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Finding Reputable Legal Services

Finding a good estate planning or trust lawyer in the Monterey, Santa Cruz and Hollister areas to work with may be easier than you think. The attorneys listed in this Directory are a great place to start. Also, you can and should ask friends, family members or colleagues for a reference.

Once you have a reference, you can “check out” the attorney for any disciplinary actions and also see how their peers rate them. At the California State Bar website - www.calbar.ca.gov under Attorney Resources you can see if the attorney is in good standing and if there have been any disciplinary actions taken against the attorney. At www.Martindale.com you can see how the attorney was rated by his or her peers.

When you’ve narrowed your choices down to two or three attorneys consider meeting with each for a free consultation. This will help you determine which one you can best relate to and communicate with. Remember, hopefully this will be a long term relationship and you will need to feel comfortable discussing your most personal concerns. Attorneys are like doctors, you can find a good one but if you don’t feel like they hear what you are saying or if they speak in such a way that you find difficult to understand, then maybe it’s best to move on. Also, the one that relates best with your sister, Sue, may not be the one that relates best to you.

If the attorney you like the best is the most expensive, find out why. The attorney may be a specialist in their field, hold certain credentials, or provide additional services not covered by the other attorneys. Also, if he or she relates well to you and you are impressed with their knowledge and expertise, maybe that explains why they charge more for their services. Most certainly, it will be money well spent.

How Much Will My Estate Plan Cost?

There are many questions that surround estate planning. A common concern is what will it cost? A similar question is “I’m not going to do my planning now, things will change and then I’ll need to have the plan redone. When should I do my planning?”

First, let’s talk about estate planning in general. Few of us have a crystal ball and can tell when we will experience the grand event. Planning should be done today, based on today’s situation and today’s tax environment. Plans can most always be amended in the future to conform to new personal circumstances and to changes in estate planning or tax law. The cost of amending the plan will seem insignificant if compared to the financial, not to mention emotional, cost of having no plan or having a plan that does not accurately reflect your wishes.

Another question that comes up is “Why should I pay the cost for an attorney firm when I see ads in the paper for “free living trusts” or I can go to a local “shop” and get a plan done for $600 or $800 dollars”? Or, my friend has a plan, I’m just going to copy their documents and change the names.

The relationship you develop with an estate planning attorney will most likely prove to be one of the most important relationships in your life. Having a trusted legal advisor who takes the time to get to know you and your family, discuss the unique challenges that you may face with relatives or in-laws, and craft a customized plan to address those concerns can be invaluable. Additionally, you should be able to count on that advisor (or their associates) to work with your spouse, significant other, or children after you are gone - this is the time when your loved ones will be grieving and having an individual who was familiar with your thoughts, values and intentions will be hugely comforting to those left behind. If the worst were to happen and someone challenges your estate plan, having an attorney who has years of notes in his or her file to document your intentions and the basis upon which your plan is drafted can mean the difference between prevailing in the defense of your plan and in failing.

After the plan is drafted, you should visit with your attorney on a regular basis to keep the plan current and re-visit the plan if you experience a significant change in circumstances such as the death of a family member, divorce, or substantial changes of financial position.

If you go to a “free trust” service, you will most likely end up buying an insurance policy or an annuity - after all, we all know there is “no free lunch”. If you go to a shop to have a plan drafted and need to revise it in the future, chances are you will end up going to an attorney who will need to re-do the entire plan. You really get what you pay for in the estate planning field - at least from the attorneys in our area. As to making a copy of a friend’s plan and changing the names, well, all that can be said is that the estate planning field encompasses both legal and tax planning and is the most complex and most litigated legal field in our country. It is hugely complex from titling of property, tax treatment of US vs. Non-US citizens, references to children that you may or may not want to include. A four hour seminar is offered to attorneys to discuss the strength of a disinheritance clause - which is usually just one paragraph of a 20+ page document. Establishing a relationship with an attorney and having them build a customized plan for our family which addresses all the legal and tax issues of your estate will be money well spent.

Generally speaking, a full estate plan consists of a Will for each of husband and wife (or domestic partners), a trust, power of attorney for finances, advance directive (living will or “pull the plug” document), and transfer of title of assets to the newly formed trust.

