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Best Probate Lawyers in Lake Forest

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Anderson Law Group logo
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Anderson Law Group

1000 North Coast Highway Suite 10, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
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  • Estate Planning
  • Probate

Business Description

Anderson Law Group offers trust and probate administration for clients in Lake Forest. The firm's practice focuses on estate planning, business law, charitable trusts, and asset protection. It also offers legacy planning, which aims to maintain family harmony and prevent complex probate processes. The firm adopts the culture of customization, seeking to understand its clients' situations, details, and objectives in order to create customized solutions for their needs. Its principal lawyer, Nicole Anderson, is a member of the WealthCounsel, an association of estate planning attorneys.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Beach Cities Estate Planning, APLC logo
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Beach Cities Estate Planning, APLC

32158 Camino Capistrano, #104-809, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Beach Cities Estate Planning, APLC, provides probate services to the Lake Forest metro. It focuses on helping individuals protect their estates from the property tax increase and secure the future of their loved ones. The law firm also handles the drafting of estate planning documents, including durable powers of attorney, wills, trusts, advanced health care directives, and guardianships. Its founding attorney, Ryan Daniels, works directly with clients to provide customized or personalized attention to their estate planning needs.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (3)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Estate Plan, Inc. logo
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Estate Plan, Inc.

352 3rd Street, Suite 301, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
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  • Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate

Business Description

Estate Plan, Inc. is a firm providing legal assistance to clients in Lake Forest on estate planning and probate matters since 2005. Its practice areas include probate and trust administration, special needs planning, and wills and trusts. It assists during probate from the notification of heirs, the appointment of an executor, payment of estate taxes, and the sale and distribution of assets. Firm founder Leslie Daff is a state bar-certified specialist in estate planning, probate, and trust law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (7)
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates logo
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Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates

23731 El Toro Road, Lake Forest, CA 92630
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Estate Settlement

Business Description

Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates practices probate law in Lake Forest. Attorney Mr. Young is client-focused and commits himself to ensuring that those facing the probate process can navigate it as quickly and easily as possible. He assists in every step of probate, including tax filing and creditor payments. Mr. Young holds membership in several professional associations, including the American and Orange County Bar Associations, as well as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (8)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Godbe Law Group logo
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Godbe Law Group

25201 Paseo de Alicia, Suite 140, Laguna Hills, CA 92653
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  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Godbe Law Group provides legal services and representation in the Lake Forest metro, focusing on probate and estate planning. It assists and protects its clients during the probate process, helping with trust administrations and ensuring to carry out the decedent's wishes. In case there is a contest on the will or trust, the firm's lawyers provide court representation. It aids clients with estate planning to minimize taxes and avoid disputes. The firm has over three decades of experience focused on probate, trusts, and estate planning.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Yelp
4.5 / 5 (7)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Gokal Law Group, Inc. logo
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Gokal Law Group, Inc.

26080 Towne Centre Drive, Lake Forest, CA 92610
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Trust Administration

Business Description

Gokal Law Group Inc. is a law firm that employs a probate lawyer in Lake Forest. Attorney Abbas Gokal handles probate litigation for beneficiaries and trustees who are facing disputes over a loved one's estate after their death. He can represent will executors who are handling contested estates, as well as heirs who feel that the estate isn't being handled correctly. Other areas of practice include financial elder abuse and personal injury law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.7 / 5 (13)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Kurtz, Anderson and Associates logo
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Kurtz, Anderson and Associates

25909 Pala #230, Mission Viejo, CA 92691
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  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Kurtz, Anderson and Associates is a law firm serving the Lake Forest metro. With over 30 years of experience in estate planning and administration, it crafts and executes various plans from probate and simple wills to taxable estates and complex trusts. The law office also handles business law matters, catering to clients who seek to preserve family businesses and minimize income taxes. One of its attorneys, Donald Kurtz, holds a Master's degree in taxation.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (3)
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC logo
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Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC

3061 E. La Palma Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806
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  • Trusts
  • Wills

Business Description

The Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC, provides estate planning and probate services to clients in Lake Forest and nearby areas. The firm was founded in 1981 by James "Jim" Roberts, an estate planning attorney with more than 35 years of experience. Jim and his team assist estate executors in proceedings involving asset valuation, distribution, closing, and estate tax payments. His firm holds online and on-site seminars about the benefits of estate planning.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (45)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Law Offices of Daniel J. Cooper logo
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Law Offices of Daniel J. Cooper

