Estate planning, probate, wills, living trusts, POwer of attorney


Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for how an individual's assets will be managed and distributed after their death.

Wills And Estate Planning Attorney Oeanside, CA

What is a Will?

So, what is a Will? I think most of us have a good idea of what a Will is all about. A Will is an instrument that distributes property upon the death of the Testator. The Testator is the person that created the will. It is said that the will speaks only upon the death of the Testator which means it can be modified or completely revoked. There are certain exceptions relating to powers of appointment but for the purposes of our discussion here I will not go into any detail regarding that. Wills are admitted to probate which, among other things, means that it is a public document. This is the main reason actors, other famous people, ultra-rich, and – all of us – prefer not to use them to dispose of an entire estate. A trust is a private document and has gained much favor because of that aspect alone.

Why Is A Will So Important?

Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for how an individual's assets will be managed and distributed after their death. It involves making decisions about who will receive your property, who will manage your financial affairs, and who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. One essential document in estate planning is a will, which outlines your final wishes and ensures that they are conducted according to your desires.

In San Diego, California, estate planning laws dictate that if you pass away without a will, the state will determine how your assets are distributed through a process called intestate succession. This means that your property may not go to the people you would have chosen as beneficiaries, and it can also result in higher taxes and legal fees. By creating a will, you have control over how your assets are distributed and can potentially save your loved ones from unnecessary stress, confusion, and financial burden.

Here are some of the reasons why having a will is crucial in San Diego estate planning law:

Avoiding Intestate Succession: As mentioned earlier, if you pass away without a will in San Diego, the state will determine how your assets are distributed through intestate succession. This process can be time-consuming and may not align with your final wishes.

Designating Beneficiaries: A will allow you to name specific individuals or organizations as beneficiaries of your assets. This means that you have control over who receives what after your passing, rather than leaving it up to state laws.

Guardianship for Children: If you have minor children, a will allows you to designate a guardian who will take care of them in the event of your passing. This can provide peace of mind knowing that your children will be taken care of by someone you trust and have chosen specifically for this role.

Avoiding Family Disputes: Without a will, there is a higher chance of family disputes arising during the distribution of assets. This can not only create tension and conflict but also result in lengthy legal battles and potentially deplete the value of your estate.

Tax Planning: A will can be used as a tool for tax planning to minimize the amount of taxes your beneficiaries will have to pay on the assets they receive. This can be especially important for high-net-worth individuals and families.

Peace of Mind: Creating a will is not just about protecting your assets, but also providing peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones. Knowing that you have a plan in place for the distribution of your estate can alleviate stress and ensure your final wishes are carried out.

In conclusion, having a will is crucial in San Diego estate planning law as it allows you to have control over how your assets are distributed and can prevent potential conflicts among family members. It is an essential part of the estate planning process and should not be overlooked.

Call and Speak With Mr. Powell Now

The first step is fast and easy. Just tell us a few things. The next step will be a call from attorney Dan Powell and you will be well on your way to learning about your options, caring for your loved ones, and having a solid, attorney designed and drafted estate plan!

Our Practice Areas

Asset Protection

Asset protection is a crucial aspect of estate planning law in San Diego. It helps individuals and families safeguard their assets and property from potential threats. In this section, we will discuss the primary threats that asset protection aims to guard against.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of planning for the management and distribution of a person's assets (such as property, investments, and personal belongings) after their death.


When someone dies without a proper estate plan, Probate is the process that the court will use in distributing the property, and figuring out who the property is to be distributed to.

Special Needs Trusts

A special needs trust is a trust created for minors or adults that have some special need due to such things as learning disabilities, physical disabilities, etc.


Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for how an individual's assets will be managed and distributed after their death.

Living Trusts

Whether you are a long-time resident or a recent transplant to sunny San Diego, setting up a living trust can provide peace of mind and protection for your assets.

Irrevocable Trusts

What is an Irrevocable Trust? Just that! Irrevocable. You can’t change it after it has been created. This sounds kind of scary, but it has some wonderful uses.

Power Of Attorney

A power of attorney is the means you use to have your affairs managed should you become unable to manage your own affairs.

Advance Healthcare Directive

You have both the right and the ability to make decisions about your own health care. Because of that, you may also allow another person to make these decisions for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Plan Built Especially For You

When it comes to wills, trusts, and other types of estate planning, no two situations are the same. This is why my most important job is to listen to what you want to achieve in order to advise you on the best plan possible. Each and every document of your estate plan will be prepared by a licensed attorney to ensure your wishes are properly achieved.

