Areas of Practice

At Waite, Jacobs & Atkinson, we assist our clients in these areas of law:

  • Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts
  • Our primary objectives are to help you determine and accomplish your desires regarding your estate, and prepare the documents you need to accomplish those desires. We will help you arrange your financial affairs so that, at death, there is an orderly distribution of the assets to your loved ones and payment of any debts or liabilities. We also evaluate your estate so as to minimize the tax consequences at your death. As part of your planning, we will help you understand the pros and cons of one type of estate plan over another, such as a “Simple Will” versus a “Living Trust.” Once you have made your decisions, we will prepare the documents needed.
  • Trust Administration
  • Trusts serve a number of important functions, including management of a person’s financial affairs during their lifetime, payment of their debts on death, minimizing taxes, and either distribution or retention of assets in a continuing trust following the maker’s death. All of those functions are generally referred to as “Trust Administration.” The manager of a Trust, charged with the power and responsibility of trust administration, is the “Trustee” or “Successor Trustee.” The Trustee’s duties include inventorying and securing assets, giving notices to beneficiaries, governmental agencies and creditors, paying bills, filing taxes for the decedent and for the Trust, liquidating assets, accounting to trust beneficiaries, and distributing assets to the beneficiaries as directed by the trust. The Trustee is held to a very high standard under the law for all actions taken regarding a trust and its assets, and can be held responsible for their decisions. To that end, it is important that Trustees seek legal counsel so that they know what is required, when it is required, and how to accomplish it. Often, we advise the surviving spouse who remains as Trustee of a trust established by both spouses; we then advise the Successor Trustee who steps in at the death of the surviving spouse.
  • Probate
  • Probate is the court supervised process of transferring title of assets from a deceased person to those living people who are entitled to receive them. We guide Executors, Administrators and other personal representatives in fulfilling their fiduciary obligations as they process and settle probate estates. Our services include assisting our clients with inventorying and valuing estate assets; addressing the estate’s debts and liabilities; selling estate assets; and distributing the assets once the legal prerequisites have been met. We prepare all necessary documentation and make appearances on behalf of our clients before the Court. If alternatives to formal probate administration are available, we explain those alternatives, and are prepared to pursue them.
  • Health Care Documents
  • A major component of an estate plan is a set of health care documents, which empowers your inner circle of trusted family and friends to assist you with your most personal needs. One such document is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. It enables a person you appoint to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so yourself, including choice of doctors, when and how to administer medications, where you will live, and, at your death, whether you will be buried or cremated, and whether you will be an organ donor. It can also include an Advance Health Care Directive, in which you direct your health care providers as to what life-sustaining measures you want, or do not want, if: (1) you have an incurable or irreversible condition that will result in your death in a relatively short period of time; (2) you are unconscious with no reasonable expectation of regaining consciousness; or (3) the likely risks and burdens outweigh the benefits of treatment. Critical benefits of such a document include relieving the burden from your loved ones, and speaking for you at a time that you no longer are able to do so. We also discuss with our clients the importance of a HIPAA/CMIA Authorization, which authorizes the release of medical information to your chosen agents, notwithstanding the privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act and the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.
  • Conservatorship
  • When an adult cannot care for themselves or properly manage their finances, a court can establish a Conservatorship of their person, or estate, or both, by appointing a Conservator to take protective responsibility for the vulnerable adult. The court typically appoints a family member or close friend to serve as Conservator, but professional Conservators also may be appointed in appropriate cases. We represent clients in the process of petitioning for, opposing, and implementing the terms of a Conservatorship. We guide our clients through the process, including providing all required documentation to the Court and making court appearances on their behalves..
  • Transactional Real Estate
  • Our transactional real estate practice includes both commercial and residential settings, and encompasses a wide range of real estate needs, such as the purchase, sale, or lease of real property; easements, lot-line adjustments, and other access issues; title, deed and mortgage questions, and more.
  • Business Law
  • Our business practice focuses primarily on advising clients regarding their legal rights, responsibilities, and obligations in the business setting. We assist in negotiation, drafting, and review of contracts and other agreements associated with business activities, and prepare appropriate business records and documentation.