A Brief Introduction on the Importance of Planning for your Future

In this day and age of the internet and do-it-yourselfers, it is easy to underestimate the importance and complexity involved in preparing your estate plan.  Planning for your death and incapacity is not a simple task to take on by yourself. Once you become incapacitated or pass away, you are no longer present to state your desires and ensure they are enforced. A Revocable Trust ensures that your wishes are laid out, and if done properly and clearly, enforceable along with tax planning and provisions to protect your estate. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to have professional assistance when planning.  

We all know that every family operates differently and sometimes these differences can cause unnecessary stress and complication, having a well-recognized estate planning attorney like Elizabeth and her team can add a new perspective and create a voice of reason within the family dynamic. Not only is the family aspect something to consider but the legality of the provisions in your trust as well. Each state has specific regulations on what can and cannot be declared within a trust, this can make the process of planning even more complicated especially if you have assets in different states. Whether your assets are large or small hiring a professional will help maintain your desires and ensure you are being legally compliant in these goals.  



Holographic Will Found Months After Aretha Franklin's Passing

Aretha Franklin’s passing during the summer of 2018 left her children in a state of despair, revealing that Franklin had no proper will or trust to distribute her wealth. It was estimated that her ownership in real estate is worth nearly $80 million and yet there was no preservation/ distribution plan in action. Her case was sent to a Probate court in Los Angeles where a judge was set to make the decision on how to distribute the wealth she worked her whole life for. Franklin left behind four sons, all of whom anxiously await the decision of a stranger to determine their financial future and their mother’s legacy.  

As the family anticipated the hearing, it was revealed in early May of 2019 that a holographic will was located on the premises of Franklin’s home. Under investigation of the found drafted will, it was stated Franklin wanted her son Kecalf to be the executor. However, it appears that he may be unfit to do so. After bringing in a handwriting expert, the court deemed the will in fact be the late Aretha Franklin’s. The Franklin family, despite having Kecalf stated as the executor has decided to name him and Franklin’s niece, Sabrina Owens co-executors. 

Life after losing a loved one can be daunting and may bring about internal conflicts and confusion. It is necessary that individuals of all financial backgrounds ensure certainty by planning appropriately for what the future may hold. Tresp Law has expertise in establishing that security for you and your loved ones. With an extensive repertoire of experience, Elizabeth and her team can guide you in making life’s important decisions that are often neglected. We understand that this process can be stressful and emotional, therefore it is of our utmost priority to plan with your optimal desires in mind.  



2018 Super Lawyers Selection

I am honored to have been selected by Super Lawyers® to the 2018 Rising Stars List.

Only 5% of attorneys are selected for Super Lawyers, and only 2.5% make the Rising Stars List. At Tresp Law, APC, we take tremendous pride in the work we perform for our clients, and I am tremendously honored to have been recognized by the community for the work of our entire team. 

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Will your Trust actually work as intended? A harsh lesson that lost the family home.

So you have a Trust. Good move. But when the time comes, will your Trust actually perform as intended?

A poorly written Trust will only give you a false sense of security, and even if your Trust is well-written, neglecting to fund or follow the provisions of your Trust will render the document worth little more than the paper on which it was printed.

From the annals of "you don't have what you thought you did" comes the instructional story of a Newport Beach homeowner, who thought he had protected his multi-million dollar home with a "QPRT" (Qualified Personal Residence Trust), only to find out at the worst possible time that his Trust failed miserably.

As an attorney with high-net-worth clients who turn to me to protect their assets, I understand well the importance of meticulously drafted Trusts that can withstand all challenges. As a litigator, all too often I see rusts that do not perform as intended.

I encourage you to read this article, published in Forbes by Jay Adkisson, and linked below, but the principal lessons are:

  1. Laws and circumstances change. Your Trust is a living document that must be kept up to date.
  2. A QPRT can be an excellent tool to mitigate future estate tax liability, but only if drafted effectively, which brings us to the next lesson:
  3. Irrevocable means irrevocable. Even if your Trust is supposed to be irrevocable, if provisions therein allow you to revoke it, then you may be at risk.
  4. Finally, filing for bankruptcy must be approached with extreme caution.


Call me at 888-814-5552 or contact me by email for all of your asset protection, estate planning, and litigation needs. 

How Well-Written is Your Estate Plan?

Even if you have an estate plan, how well-written is it, and have you kept it up to date? The heirs of Robin Williams have commenced an expensive court battle due to conflicting provisions in his trust. Read more here.

Essentially, Robin Williams' estate plan included a trust that granted his children his memorabilia and awards in the entertainment industry and some other specific personal items, but also called for the creation of provisions to benefit his wife, which included the couple's home and "the contents thereof,” according to his will.

Pitfalls and conflicts such as this are all too common in many trusts I have reviewed. Simply put, not all estate plans are created equal.

