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Hess-Verdon & Associates


During these hard times, we know it’s vitally important to save time, money, peace of mind, and receive the highest of top quality counsel!

Hess-Verdon is one of the highest top-quality counsel that cares and fights for your legal needs.

Our managing partners have practiced law for over 30+ years. We have deep court experience, and after 1500+ clients throughout our tenure, you will receive in-depth knowledge in trust & estates, business, and real estate matters.
For a limited time, we are offering a free no-obligation case evaluation. Feel free to call, and our helpful staff will set you up with one of our specialized attorneys.

Our Guarantee: Courteous treatment with respect and professionalism with a commitment to delivering high quality, client-centered focus.

By Phone 1-888-318-4430

Orange County Estate Planning Law Firm


Note: The California Probate Code provides that probate estates of $150,000 or less do not need to be probated. If the estate consists of assets more than $150,000, a probate is necessary. Therefore, it is vital to choose the right living trust lawyer to advise you.

Estate Planning Attorney Orange County

Need an experienced and trusted estate planning attorney Hess-Verdon & Associates is one of the most knowledgeable and most sophisticated trusts and estate law firm in the state of California at both the trial and appellate levels.


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Hess-Verdon & Associates

Top Estate Planning Attorney in Orange County


All About Estate Planning

Before diving into what estate planning is all about, let’s get rid of some myths regarding trusts vs. will and probate.

In California, if you have assets more than $150,000.00, then it behooves you to look into some trust vehicle to pass down your estate to your loved ones in the event of one’s passing. If you have assets above $150,000.00 and you don’t have a will or trust, then read on. Learn about the following:

  1. Dying Intestate (without a will)
  2. Dying with a will
  3. Dying with a trust 

1st myth: “I have a will, so my family won’t have to go through probate when I die.” 

Answer: False! A Will is a one-way ticket to probate and not private, unlike a trust. So again, a will does not avoid probate. One can look at a will in the following light: You tell your family that you want them to go to probate.

What are some differences between a will and a trust

Great question, and here are some main differences:

  1. Privacy:  If you want to keep your financial life private and away from public view, a trust vehicle is a way to go.
  2. Stay out of probate: A living trust does not go through probate, which means the estate assets’ distribution is clear to the beneficiaries, unlike a will.
  3. Saving money:  It may seem prudent to create a will because of the typically lower cost to set up than a trust, but the costs “after” you die are expensive, including executor fees, attorney fees, and miscellaneous fees. A trust may cost more upfront to set up because of the depth in which it goes, but once completed, periodic amendments are needed. Once you pass, a successor trustee manages the estate instead of the probate court.


What type of trust should I get?

Great question, and there are various types! There are acronyms like QTIP, GRUTs, GRATS, SNT, Dynasty Trusts, Totten Trusts, and other types of irrevocable trusts. Each one handles your estate slightly differently than the other. Answer: Work with an estate planning attorney and have them as your life long advocate.  

When you speak with an estate planning attorney, you will look at trusts in two category types:

  1. Revocable Trust
  2. Irrevocable Trust

And within each trust type are sub-categories, as mentioned.  

Key takeaway: Most people get a revocable trust, which can be changed and even closed by the grantor/settlor. Once the grantor/trustor passes, then it becomes “irrevocable.” At this point, the successor trustee takes over the estate. 


1. Insurance Life Insurance Trust [ILIT]: Many people don’t understand that life insurance policy, depending on the amount, can trigger an estate tax bill. One option to mitigate estate taxes is an ILIT. An ILIT is a type of living trust that was explicitly set up to own a life insurance policy.

2. Qualified Terminable Interest Trust [QTIP]: a QTIP is an A/B trust arrangement and used by a married individual.

3. Charitable Remainder Trust: A charitable trust allows you to donate generously to a charity of your choice, and give you and your heirs a big tax break. Advantages are a reduction in Income taxes, estate taxes, capital gains tax.

4. Testamentary Trust: et is a trust, when established in the last will, typically created for the benefit of minor children.

5. Funded or Unfunded Trust

6. Credit Shelter Trust

7. Blind Trust: In a blind trust, the Trustee has full discretion over the assets. Initiated by the Trustor and can be terminated, but cannot exercise any control. Typically used when the investment holdings could potentially put the Trustor in a conflict of interest with a regulatory issue. Usually used by a wealthy person entering into political office.

How does an Irrevocable trust work?

An irrevocable trust is one essential part of estate planning, asset protection, and tax strategy planning. With an irrevocable trust, the Trustor gives up full control and ownership of the property. 

What should I consider in achieving competent counsel?

Choosing the right living trust attorney is very important. Yes, you can try to DIY (do it yourself), but in today’s litigious society, it is inadvisable. If you live in California, it is even more of a reason to do your due diligence to protect your estate instead of leaving it up to chance. Why do people choose a Will over a trust? Mostly due to cost, but the downside is the costs and legal fees after death are higher with a Will because Wills require the probate court’s supervision.

When calling into an estate planning firm, you will want them to know the following:

Avoid Probate: Let them know you want to avoid probate when you die. 

Years of Experience: Find out how many years he/she has been doing Living Trusts and how many they have prepared.

Ask who will draft and prepare your Trust document. Nowadays, there are DIY Living Trust platforms, but here at Hess-Verdon, you work one-on-one with our attorneys and paralegals.

The larger the estate, the more critical advanced estate planning may be for you. All properties, assets, etc., must be taken into account; otherwise, it can trigger probate.

How Many Administered: Ask how many Living Trust the attorney had administered (settled) when the clients died or became incapacitated.

Ask how long it will take: It is essential to know the staffing levels to ensure a thorough review of your circumstances.

Checkups: It is imperative to have a checkup once every 3-5 years. If a significant change has occurred to you or your assets, have one of Hess-Verdon’s trusted attorneys do a review as soon as possible.

 Free consultation: Typically, with an upfront phone interview, you will know exactly where you stand in Hess-Verdon. 

Note: If there is an immediate hardship, please call 888-318-4430. 

Note: The California Probate Code provides that probate estates of $150,000 or less do not need to be probated. If the estate consists of assets more than $150,000, a probate is necessary. Therefore, it is vital to choose the right living trust lawyer to advise you.

Call 1-888-318-4430

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Welcome to Hess-Verdon & Associates. A seasoned estate planning and business law firm.

stars 5 #1 Top Orange County Estate Planning Attorney

“Absolutely top notch firm for handling all your estate planning matters.”

Dean Williams

Client Since 1995

stars 5 #1 Top Orange County Estate Planning Attorney

“Definitely a firm that will “fight to the finish.”

Frances Gruben

Client Since 2010

stars 5 #1 Top Orange County Estate Planning Attorney

“I have been working with this firm since 1994; you can’t beat a firm like this, that is so ethical and competent.”

Dixie Fisher

Client Since 1994

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Hess-Verdon & Associates PLC

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