Shafae Law

Shafae Law

Shafae Law is a boutique law firm providing comprehensive estate planning, trust, estate, probate, and trust administration services located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Announcing the Launch of our Los Angeles Office!

Shafae Law is proud to announce that we have officially opened a Los Angeles office (12100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800, Los Angeles, CA 90025). Led by Natasha L. Carroll-Ferrary, the main office is located in West Los Angeles; and we have access to satellite offices all throughout the Southern California region. Our Los Angeles location will be providing the same breadth and depth of estate planning and estate administration services as our Northern California office.

Shafae Law specializes in all aspects of estate and tax planning, as well as post-mortem and estate administration. We guide you and your loved ones through the estate planning process to meet your needs and achieve your goals. We provide trust and estate administration services that carry out the terms of a trust expeditiously, or ensure a timely probate process is completed. We want you and your family to have the peace of mind that you are in good hands.

Equally as important, we are transparent about our fees, and charge clients on a flat-fee basis only. We do not have an hourly rate, and we do not charge for communications, emails, or in-person consultations. We do not want our clients looking at a clock; we want you to take your time with us so you feel comfortable and confident.

Please contact us to set up a free consultation and find out whether our services are right for you.

What is... Intestacy?

This is part of an on-going series of blog posts titled the "What Is..." series, where we attempt to explain, in simple terms, common estate planning terms and concepts. To read other posts in this series, click here.

Simply put, intestacy is the word to describe what happens to your property when you die without a will. Intestacy is the state’s default method of determining your beneficiaries. This default is determined by the state in which you reside at the time you die (not the location of your death, say, if you die on vacation). If you reside in California when you die, and you don’t have a will, then the State of California has decided that your property goes to your surviving spouse (if you have one), if not, then to your children (if you have any), if not, then to your parents (if they’re still alive), if not, then to your siblings, then to your nieces/nephews, then to your uncles/aunts, then to your cousins, and on and on and on until someone in your family receives your property.

What if you literally have no other family by the time you die? Well, in that case, if you have no living relatives, the State of California will become the beneficiary.

Some people might look at the above and think,  “Yes! That’s what I would want anyway! So why do I need a will?” A will is more than just how you are giving away your things. It’s used for selecting a guardian for your minor children. It’s also where you would nominate the person who would handle closing all of your final affairs. This person is called an executor. Think of  the person paying for final bills (like an outstanding credit card bill or electric bill), who determines what to do with all of your knick-knacks, and other affairs of a personal nature. If you have a living trust, a will is necessary to ensure that all of the assets you never got around to transferring into your trust end up in your trust (called a “pour over will”).

If you die intestate (remember, that means without a will), none of your friends, girlfriend or boyfriend, or favorite charities will receive anything. Those people aren’t considered your relatives in the default scenario. Also, once your property passes on to someone else, you have no control what happens to it after that. Your property is now a part of that person’s estate and not yours. So, for example, if you wanted your things to go to your nieces/nephews but not to your siblings, you don’t get to control that if you die intestate. Intestacy goes in the order described above only.

The good news is that intestacy is a completely preventable situation! During your life you can create an estate plan (definitely a will and maybe a trust, depending on your situation) that will ensure that your assets go to the people or organizations you want them to go to. You also get to choose who gets to handle all of your final affairs, and to provide to them clear instructions.  

To determine what kind of estate plan you and your family needs, please contact us for a free initial consultation.

Everyone Needs an Estate Plan (Example 4)

Estate planning is much more than just death planning and giving away your stuff after you die. It’s also about planning for circumstances that you may not have anticipated. 

This post is the third installment in our "Everyone Needs and Estate Plan" series. If you missed Examples 2 & 3, click here to read it.

Example 4: You’re young (but over 18), single, and healthy. You decide that since you don’t have kids, and you haven’t made your first million--yet--that you don’t need an estate plan. On your way to work, someone is texting while driving, doesn't see you, and rams right into you. You're severely injured, and the paramedics are called to the scene. You’re taken to the hospital, and you lay there incapacitated. You're still alive, but you lack the ability to make your own decisions or to handle your own affairs. We’re essentially in Example 1, except that you don’t have a spouse here. Your parents and siblings fly in from out of town, and they want to be involved with your care, they want to alert your boss as to what happened, and they also want to sue the negligent driver who caused your injuries. Unfortunately, all they are given is the bad news that they have to go to court to obtain the appropriate legal authority to handle any of your affairs on your behalf.

You're an adult. No one can make decisions for you... except you. Even though your relatives are here--your parents, at that--and they likely have your best interests in mind, no one has the legal authority to handle your affairs for you absent your permission (power of attorney) or court order (conservatorship).

Hyperbole aside, estate planning is about crisis planning before there is a crisis. Once a crisis occurs--be it a bad reaction to medication, or plain bad luck--it’s often too late to have the proper tools in place to face that crisis head-on. In all likelihood you’ll need to spend a great deal of time and money acquiring the right tools to deal with the crisis. It means more stress on top of an already stressful situation for your loved ones.

As you can see, estate planning has little to do with your net worth or your age. It is important for everyone at any age. If you’re over 18 years of age, you absolutely need an estate plan. If you have a family, especially minor children, that need for an estate plan merely increases. To determine what kind of estate plan you and your family needs, please contact us for a free initial consultation.


303 Twin Dolphin Drive
Suite 600
Redwood City, California 94065

12100 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 800
Los Angeles, California 90025


Office Hours

Monday - Friday
9AM - 5PM

☎ Contact
(650) 389-9797
(310) 526-0298