California Wills & Trusts

California Wills & Trusts helps you create high-quality estate planning documents tailored to your clients’ individual needs. It is authored by California attorneys who are nationally recognized estate planning experts. The program's patented Intelligent Legal Technology® uses a question and answer session to guide you through the drafting process. Up-to-date research and analysis tailored to each question appears on screen when you need it. You can see your document change as you select among a question’s choices. The program generates legally sound, internally consistent documents and sends them to your word processor. This is the system that the California Wills & Trusts authors use to draft their estate planning documents.

Authored By

Authored by Elizabeth T. Pierson of GillPierson.



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Included Documents

Wills Graphic


Each of the Wills in this title is structured and worded for ease of use and understanding. Depending on the level of complexity of the document chosen, they may have tax and business planning through a Stand-alone Will, or be very basic for clients with a truly simple situation. Or anywhere in-between. Each one will contain dispositive provisions, appointment of fiduciaries appropriate to its complexity, and, if desired, appointment of guardians for minor children. Other provisions can be layered onto some of them to expand administrative flexibility.

Stand-alone Will

This form of Will includes the ability to create various Testamentary Trusts, such as Marital and Credit Shelter (Family) Trusts (including QDOTs); trusts for children and descendants; GST exempt and nonexempt trusts; dynasty trusts; a standby trust; a pet trust; and a special needs trust (third party), along with many other provisions to facilitate administration.

Simple Will

Simple Will is a term of art that describes a Will leaving all assets to one's spouse, or if deceased, to one's descendants. To minimize effort in drafting one of these less complicated instruments, Lawgic restricts the options available by preanswering many questions to produce a uniform document. When more complex provisions are desired, such as with a larger estate that still wishes for a basic family disposition, the Stand-alone Will opens up all the bells and whistles in the package, and can reach the same result.

Pour-Over Will

When a Revocable Trust is made the central part of the client's estate plan, it is still important to have a Will that funnels any assets not placed in the trust during the client's lifetime. This Will does that, but has some other flexibility as well, such as the ability to add a gift of homestead within it.

Codicil to Will

A codicil is merely a change to a Will, and can be complex or very simple. It should be executed with the same formalities as a Will.

Revocable Trusts Graphic

Revocable Trusts

Each of the Trusts in this title includes a Revocable Trust for one Settlor, or a joint Revocable Trust. Because California is a community property state, the most common form of trust for a couple is a two Settlor Joint Community Property Trust. All trusts contain dispositive provisions, appointment of fiduciaries appropriate to its complexity, and, if desired, quasi-fiduciary assigned roles (trust protectors). Other provisions can be layered onto these trusts to expand administrative flexibility.

Sole or two Settlor Revocable Trusts (Community Property)

Lawgic Revocable Trusts include protection for the Settlor if disabled and the ability to create various ongoing Trusts, such as Marital and Credit Shelter (Family) Trusts (including QDOT); trusts for children and descendants; GST exempt and nonexempt trusts; dynasty trusts; a standby trust; a pet trust; and a special needs trust (third party), along with many other provisions to facilitate administration.

Amendments to Revocable Trusts (Including Amendment and Restatement)

These documents are like codicils for trusts to make changes in the terms, whether simple or complex, including the ability to restate the entire trust.

Irrevocable Trusts Graphic

Irrevocable Trusts

These can be found in the separate California Irrevocable Trusts title.

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)

An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust is an old planning technique to isolate proceeds of life insurance from an estate tax in the insured's estate, and subsequently in the estate of the beneficiary (often the spouse). While insurance payable to a spouse is generally tax-free, those funds could be taxed at the second spouse's death; an irrevocable trust protects often large amounts by allowing premiums to build the policy value free of estate tax (and subsequent income tax on the proceeds).

Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDIT)

An Intentionally Defective Income Trust (aka Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust) is an irrevocable trust that is taxed as if the Grantor were the owner, even though the trust assets are commonly outside of the Grantor's estate for estate tax purposes. There are benefits to this approach, which can be weighed against the downside--the Grantor is taxed on money he or she does not receive.

Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)

A Grantor Retained Annuity Trust is a method to pass appreciation on assets to others, while retaining the underlying assets themselves. The Grantor receives payments from a GRAT annually, and all growth beyond a government stated rate of return can pass to other family members or trusts at the end of the specified term.

Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT)

This is an irrevocable trust designed to allow a Grantor to occupy a residence or vacation home for a specified period, after which it remains in trust or passes to other family members. The attraction is that the current gift of the residence's value after the term expires is reduced by the value of the Grantor's retained rights.

Trust for Minor [2503(c)]

This trust is designed to allow assets to be held for a minor in trust while qualifying for the annual exclusion for gift tax purposes. Because of its statutory limitations, a more flexible trust is often preferred, for which Lawgic provides the beneficiary withdrawal rights (Crummey Powers) to qualify for the annual exclusion.