We can review your estate plan today to ensure that your heirs don't fall victim to the same unfortunate errors that plague Robin Williams' heirs.

Call me at 888-814-5552 or contact me by email for a free consultation.

Protect Your Home With A Trust

Trusts are important for any homeowner, not just the wealthy.


A trust is a fiduciary arrangement in which a grantor transfers their own property to a third party, or trustee(s), to hold for the benefit of another, the beneficiaries.

Trusts may be revocable or irrevocable, and may be in effect during life or testamentary, to take effect when the grantor is deceased.


1. Avoid probate. This is a big one. When a California property owner dies, most assets not held in Trust must be administered and distributed under court supervision as designated in the decedent's Last Will and Testament. If no will exists, State law governs the administration and distribution. Unfortunately, this process causes delays and can eat up a large portion of the estate.

The costs associated with probate are based on the total value of the asset, not the net value after liabilities. For example, if you own a home worth $1,000,000 but owe $950,000 on your mortgage, the value for probate costs is still $1,000,000. In that case, probate would cost $21,000 in statutory fees, plus court costs and fees. As you can see, probate can be very expensive.

Probate will take between six months and two years to complete. During that time, the asset is held up and has not been distributed to your heirs.

2. Avoid reassessment for tax purposes. Usually, a change in ownership causes the property to be reassessed for property taxes, unless a parent/child or other exclusion applies. Transferring the home to a beneficiary through a revocable trust does not cause reassessment. This means that your beneficiary won’t get stuck with higher property tax payments, even if the home has appreciated in value over the years.

3. Ensure your wishes are honored. With a trust, you have full control over exactly what happens to your property when you pass.

4. Protect your property if you are incapacitated. With a trust, you are able to designate someone to handle your financial affairs, allowing you protection should you become incapacitated.

5. Possible savings on estate taxes. Finally, a trust can help you to save, or avoid, Estate Taxes. For more details on how, contact Elizabeth A. Tresp, Attorney at Law today.


The only possible disadvantage is the potential inconvenience imposed by some financial institutions. If you ever need to refinance or sell your home, your financial institution may require the additional step of having you transfer the property out of trust and back to you personally in order to sell it. If you are refinancing, some banks may require you to transfer the property back to you personally for the refinance, and then you can transfer it back into the trust. But doing so is very simple and quick.


Call Elizabeth A. Tresp, Attorney at Law today at 888-814-5552 or email us. We have offices in Solana Beach and Pacific Beach. Protect your home and family with a trust today. 


A New Year's Resolution your family will appreciate

Dust off that Will and Trust you had drawn up years ago. Where is it now, anyway? In a desk? Safe deposit box? 

When was the last time you looked at it? Changes happen over time. Changes to your family, changes to your assets, and changes to the laws.

For 2015, resolve to have your documents reviewed. Perhaps they're fine, perhaps they just need a minor tweak to make them current. Either way, we are here to help. Now is the time for a review, so contact us today.

If you don't have an Estate Plan, now is the time. Contact us and, based on your needs, we will put together an Estate Plan suited to your specific situation, generally including:

  • Pour-over Will
  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Advance Health Care Directive
  • Durable Power of Attorney

Contact me today at 888-814-5552 or send me an email.

Estate Plans are Critical for Singles

Most people understand the importance of an effective Estate Plan for the “married with children” portion of the population. Few think about the divorced, widowed, and singles. For these groups, an Estate Plan is just as important!

If you are single, and do not have a valid Will or Trust, your lifetime of accumulations go where the state says they go. Each state sets standard formulas for distribution when a person dies without a Will or Trust, or “intestate”. That means a single person’s estate may be distributed to distant relatives, potentially against the decedent’s wishes, or if there are no relatives, then to the state. Would you want the result of your life’s work to end up in the hands of the state?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on this topic, warning, “it can be especially important for single people to work with estate-planning professionals.”

I encourage you to read the Wall Street Journal article, linked below. If you are single, or if you know a single person who does not have an Estate Plan, contact me today for a free consultation. In the New Year, resolve to set aside an hour to discuss with me how to secure your legacy.  

A general Estate Plan will usually include:

  • Pour-over Will
  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Advance Health Care Directive
  • Durable Power of Attorney

Contact me today at 888-814-5552 or send me an email.

National Estate Planning Awareness Week

Did you know that over 120 million Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan? 

In 2008, Congress adopted this week, October 20-26, as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. This week is the perfect opportunity to set aside time to plan for your family's future by creating or updating your estate plan. 

To learn more about estate planning, visit the Estate Planning section of our website for more information. Contact Elizabeth today to learn how easy creating or updating your estate plan can be.

Governor vetoes bill to update probate code to protect pets

On September 19, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1520, a bill introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto and passed 72-0 in the California State Assembly. This bill gained notoriety for being the first “crowd-sourced” bill, written by Gatto’s constituents on a wiki. What was the topic of the bill? Updating the probate code to help protect our pets.

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