also ignore the bike advice here... 😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have an arrangement with my family attorney. I don't ask him for bicycle advice and I don't ask for legal advice on this forum.

come to think of it, I also ignore the bike advice here... 😁
Not sure what point you are trying to make - I don't see where anybody asked for legal advice
 
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