San Diego Estate Planning Attorney Gabriel Katzner

Estate Planning Lawyer in San Diego

It would seem obvious that each of us would benefit from going through the estate planning process with a knowledgeable and caring San Diego estate planning attorney. After all, who among us does not love our families, does not want the assets we have worked a lifetime for to pass to whom we want in the way we want and does not want to make things as easy as possible for our family upon our death? No one of course, however, far too many people put off their estate planning.

Why People Put Off Their Estate Planning?

Some of the most common reasons are:

  • The pressure and nuances of making the right choices for the future.
  • Having the mistaken belief of estate planning being only for the elderly.
  • Assuming their estate is not large enough.

Too many people put off estate planning because they assume that they are not old enough, they think they have plenty of time to do it, they assume they don’t own enough assets, or they are busy. If you don’t have a plan, the state of California has one for you (for better or worse). Whether you become incapacitated or pass away suddenly, your family members will be the ones left behind to grapple with the difficulties of managing your estate. You cannot come back to address these issues after the fact, and you need to have a smooth transition of your assets and your wishes carried out as soon as possible so that your loved ones can focus on grief and the healing process.

What Does an Estate Plan Cover?

A comprehensive estate plan is more than deciding where your belongings and property go after you die. It provides for the management of your assets when you are alive and well, designates who makes financial and healthcare decisions when you become incapacitated, who cares for your children if you pass away, and beyond.


How Do I know I Found The Best Estate Planning Lawyer?

To have a successful estate planning experience, you need the right attorney on your side. Not one with the slickest marketing or sales pitch, but rather finding the right San Diego estate planning attorney means finding someone with both a deep understanding of the issues and how to solve them as well as someone who can relate to you, your concerns and goals on a deep personal level. Your estate planning lawyer needs to tackle complex topics such as finding ways to minimize estate tax liability, protecting your assets both during your life and post your death, helping to ensure your children are raised by the right people in the way you’d like, that your heirs receive their inheritance in a beneficial manner, and so on.

The right San Diego estate planning lawyer will take the time to understand your wishes, work through various planning structures with you until you are 100% satisfied with the direction in which your estate planning will proceed, and ultimately document them in a well-drafted and maintained estate plan. Your estate planning attorney needs to be someone you can trust with your family’s long-term financial well being – not a role to be decided upon based on a lawyer’s slick marketing.

Having An Estate Plan In Your Area

A comprehensive estate plan says more than “here’s who gets my stuff after I die” – rather, it should include strategies designed to structure what will happen to you and your assets while you’re alive and healthy; who will manage your financial and healthcare decisions should you become incapacitated, what asset protection and income tax benefits are available to you, in addition to what happens upon your death. Building on that, asset protection planning and business succession planning can assist you if you have specific concerns relating to your assets during your life and how they should be treated upon your death so that matters are structured in the most tax-efficient and asset-protective structure possible.

What Could Happen If I Don’t Have an Estate Plan?

If you do not have an estate plan in San Diego, things that you would certainly want to decide for yourself will be decided by the State of California. Furthermore, this can complicate the grief and other aspects of managing your estate that your loved ones now have to deal with.


If you don’t have an estate plan in place, the decisions will be taken out of your hands and decided by the State of California. In an already grief-filled time, this can utterly destroy your family. If your wishes are unclear, or worse unstated, your family might be scrambling to make the best choices only guessing as to what you’d want to have happen. Grant them the peace of mind they deserve by planning ahead and taking care of your estate planning today.

What Does Estate Planning Involve?

Estate planning is not pulling a template document off the shelf and filling in the blanks a la LegalZoom or the Suze Orman Trust Kit. Your family deserves better than that. They deserve an attorney expert with not only the law but different personal and financial situations and how best to mesh the law with your goals and concerns so your dreams are realized. This is nuanced work accomplished only through appropriate legal counseling between client and lawyer. Modern comprehensive estate planning does not mean filling in the blanks in a last will and testament. Rather, it involves irrevocable and revocable trusts, asset protection, and custom drafting. An attorney has to be able to identify risks in your personal situation as well as potential estate planning concerns, communicate those challenges to you, and find an approach to minimize risks while achieving your goals.

