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The Law Offices of Tom Hogan will provide you with personalized attention and guidance. Protecting your rights is our main objective. We have been representing clients for the past 30 years and our experienced team of attorneys will advise you of the legal consequences of every decision you take.



We care about our clients and are dedicated to addressing their legal issues to the best of our ability.Tom Hogan Founder

Among the legal requirements for making a will are that the testator or legator (the person making the bequest) is at least 18 years old and of sound mind, that a sufficient number of witnesses are present, and that the documents are executed in proper form. Included in the will are the testator’s name, address, and age, followed by a statement of his or her capacity to make a will (testamentary capacity) and voluntariness of the action. Next is a listing of the disposition of specific items in the estate and the names of the heirs. The will may also include the line of succession to be followed or alternate beneficiaries in the event that the primary beneficiary dies before the estate is probated. The name of the appointed executor of the will or estate should also be given, followed by the dated signature of the testator and the signatures and addresses of the witnesses. A will may be altered, added to by means of a codicil, or destroyed by the testator at any time. Thus a will is considered “ambulatory” in that it may be altered or revoked as long as the testator is of sound mind and intends to revoke it. If you want to make a valid will, contact a San Jose estate planning attorney of the Thomas Hogan Law Office for advice and assistance.


One of the most common disputes regarding bequests and wills has to do with the question of legal heirs or beneficiaries. Under the legal provisions of states having community property laws such as California, each spouse has an equal interest in certain property and therefore cannot be disinherited. At the death of the testator, the surviving spouse is entitled to half the community property. Whether or not preferential treatment is given to the surviving spouse, a testator may legally elect to leave nothing to the surviving children. Traditionally, a person’s natural heirs have been his or her blood kin, and adopted or foster children might receive nothing at the death of their foster parents. In recent years, however, there has been a liberalization of children’s rights of inheritance. For example, California has liberalized its rules to allow foster children to inherit under certain circumstances. When a widow or widower dies without having a will, the bulk of the estate goes to the children or if there are none, the estate is given to immediate relatives. The estate is typically distributed among the heirs in a pattern of serial reciprocity, in which the largest share of the estate goes to the adult child who has rendered the greatest service to the deceased over the years, the next largest share goes to the adult child who has rendered the second most service, and so on. You have worked hard to acquire assets. You should have a valid will in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death. A San Jose estate planning attorney of the Thomas Hogan Law Office can help you prepare a legally valid will which will survive challenges by disgruntled relatives who want a share in your assets although you don’t want them to have a share in your assets.


Trusts are a popular instrument of estate planning. Various forms of trust arrangements are available to help accomplish the goal of estate planning. Speak to a San Jose estate planning attorney of the Thomas Hogan Law Office to know how trusts can help you with estate planning. Revocable trusts can be changed at any time and usually the person who sets up the trust (the trustor or the settlor) can act as both a trustee and a beneficiary. An irrevocable trust on the other hand cannot be changed or revoked once they are established. Within these two categories of trust, there exists some myriad variations. Trusts are categorized according to when they are created, who own and benefits from the assets and income, how assets and income are distributed and sundry other factors. depending on your circumstances you can choose from credit shelter trust, disclaimer trust, marital deduction trust, living or inter vivos trust, life insurance trust, qualified personal residence test, charitable remainder trust, charitable lead test and generation skipping trust.


When the ownership of an asset is transferred after the death of the owner, then probate fees must be paid. When a living person transfers an asset, it is not subject to probate and as such no probate fees will be payable. You can legally avoid probate by distributing your assets to your preferred heirs before you die. When there is no estate left on your death, there will be nothing to probate. Probate can also give rise to tax issues besides disputes between family members. By hiring the services of an experienced estate attorney, you can avoid the costs and complications of probate. Contact the Thomas Hogan Law Office to know how to avoid probate by distributing your assets while you are alive.

Consult with Us

Life is full of uncertainties that is why it is important to always plan ahead. We are here to help you plan out your will, your trusts and estate to make sure that the future of the ones you leave behind are secure. Speak with an estate planning expert from the Thomas Hogan Law Office, call our San Jose office at (408) 550-7200 and avail of a free 15-minute consultation.