24012 Calle De La Plata, Suite 410, Laguna Hills, CA 92653
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate

Business Description

The Law Offices of Daniel J. Cooper caters to clients in Lake Forest. It assists individuals through the probate process, including the petition and will preparation and filing, notice publication, state agencies notification, EIN obtainment, and change of ownership statement submission. The firm also helps with accounting filing and asset distribution. Daniel Cooper, the principal attorney, has been practicing law for over 35 years. He currently serves as the chairman of the Orange County Bar Association's Trust and Estate Section.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
––
Law Offices of Steven Giammichele logo
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Law Offices of Steven Giammichele

24361 El Toro Rd., Laguna Woods, CA 92637
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

The Law Offices of Steven Giammichele helps Lake Forest-based clients navigate probate and estate planning matters. It assists them in drafting essential documents, such as trusts, wills, advance health care directives, and powers of attorney. As a results-oriented firm, its lawyers guide its clients in understanding the documents and achieving their personal goals. The Law Offices of Steven Giammichele also provides services to individuals who seek assistance to their family legal matters, including divorce and child custody.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (7)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
Peter Rasla & Associates PLC logo
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Peter Rasla & Associates PLC

19200 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Peter Rasla & Associates PLC is a group of probate lawyers providing estate planning, probate administration, and bankruptcy filing services to clients in the Lake Forest metro. The firm's consultation process involves educating clients about their options in the probate process to achieve favorable results. The firm was established by estate planning attorney Peter Rasla, who is licensed to practice in California and Texas. It assists in probate matters such as trust administration, asset preservation, and irrevocable trusts.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.8 / 5 (16)
Yelp
4.5 / 5 (13)
Facebook
4.3 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
Schlau Rogers LLP logo
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Schlau Rogers LLP

1968 S. Coast Hwy, Suite 2498, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Schlau Rogers LLP is a law office that represents Lake Forest clients in simplified summary or full probate proceedings. Its services involve assisting executors in filing petitions in court, managing the assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the rest of the estate to beneficiaries. Additionally, the firm works on personal estate planning and business litigation and transactions. Joshua D. Rogers, the managing partner, has a background in drafting hundreds of individual and joint estate plans.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (31)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (9)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Helpfulness
Detail
The Ballard Law Corporation logo
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The Ballard Law Corporation

28200 Highway 189, Ofc F240-8, Lake Forest, CA 92352
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate Taxes
  • Probate

Business Description

The Ballard Law Corporation represents individuals in Lake Forest who need advice in matters of probate. It drives clients to have a quick look at their estate planning, which involves asset protection strategies and trusts, long-term health care, and pre- and postnuptial agreements. Ronald M. Ballard, the company's founder, commits himself to public service and is a member of the Business Law and Estate Planning, Probate and Trusts Sections of the California State Bar.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)
The Law Office of Jan A. Meyer logo
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The Law Office of Jan A. Meyer

32776 Sail Way, Dana Point, CA 92629
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Trust Administration

Business Description

Founded more than nine years ago, The Law Office of Jan A. Meyer provides estate planning and probate services for clients in the Lake Forest area. Ms. Meyer is an experienced attorney who strives to help her clients get through the process of probating a will as quickly as possible. She handles both testate and intestate probate cases, as well as other estate-related matters such as business succession planning and trust administration.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (11)
Google
5.0 / 5 (9)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (4)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
The Werner Law Firm logo
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The Werner Law Firm

7545 Irvine Center Drive, Suite 200, Irvine, CA 92618
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  • Estate Planning

Business Description

The Werner Law Firm has been providing legal services to clients in Lake Forest and the surrounding areas since 1975. It assists in matters such as estate planning, trust administration, and the drafting of wills. The firm also helps individuals navigate the probate process and finds alternatives to address issues, which include spousal property petitions and small estate probate transfers. Its founding attorney, L. Rob Werner, has received the Readers' Choice Award for Best Attorney from the Los Angeles Daily News.

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Winstead Law Group, APC logo
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Winstead Law Group, APC

28202 Cabot Road, Suite 300, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Winstead Law Group, APC, is a firm that counsels clients in Lake Forest. It advises executors in handling their probate proceedings, such as drafting wills. The firm also helps clients in estate planning by preparing documents like property memoranda and powers of attorney. It works on legal matters, which involve tax, business, and child guardianship. Stephanie D. Winstead is the founder and president of the firm. She focuses her practice on special tax and estate planning.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (23)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a probate attorney do?