Once Again, Proof Positive! - A robust, superbly drafted Revocable Living Trust centered estate plan is a superior method to prevent loss of time and money, and achieve your desires.

Affordable Plans, Competitive Rates, and Peace of Mind

You do not have to trade sound professional legal advice for a reasonably priced will, trust, or complete estate plan. My law office offers packages that are affordable and competitively priced.

With so much riding on your decisions, you and your family cannot afford mistakes. An attorney, like myself, who practices estate planning is the only person who can properly guide you to ensure your wishes are carried out and give you the peace of mind that comes with a properly executed and implemented estate plan.

What Do I Get With an Estate Plan Prepared by William Daniel Powell?

You will get an affordable plan, at a competitive rate, and the peace of mind that comes with a plan built especially for you.

Your exact situation and desired distribution will dictate the means to be used, as well as the ultimate cost of the plan. However, every estate plan I create contains the Revocable Living Trust, Certificate of Trust, Trust Summary, Pour-Over Will, Durable Power of Attorney, California Advanced Healthcare Directive, funding instructions for various assets, and the funding of your residence with a new deed and Preliminary Change of Ownership Report prepared by my office to put the residence into your trust. All documents are attorney prepared, and all advice is given by an attorney.

Legal Zoom won’t help you with funding or provide legal advice on such a personal level! Further, I will review the estate plan I create for you every three years, upon your request, with you for no additional charge*. Moreover, I am more than happy to discuss future changes to your situation, or family situation, as they arise and how it may impact the plan I drafted for you, at no additional charge*.

*Modifications will be at an additional charge.

But If I Create A Revocable Living Trust, Will I Lose Control of my Property?

Absolutely not. Think of a Revocable Living Trust as a bucket. It is a bucket that you constructed, and one which you hold. You are free to put things into the bucket, and take them out whenever you like. In the event you become incapacitated, you can determine whom you would like to hold the bucket on your behalf. In the event of your passing, you determine how the bucket is to be poured out to your family and friends. Moreover, the bucket and its content are not public record.

What Does Probate Cost?

California Probate Code sets the rate currently as:

  • 4% of the first $100,000 of the gross value of the probate estate
  • 3% of the next $100,000
  • 2% of the next $800,000
  • 1% of the next $9 million
  • .5% of the next $15 million

Keep in mind that the value of the estate is based on the value of the asset, and not its equity. Therefore, if you own a home valued by the appraiser at $500,000 and you have a mortgage balance of $400,000 – the value is not $100,000 but the full $500,000. Also, for example, let’s say you also have other property such as accounts and a car or two (worth an additional $150,000) that raise the total value of the estate to $650,000.

So the attorney probate fees for the estate break down like this:

  • 4% of the first $100,000 = $4,000
  • 3% of the next $100,000 = $3,000
  • 2% of the remaining $450,000 = $9,000

For a total fee of $16,000

So given everything we know now, let’s see what the potential costs will be for a simple $650,000 estate. This can be any combination of probate property, but let’s say the home is $500,000 (not difficult in California) and an additional $150,000 in probate property. Please keep in mind that fees given are approximate and may vary by location, changes in laws, or other factors.

  • $400 Court filing fee
  • $650 appraisal fee
  • $150 publication fee
  • $16,000 attorney fees
  • $16,000 executor fees (potential)
  • $400 fee to file Petition for Final Distribution Total of $17,600 to $33,600

So you see that an average cost of $1,000 to $2,500 for a Revocable Living Trust Centered Estate Plan is far more affordable than the cost of a $10,000 to $30,000 probate.

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Estate planning to meet your goals

With information contained within this website about wills, trusts, and other estate planning instruments, clients will have a better understanding of the process and different methods of estate planning and will be better prepared to describe the goals they wish to carry out with their particular estate plan. This will help refine and streamline the process so that the client gets outstanding legal service without unnecessary costs. This will help Mr. Powell in his goal of forwarding the legal profession by providing excellent legal service and creating happy clients.

Customer Testimonials

Mr. Powell is highly knowledgeable and truly transparent, a rare combo these days. He made the intricacies of our will and trust readily understandable and gave us a great deal compared to competing quotes we got for similar work. It was his communication style and the humanity with which he approaches an uncomfortable conversation that really won me over. Highly recommended.

Miguel B. Hart

Dan did a great job, handling the first part of our trust online and finishing with the convenience in our home. Dan handled the process within a short specified time. The process was quick and easy!

John Hale

I contacted William in order to draw up some organizational agreements for our band. You know just the right questions to ask, and quickly and efficiently translated that into exactly the contract I was looking for. Very responsive, very friendly. I would definitely recommend.


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(619) 980-2297
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