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Preserving Your Family's Wealth For Future Generations

Whether you're planning for your future financial health or establishing support for loved ones upon your death, the Vista, California, law office of Paul V. L. Campo can help you with all aspects of trusts and estates issues, including:

Securing Your Legacy

You work hard for your family, so knowing that you have planned for their long-term well-being and financial security will bring you comfort. We thoroughly analyze your estate and listen to your concerns to determine the best means of transferring your assets, establishing guardianships for your children, caring for your family pets, supporting your personal philanthropic causes, and protecting your loved ones, among many others.

Drafting Your Living Will

Your living will (or in California, your advance health care directive) sets the parameters for medical intervention should you ever become incapacitated. It assures you that when you are most vulnerable, your personal medical wishes will be honored. The advance health care directive allows the principal to designate one or more agents to make health care decisions when he or she is unable to do so.

Drafting Your Last Will And Testament

Your will provides the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes upon your death. A will is necessary if you intend to leave property to a person or entity other than your spouse and children, such as a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed and who cares for your children — in the process, making decisions that might not reflect your desires.

Changing Your Will Or Trust

As your life changes, so might your estate plan. You may need to update your will or trust at various times in your life. At the law office of Paul V. L. Campo, we draft valid codicils and trust amendments that address changes in your financial situation, marital status, number of children, philanthropic interests and general lifestyle decisions.

Appointment Of Guardians

If you have minor children, your will allows you to make decisions about their future care. This is especially crucial if you are a single parent or if both parents die in a common accident. If you do not name a guardian, the court will appoint one for your children. This person may make decisions adverse to your parenting goals.

Durable Power Of Attorney

A power of attorney allows one person to make financial decisions for another. Because of advances in modern medicine, it is far more likely that someone will be incapacitated for a long period rather than die right away. For example, if someone were in a serious auto accident and is unable to leave a skilled nursing facility for weeks, the other person can still manage his or her property.

Living Trusts

In California, many people find that they need to provide for a comprehensive approach to achieve their estate planning goals. Paul V. L. Campo can help you decide whether a living trust should become a valuable part of your estate plan.


Today’s families come in many shapes, and at the law office of Paul V. L. Campo we understand and welcome this reality. Estate planning for LGBT clients is both the same yet different than that for heterosexual married couples. Today, if a same sex couple wants to marry, they may do so and their marriage is legal across the country. Planning from a legal and financial perspective has been made easier; nevertheless, there are still issues of wealth disparity, health care, aging, and family origin that are similar to those facing heterosexual couples, but always with a slight difference.

At the law office of Paul V. L. Campo we believe that the obvious conclusion is for LGBT couples to have their estate plans in place if they want to spare loved ones difficult decisions about care while alive but incapacitated, and unnecessary, long, and costly procedures at death.

Estate Planning Solves Problems for the LGBT Community

An LGBT couple can avoid numerous problems through proper estate planning:

  • For a married same-sex couple, proper estate planning will ensure that they receive all of the state and federal benefits of their marriage, while avoiding probate, maintaining their privacy, and protecting their assets.
  • For an unmarried same-sex couple, proper estate planning will ensure that their partner will have legal rights to make health care decisions, to mange their partner’s assets during incapacity, and inherit assets from the other while avoiding probate.
  • A living trust can nominate the spouse or partner as the a co-trustee to help manage their spouse’s or partner’s financial affairs, if the spouse or partner should become incapacitated.
  • An advance health care directive can avoid potential problems if a spouse or partner does become incapacitated. The directive allows a spouse or partner to appoint the other spouse, partner, or someone else whom they trust to make health care decisions on their behalf if they should become incapacitated. This would prevent potential problems, such as not giving a spouse or partner access to his or her incapacitated spouse or partner.
  • A proper estate plan will ensure that the couple’s assets are distributed to whom they want, when and how they want, just as it does for heterosexual couples.
  • A living trust guarantees privacy, through avoidance of probate and its process of public court records. This benefits any same-sex couple who wishes to keep their relationship, assets, and distribution confidential.

