Estate Planning


Misconceptions: a Will is cheaper, easier and gets assets to my beneficiaries in the same time period as a trust.

Truth: a Will costs substantially more in the long run and causes substantial delay in your beneficiaries receiving assets.

Estate Planning

“Our estate planning attorneys are driven by your objectives, not ours. We work hard to honor and fortify your legacy.”

Our expertise and unique approach ensures your plan addresses family needs, your values, business succession considerations and estate and income tax objectives. This is why meeting with dedicated professionals with extensive experience in the field is key to a complete plan that leaves no ground uncovered.

Many people do not know that passing assets to loved ones by relying on a Will is not an efficient or a fast way to handle your affairs. A Will has to be Probated, which means it has to go through a mandatory court process which is costly and slow. Furthermore, all information pertaining to the decedent’s assets and the beneficiaries receiving assets can be accessed by anyone as it is a matter of public record. By comparison, a Trust Administration is a private process which provides the trustee immediate access to the trust assets and trust management.

Just the filing fee in Orange County for a probate is $435 and continuing to rise. However, the real cost associated with probating a Will or an Intestate Estate are the Administrator’s Fees and Lawyers Fees. A small estate of about $800,000 would cost approximately $19,000 in “ordinary” attorneys fees, in addition to costs and the fees of the administrator. Courts may also allow “extraordinary fees” in addition to an attorney’s ordinary fees, depending on the complexity of the case.  When looking at the total cost of a Will versus a trust, establishing a trust and administering a trust, on average is about one-tenth of the cost, if not less.


10810(a) Subject to the provisions of this part, for ordinary services the attorney for the personal representative shall receive compensation based on the value of the estate accounted for by the personal representative, as follows: (1) Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). (2) Three percent on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). (3) Two percent on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000). (4) One percent on the next nine million dollars ($9,000,000). (5) One-half of 1 percent on the next fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000). (6) For all amounts above twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), a reasonable amount to be determined by the court. (b) For the purposes of this section, the value of the estateaccounted for by the personal representative is the total amount of the appraisal of property in the inventory, plus gains over the appraisal value on sales, plus receipts, less losses from the appraisal value on sales, without reference to encumbrances or other obligations on estate property.


Like all court involved actions, Probate is extremely slow and getting slower every year as budget cuts in the courts become a reality, particularly in Southern California Courts. Without a Trust, a family member will not have access to the decedent’s assets for things like taxes, funeral expenses, mortgage payments and the like. Furthermore, beneficiaries will not receive a decedent’s assets until a probate closes. Trustees may, either in their discretion or pursuant to your specific trust instructions, make distributions to dependents along the way before final distributions from the trust. These provisions are carefully hand-crafted according to the needs of your beneficiaries when you draft a trust.


Our lawyers are dedicated to providing estate planning services to all walks of life. We proudly represent the entire spectrum of clients from wealthy families analyzing the estate tax planning options that best suit their family and asset structure, to a new family purchasing a first home. In many family cases, estate planning can be done in a simple and straightforward fashion to bring a sense of relief to our clients.


Minto has over a decade of experience in estate planning specifically dedicated to business owners. We do not establish an estate plan in a vacuum, but rather in tandem with analyzing the business succession plan and business management documents. We typically amend Operating Agreements or Bylaws and draft buy-sell agreements and/or shareholder agreements as a part of a comprehensive succession plan for business owners who do not opt to liquidate but opt to pass their business onto the next generation.


Our attorneys have drafted dozens of third-party special needs trusts to put to rest the worry that parents and grandparents carry when knowing they are leaving behind a loved one with special needs for care and support. We are also able to establish and seek court approval for special needs trusts for those individuals who have been injured and seek protection of those funds which have been earmarked for their care.

Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide a general summary of laws in the State of California and should not be construed as a legal opinion nor a communication which forms an attorney-client relationship with the reader


  • NM Law is an excellent law firm to work with! Noelle and her team are very thorough and knowledgeable. They explained the estate planning process to us and kept us informed every step of the way. We…

    Monique S
  • I greatly appreciate Noelle’s assistance in making difficult decisions. When she provides counsel I know she puts herself and her family in my shoes. I feel comfortable knowing my attorney has analyzed every angle and leaves out…

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    Kerjon L.
  • Noelle and her team were professional, courteous and diligent with my case. It was a small matter but they took it as though it was a large one. They reached a settlement quickly and very little effort…

    Doug S.
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    Randy B.
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    Tammy W.
  • I have worked with Noelle on my Estate Planning and was very impressed by the way she handled my business. Noelle was extremely professional and available for all my questions. I would highly recommend anyone looking for…

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    Robert Sousa
  • I was first referred to Noelle Minto by my family law attorney Mike Monarch to provide oversight on my husband’s Trust conforming with our Post Marital Agreement. Her outstanding legal insights helped me to feel secure that…

    Sharon McCubbin
  • Noelle and Samantha and their team are amazing. They are extremely knowledgeable and professional (they are the best). They have and continue to support me and my family while dealing with my parents Will and Trust. Samantha…

    Greg Bishop
  • I had a great experience with Noelle and Samantha at NM Law. They were fast, clear and got the result we wanted under budget. I am very happy and impressed.

    John Arens
  • NM Law is an exceptional place to work! Our office is located in the City of Tustin, off the 55 Freeway, between the 5 and 405 Freeways. Our main cross streets are Redhill Avenue and Edinger Avenue…

    Samantha Smith
  • The N.W Law team in Tustin Ca was instrumental in achieving a just result in our family trust dispute. We had the privilege of being represented by Samantha Smith and her staff, during one of my saddest…

    Herman baldonado
  • Amazing service. So happy with the whole team!

    Mitchell Hilde
  • So glad to work with this team of professionals

    Noelle Minto
  • As an attorney who has used two other wills & trusts lawyers prior to seeing Noelle, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect and what it should cost. I recommend Noelle to anyone who…

    Lynne Boisineau
  • Highly recommend NM Law. I recently worked with Noelle and her team on my family trust and the process could not have gone smoother. Very knowledgeable and professional. I have since recommended all of my family members…

    Nathan Perkins
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    Waldo ortega
  • My husband and I decided to update our 12 year old trust. We initally had a call with Noelle, and were instantly very comfortable with her approach. Noelle was great to work with, very patient, was willing…

    Cheri Ondatje
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    Corine Cojocaru
  • Samantha and the team are professional compassionate and get the job done. She articulates very well what needs to be done. Her and the firm do Probate and Trust at its finest to protect their clients. She…

    Silvana Sarkis
  • I was referred to NM Law after dealing with a myriad of problems in settling a complicated Trust in Riverside County. At the initial meeting, Noelle Minto and Samantha Smith listened to the mess I was in…

    Aleathea Rayburn
  • Love this firm. I’ve worked on a wide range of legal issues with NM law, and the attorneys here are top notch, reasonably priced, and a pleasure to work with. They truly care about each of their…

  • Ms. Minto, I want to thank you and your staff for the courtesy extended to us during our family’s pending emergency deadline. Mr. O’Grady spoke to my brother and gave us his best recommendation regarding my father’s…

    Abraham Torres

Charities We Support

We dedicate pro bono time, volunteer services, and a percentage of our gross revenue to these organizations. In 2023, we sponsored a refugee family of five to come to the United States and start a new life.

Each year our law firm decides as a group which charities to assist with our time, money, and expertise. Please feel free to click on any of the charities below and make a donation of your own.

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