This is what you can expect from the Katzner Law Group. Connect with qualified San Diego estate planning attorney Gabriel Katzner today to learn more.



San Diego Asset Protection Attorney

We live in a world where being sued is all too common and those who have accumulated wealth or had professional achievement are likely to find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit at some point.

What can you do to protect what you have worked a lifetime for? Thankfully there are estate planning options, such as a domestic asset protection trust, that will allow you to protect your hard earned assets.

The key with this sort of planning is to work with an attorney well versed in the space and to do such planning proactively because once you’re facing a creditor it’s typically too late.

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Trust Administration Attorney San Diego

Trust administration is the process of managing and overseeing the distribution of assets held within a trust.

If you’ve lost someone close to you and you are the successor trustee for the trust, you may feel overwhelmed. I understand this, which is why guiding my clients seamlessly through establishing and managing a trust is so important to me.

It’s important to work with an attorney who can smoothly and efficiently handle everything involved in creating a legally sound trust with clear and understandable trust instructions.

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Probate Attorney San Diego

Probate is the court process whose purpose is to prove the validity of a Will and distribute assets in accordance with the Will.

If you’ve lost someone close to you, probate is the last thing you want to deal with. I understand this and it’s why guiding my client’s seamlessly through probate is so very important to me.

In most states, probate averages 9-18 months and can quickly get very expensive if managed improperly.
It’s important to work with a lawyer who’s able to smoothly and efficiently navigate through everything involved in probate.

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San Diego Medi-Cal Planning Attorney

Medicaid is one of two government-operated health insurance programs in America. Medicare is the other. While most seniors know they can get Medicare benefits and understand what it takes to qualify, there is more confusion and uncertainty when it comes to Medicaid.

While Medicaid can be a financial lifesaver when you or a loved one needs nursing home care, the problem is a lot of seniors have saved money or have paid off properties.

The assets seniors own could be disqualifying until they are spent on nursing care. Fortunately, Medicaid planning provides a way around this rule to allow seniors to keep their legacy.

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Why do you need an Estate Planning Lawyer?

Estate plan attorneys will assist you in determining the distribution of your assets and advise you on what documents are needed to fulfill your wishes. They can also assist with the creation and maintenance of documents for the patient when he gets sick.

Whether you are an individual, part of a married couple with no children, have minor children, or a married couple with a blended family, you can benefit from the estate planning process, and sitting down with a lawyer sooner rather than later will open your eyes to the various tactics and strategies available to you. Believe it or not, large or small, you have an estate that needs to be planned for.

What is Considered “Estate” in California?

Practically everyone has an estate because this includes everything you own:

  • Real estate
  • Investments
  • Your home
  • Your car
  • Furniture
  • Your life insurance
  • Personal possessions
  • Your checking
  • Your Savings account.

No matter how big or small, everyone has an estate, and they all share one crucial aspect; that you cannot take these assets with you when you pass away. To ensure that your wishes are appropriately followed, you need to have a clearly articulated estate plan tidat.

Far too many estate planning conflicts emerge after a loved one passes away because things were not appropriately addressed during life. Having a clear understanding of how your estate plan is structured will make things easier for your loved ones during the most difficult of times.

A Knowledgeable and experienced Estate Planning Law Firm

The Katzner Law Group Difference

There is a reason Katzner Law Group has over 150 and counting 5-star public and verifiable reviews and is so well regarded in the San Diego estate planning community. We practice exclusively in the interrelated areas of estate planning, asset protection (including Medi-Cal planning), and probate/trust administration post death. We have the right experience, which is essential when choosing which estate planning lawyer to entrust with your family’s long-term well being. Estate planning, if done right, needs to be a lifetime engagement between attorney and client, not a one-off LegalZoom type transaction. If you opt for a general practitioner, or choose your lawyer based solely on price, over an experienced estate planning lawyer, you might cause long term damage to yourself, your family, and your finances. What’s more, working with someone inexperienced in estate planning can cause you to lose money or not even end up with a valid estate plan.

