California Essential Workers:

This page contains estate planning materials. There are downloadable forms of a Statutory will, Power of attorney, and Advance healthcare directive. There are also instructional videos that walk through all three forms and a glossary with some estate planning terms.

If you need more assistance, please click here to contact an attorney. Our attorneys are ready to help you complete the forms over the phone for free.

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Instructional Videos

Estate Planning During a Pandemic

Statutory Will

Advanced Healthcare Directive

Power of Attorney

Get Help From an Attorney

Glossary of Estate Planning Terms

Advance Health Care Directive:

A legal document in which you state your wishes about the types of medical care you do or do not want if you are unable to speak for yourself


The person (usually the spouse, domestic partner, or close relative) that the court appoints to manage the estate of person who dies without a Will. The administrator is also called the personal representative of the estate.


A person authorized to act for and under the instruction of another person when dealing with third parties.

Anatomical gifts:

A donation of all or part of a human body to take effect after the donor’s death for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research, or education.

Beneficiary :

a person who inherits when there is a Will.

Beneficiary Designation/Assets with Beneficiary Designation:

The description of the person/persons you want to receive a specific asset upon your death. Transfer-on-death (TOD) and Pay-on-death (POD) accounts are examples of accounts that fall under assets with beneficiary designation.

Community Property:

Generally, everything spouses own together. California is a community property state. Property (including both spouses’ income and items purchased with income) that a couple acquires during marriage. Debt that the couple acquires during the marriage/partnership also belongs to the “community debt.” Community property and items bought with community funds are owned equally by both spouses. Some exceptions include things acquired by gift or inheritance.


a responsible person or organization to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.


the person who died.

Decedent’s Estate:

all real and personal property that a person owned at the time of death.

Estate tax:

Federal estate tax is imposed by the federal government on property transferred during life or at someone’s death. All property, however, owned and whether or not it goes through probate court before being given to inheritors is subject to estate tax.


The person named in a will to handle the property of someone who has died. The executor collects the property, pays debts and taxes, and then distributes what’s left, as specified in the will. The executor is also called the personal representative of the estate


A legal relationship created by a court between a guardian and either a minor child or an incapacitated adult (although the latter relationship is more commonly called a conservatorship).


A person who inherits when there is no Will.

Holographic Will:

A Will that is handwritten, dated and signed by the person writing the Will.


Acronym that stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a United States law made to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.


Lacking the physical or mental abilities to manage one’s own personal care, property, or finances.


When someone dies without leaving a Will.

Intestate succession:

The order of who inherits property when someone dies without a Will.

Joint Tenancy:

A way for two or more people to share ownership of real estate or other property.  If one of the owners dies, the surviving owner gets the entire property.

Living Trust:

A trust set up during the life of a person to distribute money or property to another person or organization.

Personal Property:

Things like cash, stocks, jewelry, clothing, furniture, or cars.

POD – Pay on Death:

In California, you can add a “payable-on-death” (POD) designation to bank accounts such as savings accounts or certificates of deposit. You still control all the money in the account — your POD beneficiary has no rights to the money, and you can spend it all if you want. At your death, the beneficiary can claim the money directly from the bank without probate court proceedings.

Power of Attorney:

A document that gives another person legal authority to act on your behalf


The court process for distributing a dead person’s assets, paying debts owed by the dead person, and settling the financial affairs of people when they die. The probate process includes things such as: proving the authenticity of the deceased person’s will, appointing someone to handle the deceased person’s affairs, identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property, etc.


When creating a power of attorney or other legal documents, the person who appoints an attorney-in-fact or agent to act on his or her behalf.

Prolong/Not prolong life:

Any medical procedure, treatment, or intervention that uses mechanical or other artificial means to sustain vital function. It does not mean to expect recovery from a terminal condition. To not want your life sustained through procedures like the ones mentions is to not prolong the life

Real Property:

Buildings and land.

Right of Survivorship

The right of a surviving co-owner to take ownership of a deceased owner’s share of the property.

Separate Property:

An asset owned prior to the date of marriage, acquired after the date of separation or acquired after the date of marriage and prior to the date of separation by way of inheritance or gift as it is defined by the California Family Code. Income, rents, and dividends generated by the separate property are separate property.


Anyone who has the legal right to receive property of a person who dies, either under a Will or the Probate Code.

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