Welcome to Dodge Probate

We are Orange County’s Premiere Trust and Estate Planning law firm for families with young children and entrepreneurs. Based in Irvine, California, Dodge Probate assists individuals and families in Southern California in the areas of trust law and estate planning, wealth preservation, asset protection, and business succession.

Partners in planning. Friends for life.

Through our sharp ideas and innovative legal approach, we have changed the game of wills, trusts and estate planning. It allows us to spend more time where it matters – with our clients.

Our Services

A Living Trust

aka Inter Vivos Trust or Revocable Trust

A living trust is created by a trustor when she is alive. She transfers title of her assets (automobiles, bank accounts, real estate, investments, etc.) into a trust and at the time of her death, it is transferred to her designated beneficiaries. A living trust is very important to have as it bypasses the costly and time-consuming process of probate. At her death, it enables the successor trustee to immediately carry out her instructions as documented in her living trust which is unlike a will. The living trust also allows for the successor trustee to carry out the trustor’s financial, healthcare, and legal affairs if she becomes incapacitated.

Last Will

aka Will or Last Will & Testament

A will is a short legal document that comes into effect after death. It allows an individual to designate a beneficiary for her assets, a caretaker for minors and an executor to ensure the instructions are followed. Unlike a living trust, a will must go through probate court and personal information will become public. The probate process can be expensive, as many probate lawyers charge by the hour, and it can be an extensive, involved and drawn out process.

A Living Will

aka Advance Directive or Health Care Directive

A living will is a document explaining whether a person wishes to be on life support if she becomes terminally ill or falls into an irreversible coma or persistent vegetative state. It allows the patient to give explicit instructions about medical treatment to be administered should she be too ill to make decisions concerning care for herself. Examples of specific instructions are whether to receive artificial nutrition, whether to allow resuscitation if the heart stops beating, or wishing to remain on life support for only a limited time period. In situations where there is no living will, family and friends have become engaged in bitter disputes over 1) who gets to make those decisions and 2) what your wishes regarding treatment would have been. If you wish to plan your own fate, a valid Living Will is essential.

Power of Attorney

aka Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document where a person gives another person legal authority to make decisions on her behalf with regard to her financial affairs, her health and personal welfare or some other legal matter. A power of attorney is useful if you have a physical illness or injury, or you want someone to make decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. Without a power of attorney, no one can sign legal documents or checks for you. In the situation of finances, bills can be left unpaid and your dependents may go indefinitely without the benefit of your financial support. Your assets will be inaccessible and your dependents will have to apply to the court for the power to act on your behalf. If you would like to protect those you love and who depend on you, give someone legal permission to take care of your financial affairs through a power of attorney.

HIPPA Authorization

Different from a Power of Attorney

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Congress enacted this act to increase medical privacy for individuals. To avoid the risk that your physician may be unwilling to provide your personal representative with information regarding your health care and medical condition due to the restraints of the federal HIPAA law, you should have an additional document known as the HIPAA Authorization. This document could make a big difference in the quality of care that you receive when you become incapacitated or unable to speak for yourself. The personal representative will then have access to all of your medical records and will be able to make the best and most well-informed health decisions for you.

Real Estate Services

A home is often the largest asset of an estate. If a person passes away, or a person inherits property, the home is typically liquidated in order to distribute assets to the beneficiaries. Our probate and trust real estate services helps executors, trustees, the probate court, and other licensed fiduciaries with the disposition of real property. We are prepared to handle the special processes involved during probate and trust administration. We also provide confidential and professional on-site services for the convenience of our clients. We help to determine the best strategy for the sale of the property and can assist estate administrators with taking inventory of personal property. We can arrange for licensed contractors to make any repairs needed prior to distribution to heirs or the sale. Having our experienced team as an advisor will help you make an informed decision, have a smooth transaction and get the best value for your property.

Practice Areas

Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Real Estate Law

Business & Employment Law