Estate Planning for Unmarried Same-Sex Couples

While you may view your partner the same, whether you are married or not, the law does not view your partner the same way. California does not recognize common law marriage. This means that if you or your partner should die without proper estate planning, the survivor would likely receive nothing. Even worse, the well partner may be kept away from his or her sick partner because of family prejudice. At the law office of Paul V. L. Campo we know that both married and unmarried same-sex couples need an estate plan that is specifically tailored to their needs and wishes.


Estate planning allows you to create a strategy for managing your assets, both during your lifetime and after you pass away. This includes determining what will happen to your real property, as well as your investments and other financial accounts. It can also cover more than that if you have pets.

A pet trust is a legal arrangement that specifies how your animal companions will be cared for and taken care of financially when you pass away, or if you become seriously ill or disabled and can no longer take care of them yourself.

At the law office of Paul V. L. Campo, we understand how pet trusts work and what their benefits are. We can help you decide whether you need to include one in your overall estate plan.

What Does a Pet Trust Cover?

When you set up a trust, you as the trustor instruct the trustee exactly how you want any assets in your trust to be administered for yourself if incapacitated, and then distributed to the trust's named beneficiaries after your death. A pet trust operates similarly.

When you decide to create the pet trust, you start by naming a caregiver / custodian for your pet. The custodian receives cash or other assets from your trustee for the benefit of your pet. Funds held in the trust are used to pay for the pet’s care and related expenses. You can also use a pet trust to specify end of life care for a pet, and to provide any burial or cremation arrangements once your pet passes away.

Establishing a Pet Trust

Creating a pet trust is similar to creating any other type of trust. At the law office of Paul V. L. Campo, we draft the trust document itself. You will need to identify the person you want to serve as the custodian, and any successor custodians if you're worried about your pet outliving them.

When actually structuring the pet trust, there are some specific points to consider, such as the following:

  • Your pet's current standard of living and care
  • The level of care you expect your pet's new caregiver to offer
  • Who should act as caregiver, and as successor caregivers
  • How often the caregiver should report on your pet's status to the trustee of your trust
  • Your pet's life expectancy
  • The likelihood of your pet developing any serious health issues
  • The amount you estimate your pet's caregiver will need to manage pet-related expenses
  • What will happen to any remaining money in the trust once your pet passes away

That last one is important if you don't want any leftover funds to go to waste. You can have the money divided among the beneficiaries of your trust, or donate it to charity. You should also think about when the pet trust will take effect. You may not anticipate becoming permanently incapacitated, but it may be wise to have your pet trust plan for that possibility.

All trusts are complex legal documents that require a solid understanding of California law. An improperly-formed pet trust may have no legal effect, leaving your pet to be distributed as property under your trust. At the law office of Paul V. L. Campo, we know that when you provide for a beloved pet, your pet trust will withstand legal challenge.

Personal And Trustworthy Legal Counsel

Whether you need assistance preparing an estate plan, administering a trust, or litigating a trust or probate matter, we offer efficient and effective legal representation. We pride ourselves on our long history of protecting our clients' best interests in all aspects of estate planning, trust and probate law.

Our Family Package Of Services

Our typical estate planning package for couples with children generally includes the following:

  • Revocable trust
  • Pour-over will
  • Durable powers of attorney over assets
  • Durable advance health care directives
  • Nominations of conservator
  • Assignment of furniture, furnishings and personal effects
  • HIPAA authorizations and waivers
  • Certificate of trustees
  • Nominations of guardians
  • One grant deed

Efficient, Cost-Effective Fees Structure

The fees vary for the legal work involved and are based upon a good faith estimate of the amount of time necessary to meet with you, analyze your unique needs, prepare your draft documents, make your requested changes, and supervise the execution of your originals.

Similar packages are available for couples with no children and singles with or without children. Again, the fees vary for the legal work involved, and are based upon our good faith estimate.

Contact Information · Free 30-Minute Consultation With A Lawyer

Call our offices in Vista, California, at 760-691-1081 or send the convenient email form with a brief explanation of the estate planning services you need to discuss.