CALL US: (925) 660-7544

Oakland Estate Planning Lawyer

The Oakland estate planning lawyers at Barr & Douds can create a customized estate plan to secure your legacy and protect your loved ones’ futures. We serve clients across Northern California and the Bay Area, including Danville, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, Pleasant Hill, Livermore, and Oakland.

Contact us today or fill out our Estate Planning Information Form for a free consultation.

What Is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a comprehensive legal structure designed to manage and distribute an individual’s assets and responsibilities after their incapacitation or death. Estate plans typically include legal documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives.

These are some key components of an estate plan, along with their purposes:

  • Will: Outlines the distribution of assets and care of minor children.
  • Trusts: Manages property and assets for beneficiaries.
  • Power of Attorney: Grants another person the authority to handle your financial or legal matters.
  • Advance Healthcare Directive: Specifies your wishes for medical treatment.
  • Beneficiary Designations: Indicates who inherits specific assets.
  • Guardianship Designations: Specifies guardians for minor children if both parents pass away.

With an effective estate plan, you can reduce potential taxes, provide clear instructions for your care if you become unable to make decisions, and rest assured that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes after your death.

What Is an Estate Plan?

Estate Planning Matters We Handle in Oakland, CA

Our Oakland estate planning attorneys provide an array of legal services to facilitate the management and distribution of our clients’ assets according to their wishes. Our comprehensive estate planning services include the following:

  • Trust Administration: Our goal is efficient asset distribution and compliance with all legal standards involving trusts.
  • Last Wills and Testaments: We assist with drafting and finalizing wills that clearly express your final wishes.
  • Living Trusts: We create trusts that can manage assets during your lifetime, allow your estate to avoid probate, and provide for your loved ones after you pass.
  • Living Wills and Advance Healthcare Directives: We draft comprehensive documents that clearly state your treatment preferences, easing the burden on your loved ones.
  • Powers of Attorney: Our team prepares power of attorney documents that authorize another person to manage your legal and financial affairs if you become incapacitated.
  • Irrevocable Trusts: We create irrevocable trusts to protect your assets, reduce estate taxes, and provide for your heirs.

A comprehensive estate plan involves more than just a will. Turn to our attorneys for help creating a plan that meets your needs, no matter how simple or complex.

Why You May Need an Estate Plan

An estate plan serves several purposes:

  • Ensures Your Wishes Are Honored: An estate plan allows your assets to be distributed according to your wishes instead of defaulting to California inheritance laws.
  • Manages Taxes: Proper planning for large estates can reduce estate and gift taxes, preserving more of your wealth for your beneficiaries.
  • Avoids Probate: Certain estate planning tools, such as living trusts, may allow your estate to bypass the lengthy and costly probate process.
  • Protects Beneficiaries: An estate plan can provide financial security for your loved ones, including minors or dependents with special needs.
  • Prepares for Incapacity: Documents like powers of attorney and advance healthcare directives provide instructions for handling your financial and medical affairs if you become incapacitated.
  • Reduces Family Conflicts: Clear instructions on the distribution of your assets can help prevent disputes among family members.
  • Appoints Guardians for Minor Children: You can designate guardians for your minor children, ensuring they are cared for by individuals you trust.

Most importantly, an estate plan provides peace of mind; you’ll know that your affairs will be managed and that your loved ones will be cared for according to your wishes long after you are gone.


Contact Our Oakland Estate Planning Attorney Today

Contact Our Oakland Estate Planning Attorney Today

Are you ready to secure your legacy and protect your loved ones? Contact our Oakland estate planning attorneys today to schedule your consultation.

What Does the Estate Planning Process Look Like?

The estate planning process typically includes several key steps. As you move forward, your attorney will better understand how to effectively capture your wishes as they construct a legally sound plan.


You’ll meet with an estate planning attorney to discuss your goals, needs, and concerns. This includes talking about your family dynamics, your financial situation, and how you would like your assets to be handled.

Inventory of Assets

You will compile a list of all of your assets, which might include real estate, investments, retirement accounts, insurance policies, and personal possessions.

Identification of Beneficiaries

During this important step, you will decide who will inherit each of your assets. It’s a good idea to consider not only major assets like your home and bank accounts but also sentimental items and keepsakes.