Grandchild's Trust [2642(c)]

Gifts to grandchildren also need to take into account generation-skipping tax aspects; this special type of trust, though similarly restricted as the Trust for Minors, qualifies for not only the gift tax annual exclusion, but also the generation-skipping annual exclusion.

Charitable Remainder Trust (IRS form)

The IRS promulgates sample trusts that will qualify for Charitable Remainder Trust purposes; Lawgic has a separate title that incorporates that approved language into a standard trust structure.

Crummey Notices

Notices of withdrawal rights granted to beneficiaries are very important for tax purposes. Lawgic has some different approaches to choose from.

Client Memorandum on Funding Irrevocable Trusts

This is a form, styled as a note to the client, providing guidance on how his or her irrevocable trust should be funded and administered.

DPAs and Related Documents Graphic

DPAs and Related Documents

Durable Power of Attorney for Assets

A Durable Power of Attorney grants another person (Agent) the right to exercise certain powers on behalf of the grantor (Principal); its "durability" results from a statutory enhancement that allows the power of attorney, contrary to its common law origins, to remain in effect even if the Principal is incapacitated, subject to certain restrictions.

Advance Health Care Directive

This allows an agent to make health care decisions under state law for the principal. Some restrictions apply.

Notice of Revocation of DPA or Directive

Some systems automatically revoke prior Powers of Attorney upon execution of a new one. Lawgic prefers a surgical approach with a separate form to allow revocation of only the powers that are no longer desired.

Nomination of Conservator

A separate document to appoint a conservator if a person becomes incapacitated. Allows that person to select who will be his or her conservator (if needed), and is intended to avoid disruptive and expensive fights among family.

HIPAA Authorization

While Lawgic generally grants HIPAA rights under a Medical Authorization, however denominated, there may be situations when a separate form is needed.

Ancillary Documents Graphic

Ancillary Documents


A simple form transferring assets to a trust, customarily stock or tangible personal property.

Community Property Declaration

A joint declaration to confirm that property is the community property of the spouses, regardless of how title is held.

Delegation of Authority as to Bank Accounts

When spouses serve as multiple trustees, it is often convenient to delegate some routine tasks between them; this formdeals specifically with banking transactions.

Nomination of Guardians for Minor Children

A separate document for appointment of one or more guardians for minor children that expands on the provisions in a Will.

Notification by Trustees

Provides a notice to be sent to beneficiaries by the trustee when a trust becomes irrevocable, as required by California law.

Special Power of Attorney for Trust

This is a form to allow a Trsutee to appoint an agent and delegate powers to him or her. Its use is expected to be rare.

Trustee’s Certification of Trust

This is a form to signify the existence and certain terms of the trust, but geneally does not contain the trust provisions. In earlier days it was called a Memorandum of Trust.

Trustee’s Certification of Abstract of Trust

This form, structured as an affidavit, allows the Trustee to certify excerpted parts of the trust; it can be useful if a specific power needs to be confirmed and the language of the trust needs to be disclosed.

Trustee Guidelines (A-B-C Trust)

A general explanation of the management and administration of a two-settlor revocable trust, designed for settlors who are initial trustees.

Trustee Resignation

This is a formal resignation of a trustee.

Trust Transfer Deed
Client Letters Graphic

Client Letters

  • Sending Documents Letter
  • Engagement Letter
  • Nonengagement Letter
  • Disengagement Letter
  • "Thank you for referral" Letter
  • Certification of Trust agreement by Attorney
  • Trust Funding Letter
  • Instructions for Executing Will and Trust
  • Letter to Lender
  • Letter to Mutual Fund
  • Custom Client Letter
  • Questionnaire for Death Certificate Info
Additional Documents Graphic

Additional Documents

  • Question and Answer Format
  • Extensive use of Templates
  • Automated Table of Contents
  • Auto-generated Synopsis of Will and Trust
  • Automatic Cross-Referencing
  • Robust Search Capability
  • Detailed Estate Planning Questionnaire
  • Export of Data and Notes
  • Custom Word Ribbon for Editing
  • Extensive Resource Library
  • Save Custom Language
  • Built In Help System
  • Scratch Pad to save data
  • Easy Navigation within session
  • Adjustable Displays
  • Worksheets for Forms
  • Recent Files list
  • Compatible with Dragon NS
  • Full offline functionality



Easily create mirror documents for a spouse.


Enter shared information only once.


Automatically generate a client synopsis of the will or trust.


Reduce research efforts with a searchable library of resources.


Template Assistant feature easily creates and saves templates for use with multiple clients.


Automatically exports to Microsoft® Word 2010 (or higher) or Corel® WordPerfect® X6 (or higher) using autonumbering and Table of Contents updating.

System Requirements