Estate planning  also requires a certain level of empathy and compassion to work with families and individuals preparing for the time when they will no longer be around. This is why Katzner Law Group is dedicated to this area of the law. We provide you with the experience needed to build a nuanced and comprehensive estate plan so that you don’t have to worry no matter what the future may bring.

What Belongs in a San Diego Estate Plan?

Your estate plan encompasses many more issues though, including:

  1. Naming a guardian for your minor children along with detailed instructions as to how you’d like your children to be raised
  2. Including care instructions, if you were to become disabled before you pass
  3. Instructions for passing on your values
  4. Providing for the transfer of your business
  5. Minimizing court costs, unnecessary legal fees, and taxes
  6. Including life insurance to provide for your family members at death
  7. Providing for family members with special needs without disruption
  8. Including an asset protection plan to decrease your chances of having your assets accessed by someone you do not want

If you fail to take the necessary planning steps, you are putting everyone in your family in a difficult position and dramatically increasing the chances that your loved ones will have to deal with conflicts after you have passed away. You can avoid this situation by finding an estate planning lawyer sooner rather than later, one who can walk you through every aspect of the estate planning process in a clear and concise manner, and provide you with the information you need to make a fully informed decision as to what’s best for you and your loved ones.


The Katzner Law Group is conveniently located near you in Encinitas and serves all communities of San Diego County Including but not limited to:

Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Leucadia, Rancho Santa Fe, Olivenhain, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Camp Pendleton, Vista, San Marcos, San Elijo Hills, Escondido, Valley Center, Bonsall, Fallbrook, Carmel Valley, Torrey Hills, La Jolla, University City, Sorrento Valley, Mira Mesa, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Rancho Penasquitos, Rancho Bernardo, Carmel Mountain,  Torrey Highlands, Poway, Sabre Springs, Scripps Ranch, Miramar, Kearny Mesa, Claremont, Mission Valley, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs, Point Loma, Coronado, Mission Hills, Hillcrest, Kensington, Ramona, El Cajon, Julian, Borrego Springs, Alpine, Lemon Grove, Lakeside, Santee, La Mesa, Jamul, Chula Vista, Bonita, National City, Imperial Beach.

Key San Diego Estate Planning Questions

Losing a loved one can be heartbreaking and all the more difficult to deal with when the estate planning wasn’t done well, which can lead to fractures in families and considerable stress. Following are a number of common questions concerning estate planning to help you understand the process, so that your family doesn’t have to worry about anything during their time of loss. 

When you pass, a will helps clarify who will get what so that your loved ones are not left to guess and argue over how things get processed. A will also designates the executor of your estate, so there should be no arguments in court about who should be in charge.

If you pass with minor children and their other parent is not alive or capable of caring for them, you can clarify which family member you would like to have guardianship in your will. 

For higher-value estates, estate planning with related taxes in mind is a complex process. We can determine how to position your assets in special trusts or other mechanisms to ensure your family receives as much of your estate as possible.

You decide how your beneficiaries receive your assets, whether in a lump amount all at once through your will or in a structured way over time through a living trust. 

When you pass, there is a person who is given the responsibility to distribute your assets in line with your wishes. If you do not identify someone in your will, you risk the courts assigning the task to someone you might not prefer. 

Establishing a power of attorney for healthcare makes it so that if you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions, there is someone who has the authority to do so on your behalf. You can also communicate your wishes so that the choices align with your wishes.

You can include in your will whether you would like to be kept alive through machines if you are incapacitated, or for, as the saying goes, the plug to be pulled. This is a difficult decision and something you can identify and express your preferences through the estate planning process. 

If you are incapacitated and unable to make sound decisions, you can identify a financial power of attorney you would like to have the authority to make them for you through your estate planning. Connect with a local estate planning now to learn more about how to manage your estate. 

Katzner Law Group, P.C

662 Encinitas Blvd, Suite #240,
Encinitas, CA 92024

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(760) 407-6653

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