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Estate Planning Education Law


Sacramento area estate planning attorney assisting you with asset protection, trusts, wills, probate, health care directives, and more.

Securing wealth for your family tomorrow requires planning today.

Estate planning focuses on the orderly management and disposition of your estate (all assets of any value that you own, including real property, business interests, investments, insurance proceeds, personal property and personal effects) during your lifetime as well as upon death or disability. The estate plan also gives consideration to the impact of such wealth transfer to your heirs.  If you have not considered estate planning, or haven’t reviewed your estate plan within the past few years, please contact us

At the Law Offices of Ernest H. Tuttle, IV, we prepare wills, trusts and other estate planning documents for clients in Northern California. While wills are the most commonly known estate planning document, they are typically not enough. A complete estate plan from our office includes these documents:



Although executing the trust documents provides you with an orderly disposition of your estate, you will not avoid probate unless and until the trust obtains legal title to your property. This procedure is called "funding" the trust and requires transferring title to you as trustee. Title to assets you acquire in the future should also be put in the trust's name.  If you take title to property in your own name at any time without subjecting it to the trust, the trust will not affect that property and may still be subject to probate even if you have a living trust.  During the initial creation of your estate plan, we will help you “fund” your living trust at no additional cost.

Our office also focuses oin these services to help clients with various aspects of the estate planning and distribution process:



We urge you to have a qualified attorney specializing in estate planning create or review your existing plan. Problems often arise when people don't consider all of the documents that are needed to pass on their estate. By having a well-drafted estate plan in place, you will ensure that your estate passes on to your heirs at the time you select and in the manner you have chosen.

Ernest H. Tuttle, IV truly listens to your wishes and concerns. You can feel confident that your estate will be distributed the way that you intended, minimizing estate taxes and saving your family the headache and heartache of going through a lengthy probate process.

For an initial consultation with Mr. Tuttle, please call 916.782.6995 or e-mail him at . We make it easy. Don’t delay!


Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is an arrangement you make for management and distribution of your property. Like a will, the trust is "revocable," meaning that you can modify or eliminate it at any time.
These trusts are established by a written agreement or declaration which appoints a "trustee" to administer the property, and which gives detailed instructions about how the property is to be managed and eventually distributed. If you want your trust to substitute for probate (court administration of property after death) or for guardianship (court administration after incapacity), you must give the trustee detailed instructions about how to handle these situations. A well-planned trust can save your family money by avoiding probate, minimize or avoid estate taxes and avoid conservatorship legal proceedings. > top



A will is a legal document that declares your wishes about how the probate court should distribute your valuables. A will is also the estate planning device that creates a guardian for any minor children should something tragic happen in your family.


Without a will, the laws of California will determine how your valuables will be distributed.  This may or may not be as you intended, which is why we believe that everyone over the age of 18 should at minimum have a will. > top



Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) allows another person to act on your behalf in financial matters should you be unwilling or unable to do so yourself.  Even with a will or revocable living trust, you may not be able to take care of you financial matters due to an illness.  By preparing a power of attorney, a family member or friend can help you by acting on your behalf such as filing tax returns, operating a business or handling real estate transactions. > top


Advanced Health Care Directive

An advanced health care directive allows you to give instructions to another to act on your behalf in medical matters should you be unable to do so yourself.  Designating a person to make medical decisions on your behalf is important, as it may be a critical decision.  Communication with the person designated and preparing a well drafted advanced health care directive can minimize conflicts between family members over a loved one’s care. > top


Living Will

A living will is a legal document used to make your wishes known regarding life prolonging medical treatments. It can also be referred to as an advance directive, health care directive or a physician's directive. It is important to have a living will as it informs your health care providers and your family about your desires for medical treatment in the event you are not able to speak for yourself. A living will allows you the peace of mind knowing that you will receive the type of medical treatment you want (or don’t want). > top



Probate is the legal process of administering your estate, by distributing your valuables based on a valid will or according to the laws of the state. A well-planned estate plan makes probate much easier, and distributes your estate as you intended. Our office can help, whether a full estate plan was previously established, a simple will was written or nothing was documented and the court is involved. In any situation, probate may seem like a daunting task, especially after losing a loved one. We will help take the mystery out of the probate process and help your family through this difficult time. > top


Trust Administration

If you serve as a trustee of a trust or as a personal representative of a decedent's estate, you face many complicated responsibilities. We can assist and advise you by handling the following:

    • Answering questions about the responsibilities or obligations of being a trustee or personal representative
  • Helping fund trusts that are maintained during a child’s adolescence
  • Assisting with estate taxes
  • Drawing disclaimer documents to avoid inheritance for tax purposes
  • Ensuring the decedent’s business is transitioned to the next generation > top



A conservatorship may be needed when someone is incompetent to manage his or her own financial affairs and/or personal care, and has no viable alternative method of delegating these duties to another person. Preparing the proper estate planning documents such as a revocable living trust and/or a durable power of attorney can avoid a court-supervised conservatorship. However, for those without such estate planning mechanisms in place, it may be necessary to establish a court-supervised conservatorship of the estate. We can help you establish a court-supervised conservatorship and provide ongoing advice with respect to the conservators’ rights and powers under both state law and the guidelines set by the court. > top



When creating a revocable living trust or other estate planning devices, we are mindful that children and grandchildren require special planning to avoid a court-supervised guardianship.  Without the proper estate planning devices in place, a child or grandchild cannot hold legal title to property and therefore a guardianship is required. We can help you establish a court-supervised guardianship or create an estate plan that will avoid the need for involving the courts. > top


Business Planning and Formation

If you have a business and want to transition your business to the next generation, we can help you accomplish your goals through estate planning and business formation. As a small business owner, you may consider forming a corporation, Limited Liability Company or partnership. Creating such an entity may have tax and legal implications, with which our law firm can assist you. Our mission is to create the right entity for your business. Estate Planning is also important for business owners as planning now may preserve your business for the next generation. > top


“Mr. Tuttle and his staff took care of my wife and I by by listening to our needs and clearly explaining what legal documents would address those needs. We now have a living trust and peace of mind knowing that our plan is in place and that we have Mr. Tuttle as a resource to return to throughout our life. Mr. Tuttle’s efficiency, professionalism, friendly demeanor and attention to detail was clearly his normal way of handling these matters.”

Jim and Kathy P.






Estate Planning Blog

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