Depending on your situation, your attorney may suggest various legal approaches. Along with a will, these might include an irrevocable or revocable trust, a power of attorney, and an advance healthcare directive.

Drafting Documents

Your attorney will draft the legal documents that reflect your wishes. This step requires specific legal knowledge to ensure that all provisions are clear and enforceable. You will review these documents, make adjustments if necessary, and discuss any additional questions or concerns you may have.

Signing and Notarization

Once the documents are finalized, you will sign them in the presence of witnesses. This step makes the documents legally valid.

Communication with Loved Ones

Although you are not legally required to, you should consider talking with your family about the general structure of your estate plan. Clear communication will allow you to manage their expectations and potentially prevent disputes.

Ongoing Review and Updates

Life circumstances don’t stay the same. You might get married, get divorced, or have children. Beneficiaries may pass away, or your assets could significantly increase. Since these changes may affect your estate plan, you should review and revise it periodically.

Ongoing Review and Updates

Can I Change or Modify My Estate Plan?

Yes, you can modify your estate plan at any time as long as you are legally competent. This is especially important after significant life changes such as marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, a change in your financial status, or the death of a beneficiary.

Changing your plan might involve amending a will, modifying a trust, revising beneficiary designations, or updating powers of attorney and healthcare directives.

However, altering a document on your own may not meet legal requirements and could render it invalid. Modifications often require formal amendments and must be executed with the same legal formalities as the originals, such as being witnessed and notarized. An estate planning attorney can work with you to create legally sound changes to your plan.

How Much Does It Cost to Create an Estate Plan in Oakland?

The cost to create an estate plan in Oakland depends on the complexity of your needs and the experience level of your attorney. A basic will may cost only a few hundred dollars. However, this cost does not include important documents like a power of attorney and a healthcare directive.

More complex estate plans with trusts can cost several thousand dollars or more, especially if specialized trusts, business succession planning, and other advanced strategies are involved.

For large or complex estates, the services of a skilled attorney can make a significant difference, smoothing the process for heirs and removing obstacles and ambiguities.

Why Choose Our Northern California Estate Planning Lawyers?

The right estate planning lawyer can draft a legally binding estate plan that accurately reflects your wishes. Here’s why you should choose Barr & Douds:

  • Knowledge and Experience: Our attorneys focus on estate planning and have years of experience crafting tailored plans for clients with diverse needs.
  • Proven Track Record: We have a history of creating successful estate plans that have helped clients secure their legacies and protect their loved ones’ futures.
  • Local Knowledge: Our Northern California attorneys understand the local courts and are well-versed in state laws involving wills, trusts, and probate.
  • Client-Centered Focus: Our team is dedicated to providing exceptional client service, ensuring you feel supported and informed throughout the entire process.

Planning your estate is not just mentally taxing; it can also be emotionally fraught. You can count on our attorneys to handle your legal needs with compassion and sensitivity.



Our Oakland Estate Planning Lawyers

Loren Barr

Loren Barr

Nick Maxwell

Nick Maxwell

Senior Counsel


I hired Loren Barr several months ago to help me as a beneficiary of my family trust. David Monsour was the attorney assigned to work with me. His work was outstanding. As with situations of this kind, my emotions ran wild at times and he was highly attentive, calm, strong, honest, respectful and responsive. I am very happy with the outcome of our work together and recommend this law office highly.
Lisa W., San Francisco, CA
I was looking for some legal services for my daughter. Mr. Barr was kind enough to get on the phone and pointed me in the right direction without hesitation. Thank you.
Jim L., Walnut Creek, CA
I found that Graham Douds and Loren Barr are very professional. They listen with compassion and understanding. Graham is the best and I as ex-military found Loren, who is also an honorable Marine, a great person above reproach. Thank you guys for helping my Mother and I. God bless.
Frank Francisco M., Danville, CA
arrow arrow
arrow arrow

Schedule a Consultation with Barr & Douds for Your Estate Planning Needs

Secure your future today — schedule a consultation with Barr & Douds for qualified estate planning services. Contact us now to get started.
Disclaimer arrow