In the Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito areas, a full plan as outlined above will generally cost anywhere from $1200 to $2400 and up. This includes the consultations, preparation of the documents, revisions to the drafts, finalization of the documents and execution. Then, the funding takes place and for the usual plan which includes a home and maybe a couple other pieces of real estate, bank or stock accounts, etc., the cost is included. Most attorneys will provide a free consultation so take advantage of this, meet with them, discuss your situation and find out first if you feel you understand the attorney and they understand you and, second, what the approximate cost will be.

If additional documents are needed such as Life Insurance Trusts, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, or if unique assets that require an unusual amount of paperwork to transfer to trust are part of the plan, the price will most likely go up. Many attorneys will set up payment plans.

Having a strong relationship with a trusted legal advisor will provide benefits in numerous ways. It will help you construct a plan during your lifetime that will serve you well, and it will be extremely important to those you leave behind.

In Home Health Care Providers


Funeral & Pre-Need Planning

Prearranging your funeral is both a gift to your family and a simple way to ensure that your wishes will be carried out, down to the last detail. At a time of loss and grief, your pre-planning will be a gift to your family. They will be relieved of guessing or, worse yet arguing, about what you would have preferred in terms of burial or cremation, services, etc. Working with a funeral home’s pre-planning specialist you can plan your final services in detail and you can provide the information that will be needed when the time comes.

The following is a list of homes in the Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties along with the name of the pre-planning specialist. Most homes will allow you to either pre-pay for services or postpone payment until the services are needed.

A listing in this section does not constitute a recommendation of either an agency or its service


Mission Mortuary
450 Camino El Estero
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: 831-375-4129
Pre-Need Planner: Norma Hungerford or Lucien Oldenburg.

Mission Memorial Park and Funeral Home

1915 Ord Grove Ave
Seaside, CA 93955

Monterey Crematory (Same as Paul Mortuary - see below)

Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: 831-375-4193
Pre-Need Planner: Jane Filetic

The Paul Mortuary

390 Lighthouse Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Phone: (831)375-4191
Pre-Need Planner: Jane Filetic

Seaside Funeral Home

1610 Noche Buena St
Seaside, CA 93955-4454
Phone: 831-394-1406
Pre-Need Planner: Lucien Oldenburg

Struve & Laporte Funeral Chapel

41 W San Luis St
Salinas, CA 93901
Phone: 831-424-0311
Pre-Need Planner: Bob Struve

Healey Mortuary and Crematory
405 N Sanborn Rd
Salinas, CA 93905
Phone: 831-424-1848
Pre-Need Planner: None

Marina Cremation & Burial Alternatives
229 Reindollar Ave
Marina, CA 93933
Phone: 831-384-5800

Whitehurst-Grim Funeral Service

429 Bassett St
King City, CA 93930
Phone: 831-385-3241

Whitehurst-Muller Funeral Service

41 E Alisal St
Salinas, CA 93901
Phone: 831-424-2263

Whitehurst-Terry Funeral Services

395 East St
Soledad, CA 93960
Phone: 831-678-2623

Pre-Need Planner for all Whitehurst facilities: Rosalyn Stanley


Benito Norman Funeral Director
1050 Cayuga St
Santa Cruz, CA 95062-2422
Phone: 831-476-6211
Pre-Need Planner: Deanna Mosher

Santa Cruz Memorial Park & Funeral Home
3301 Paul Sweet Rd
Santa Cruz, CA 95065
Phone: 831-464-6690
Pre-Need Planner: Monica

Cunningham George Funeral
1927 Ocean Street Ext
Santa Cruz, CA 95060-1722
Phone: 831-426-1601
Pre-Need Planner: Monica

Holy Cross Cemetery & Mausoleum
2271 7th Ave
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: 831-475-3222
Pre-Need Planner: Management Staff

Santa Cruz Watsonville Cremation Service
1048 Cayuga St
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: 831-475-6880
Pre-Need Planner: Deanna Mosher

White's Mortuary
3301 Paul Sweet Rd
Santa Cruz, CA 95065
Phone: 831-423-4800
Pre-Need Planner: None


Black - Cooper - Sander Funeral Home
363 Seventh St
Hollister, CA 95023
Phone: 831-637-3793

Gavilan Hills Crematory

363 7th
Hollister, CA 95023
Phone: 831-637-3793

Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home & Crematory

870 San Benito
Hollister, CA 95023
Phone: 831-637-3757


Reporting Elder Abuse
  Finding Reputable Legal Services
  How Much Will My Estate Plan Cost
  In Home Health Care Providers
  Funeral & Pre-Need Planning

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