Wills, Trusts, Elder Law, & Estate Planning

Estate planning is not just for the rich. Protecting your property and ensuring that your assets are distributed based on your wishes is essential for just about everyone.

Eric D. Ridley provides affordable wills and trusts to regular families in Ventura County. I provide creative, practical and cost-effective estate planning advice so you can protect your loved ones and manage your legacy.

Creative Estate Planning for Ventura County

The process of estate planning is proactive. Detailed and thorough planning protects your assets, limits exposure to estate taxes, helps your heirs and beneficiaries avoid probate, and can help ensure that your wishes are carried out.

I begin with an analysis of your existing income, assets, insurance, wants, and needs. I then consider a wide range of estate planning tools beginning with wills, living wills, durable powers of attorney, and simple revocable or irrevocable trusts.

As I develop a better understanding of your existing situation and your goals, I may recommend:

  • Specialized trusts, including special needs trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and living trusts
  • Limited partnerships or family limited partnerships, which result in a division of interests that reduces the value of the estate for tax purposes. These can be used effectively to transfer ownership of vineyards, orchards, agricultural property, and small businesses to the next generation.
  • Limited Liability companies (LLCs), which can reduce transfer costs and limit gift taxation when certain assets are likely to be transferred to a giftee on a regular basis
  • Annual gifting programs, when carefully planned in advance, can minimize the value of your estate that may be subject to tax

Domestic Partnerships/Non-Traditional Couples (LGBT estate planning and others)

I am pleased to be able to assist LGBT couples with the formation of domestic partnerships, community property issues, and other legal strategies to protect their relationships.

In particular, I recommend that every LGBT couple have, at a minimum, a durable medical power of attorney and HIPAA waivers in place. The last thing you want is to have any doubt about whether your partner has the right to make medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so. Having an appropriate medical power of attorney reduces that anxiety.