Helene P. Dreyer Koch practices in the areas of Estate Planning and Probate throughout the Coachella Valley, including the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs and Indio.
Estate Planning is the means by which you can plan for the care of your loved ones and the disposition of your assets during your incapacity and after your death. It usually entails one or more of the following documents: Last Will & Testament, Power of Attorney for Finances, Advance Healthcare Directive (Living Will), and one or more personal or family Living Trusts. It may also include other documents, such as Deeds, Life Insurance Trusts, Community Property Agreements and Domestic Partner Agreements. For clients in high risk occupations or philanthropic intentions, it may also include an Asset Protection Trust, a Dynasty Trust, or a Charitable Trust.
With a good estate plan, you will ideally never need the Probate department. Avoiding Probate ensures greater privacy, saves time and money, and reduces stress on your grieving loved ones. Estate planning also ensures that your own wishes are carried out, rather than the wishes of the court or the state. Estate planning can even help you minimize estate taxes that might otherwise be due upon your death, protect your loved ones from creditors, and carry on your heritage and family values.
Probate refers to the Probate Court (or Probate Department) and also refers to the process of passing a deceased person’s property to the person’s heirs or beneficiaries. Probate is the court where Wills are examined and ordered to be carried out, where Guardianships for children or Conservatorships for adults are established, and where Wills and Trusts can be disputed. It is also the place to go when someone died without a Will. If the value of the decedent’s property is low enough, it may be possible to transfer property without needing a full Probate.
Ms. Dreyer Koch can make that determination, complete all required paperwork, guide you through the court process, and appear in court on your behalf. If you are the executor under the Will (or administrator if the decedent did not have a Will) she can assist you in carrying out your duties and completing the estate administration. If you are an heir or beneficiary, she can help you protect your rights.