• My Specialties.

    Driven by a passion for excellence and dedication to my clients.

Services

No two cases or issues are the same. Colin understands this and for that reason the Law Office of Colin T. Smith provides sophisticated, personally tailored legal solutions to each client. Colin believes this can only be accomplished by giving a personal level of devotion to each client and when you work with the Law Office of Colin T. Smith each element of your particular situation will be closely evaluated. The level of personal time and attention Colin offers to each client is not often found at other firms, and the fees associated with the services provided by the Law Office of Colin T. Smith are often significantly less than other firms in the area.

If you are in need of help with a legal issue associated with estate planning, trust administration, probate, conservatorships, Medi-Cal planning or business formation, please do not hesitate to obtain the representation you need and contact Colin today. You can rely on the experience and dedication that sets the Law Office of Colin T. Smith apart from the others.

Estate planning

Estate planning is a process. It involves people (your family and other individuals) and your assets and the various forms of ownership and title that those assets may take. Estate planning not only addresses who handles your affairs and inherits upon your death, but also addresses your future needs, and your children’s needs, in case you ever become unable to care for yourself. Through estate planning, you can determine how and to whom your assets will be distributed upon death, how and by whom your personal care will be managed and how health care decisions will be made during your lifetime if you become disabled, and who will raise your minor children upon your death and how those assets would be managed.

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Trust Administration

If a person dies and they have a living trust, then the successor trustee, named in the living trust, must “administer” the trust. The successor trustee must follow all of the instructions in the living trust. This is called trust administration. The process for administering a living trust is similar to a probate in many ways; however, the biggest and most important difference is that a trust administration is a completely private process, whereas a probate is a court-supervised process. Despite the absence of court supervision, the successor trustee has fiduciary duties and if the administration is handled incorrectly, the successor trustee may be liable to the trust beneficiaries for mistakes made, even if the successor trustee’s actions were done in good faith.

Probate

Probate is time consuming and costly. It should and can be avoided through proper estate planning. In general terms, probate is the court monitored proceeding to distribute a decedent’s estate, and applies to any decedent’s estate if the decedent passed away owning assets valued at more than $150,000.00 or any real property in California. Therefore, a Will by itself does not avoid probate. By avoiding probate, the estate is saved the high probate fees and costs charged by the courts and attorneys.

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Business formation

Many small business owners launch their companies as sole proprietorships in which they and their businesses are essentially one and the same. While operating as a sole proprietorship may seem like the simplest option when you are just starting out, it certainly isn’t your best choice when you are talking about protecting your personal assets from business liabilities. By changing the format of a small business to a corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC) your personal assets are protected in case debts or legal judgments are claimed against the business.

Medi-Cal

Medi-Cal is a combined federal and California State program designed to help pay for medical care for public assistance recipients and other low-income persons. Although Medi-Cal recipients may receive Medicare, the Medi-Cal program is not related to the Medicare program. Medi-Cal is a need-based program and to qualify for Medi-Cal the recipient must demonstrate that s/he has limited resources available. Since January 1, 1989, the property limit for one person has been set at $2,000. Medi-Cal classifies property as “exempt” and “non-exempt.” Exempt property is not counted in determining eligibility; non-exempt property is counted. If the applicant has more than $2,000 in non-exempt property, he/she will not be eligible, unless the property is spent down for adequate consideration before the end of the application month.

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Conservatorship

When an adult cannot care for themselves and/or manage their own finances, a court can appoint another person to take protective responsibility. This creates a “court ordered conservatorship” (also called a “general conservatorship”) between the protected person (the conservatee) and the responsible person (the conservator). A conservatorship is a formal, legal authorization for the conservator – usually a spouse or domestic partner, family member, close friend, or hired professional – to make decisions for the benefit of the protected person. The court monitored conservatorship restricts the conservatee’s powers over their personal care and/or financial decisions. It is particularly useful when the conservatee is mentally or physically unable to understand and accept help, or is vulnerable to persons who might take financial advantage of them.

"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now." - Alan Lakein