Probate attorneys are licensed professionals who represent executors and heirs after someone has died. They provide personalized legal advice, assist with tax planning, settle debts, and facilitate the distribution of assets. Probate attorneys typically represent clients during administrative proceedings overseen by probate courts, although some litigators focus on handling disputes and lawsuits related to contested estates.

What is probate court?

Probate court works with the family or beneficiaries of a deceased person to validate their last will and testament. The courts review the individual's will to identify and calculate assets, pay off remaining debts, and distribute the remaining property to beneficiaries per the deceased person's requests. Depending on state laws, property valued under a certain amount may not require probate.

How long do you have to file probate after death?

The amount of time loved ones have to file a will after a person dies varies from state to state. While California courts require probate to be filed within one year, New York has no deadline. That being said, it's advisable to file probate as quickly as possible once a person has died, as the process itself can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year.

Does life insurance go through probate?

Life insurance doesn't need to go through the probate courts if the deceased individual has named a beneficiary on their policy. However, life insurance policies without beneficiaries, or with beneficiaries who are either deceased themselves or cannot be contacted, go directly to the deceased individual's estate. When this happens, life insurance proceeds must go through probate court to determine how funds should be allocated.

Do household items go through probate?

While the exact rules do vary from state to state, most household items don't require probate and are automatically left to immediate families unless otherwise stated in the deceased person's will. When it comes to property, only items above a certain value or held in title are required to go through probate in most states.

Do bank accounts with beneficiaries have to go through probate?

In the event a beneficiary has been named, bank accounts are not required to go through probate and will be paid directly to the person designated by the deceased individual. However, should that individual be deceased themselves or if contact cannot be made after a certain period of time, funds will be allocated to the estate and put through the probate process.

What happens if no probate is filed?

Depending on the circumstances, probate may not be required in all cases. If a person passes on and their remaining property is jointly owned, it automatically transfers to the other owner. However, if a property is not jointly owned and no probate has been filed, the executor of the will won't be able to transfer titles or cash assets to beneficiaries. Be aware that the specific laws surrounding probate requirements vary from state to state.

What is probate real estate?

Probate real estate is the process that happens when a realtor steps in to handle the sale or transfer of a deceased person's owned home to another individual. In some cases, the house is sold as a means of liquidating assets, and proceeds from the sale are used to pay debts or are distributed to beneficiaries.

Can I probate a will or estate without an attorney?

It is possible to probate a will and close an estate without hiring an attorney. However, it requires multiple steps and an understanding of the law. The first step is to petition the court to appoint a representative for the estate. Next, the executor must notify all heirs and creditors before switching ownership from the decedent to the estate. Once all debts, taxes, and final expenses have been paid, funds can be transferred to heirs. To close an estate, the executor must submit a report showing the court that all obligations and final wishes have been satisfied. While a will and estate may seem straightforward, things can get complicated quickly if multiple heirs are involved, or if disputes or disagreements arise over distribution. A probate lawyer can help navigate these disputes effectively, and take pressure off the executor when beneficiaries aren’t getting along.

How many years can an estate remain in probate?

If the will or proposed distribution of property is contested, an estate may remain in probate for several years. The timeline depends on how long relatives have to initiate probate, how long creditors have to come forward, and how busy the courts are. In some states, such as Florida, relatives have just 10 days to initiate probate, and the entire process takes approximately six months. In other areas, such as Massachusetts, the process can last one to two years, although the majority of probate activities occur in the first nine months. The value of the estate also affects the duration of the case. For example, California and Texas have simplified procedures for smaller estates, such as those valued at $150,000 or less.

When is a will's probate an automatic process?

Probate is the legal process of validating a last will and testament to ensure that the decedent's wishes are followed. A probate judge may automatically clear wills if they're accompanied by an affidavit from the decedent, a notary, and a witness. Some assets, including financial accounts with designated beneficiaries, and funds held by certain types of trusts don't have to go through probate.

What does it mean when property is under probate?

Real estate that's under probate is typically liquidated through the court system, which is most common when someone dies without a will. Home buyers who are interested in this type of property must follow special rules regarding deposits, which are sometimes nonrefundable, and buyer's premiums. Additionally, the court must approve the purchase price.

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