Estate Planning & Administration,
Elder Law & Special Needs and
Employment Law

Compassionate, Trustworthy, Professional. These are some of the words clients have used to describe their experience working with Lisa Poncia. Lisa, who earned her J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law, is an accomplished attorney who specializes in the areas of Estate Planning & Administration, Elder Law & Special Needs, and Employment Law. She is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

Lisa offers her clients years of expertise and personalized service coupled with a caring approach. Focusing on Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Special Needs, she is skilled at drafting and managing estates of all sizes as well as providing counseling for elderly clients and those with disabilities.

As an advocate, Lisa patiently guides her clients through the process, answers their questions, and keeps them informed each step of the way. Her warm, empathetic demeanor instills trust and confidence.

She is a trained practitioner in special needs trusts, conservatorships, and long-term care planning including Medicare, Medi-Cal, Veteran’s Administration Benefits, and Social Security. Lisa is an active member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is accredited by the VA to advise veterans regarding their benefits.

An authority on Employment Law, Lisa brings a strong background in employment litigation and counseling, general business litigation, and business management experience to the table.

Her in-depth understanding of these fields has proven indispensable to the businesses she has represented with regard to contract negotiation, wage and hour law, employee handbooks, leaves of absence, harassment, discipline and termination, employee counseling, and discrimination issues. A gifted litigator, she has appeared regularly in state and federal court and administrative proceedings.

Having distinguished herself in her field, Lisa has also taught at UC Hastings College of Law (her Alma Mater), UC Davis College of Law, and California State University Sacramento. At UC Hastings she taught Legal Writing, at UC Davis she taught Legal Writing and Research, and at Sacramento State she taught Human Resources Laws and Regulations.

Lisa A. Poncia, Attorney at Law
About Lisa

Lisa lives in Marin County, CA, with her husband Loren and their two daughters, Avery and Julianna. Together, Lisa and Loren manage Stemple Creek Ranch in Tomales. Their business specializes in sustainably raised, organic grass-fed Angus beef and lamb.

Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Why do you need an estate plan? No one likes to think about what would happen if they died or were suddenly debilitated, but planning your estate helps ensure you are prepared for what life brings you. A well thought out estate plan can provide both you and your family with peace of mind in the event you are incapacitated due to an accident or illness, and also for death.

Your estate plan will not only help your loved ones in you are injured or sick, but also specifies your wishes in writing, so that when you pass away your assets will be distributed to the loved ones, charitable causes, or organizations you choose, and in the amounts that you choose. Planning ahead also makes settling your estate as simple and efficient as possible by minimizing tax risk and the cost and time necessary to settle your estate. If you have minor children, an estate plan can designate a guardian and create a trust to provide for them as well as shield their inheritance from taxes and high probate costs. Taking the necessary steps to put an estate plan in place now will reap huge benefits for your loved ones in the future.

Lisa Poncia is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

Wills & Trusts

A good estate plan includes a Will or a Trust, and in some cases both.

A Will is a written document that specifies how your assets are to be divided after you die, and appoints an Executor who is in charge of making sure your written wishes are carried out.

You might also consider transferring the assets of your estate into a Trust, where they remain while you are alive under the administration of your appointed Trustee. Assets in your trust can be used to provide for your long term care needs. Like an Executor, the Trustee is responsible for making sure your estate is disbursed according to your written wishes following your death.

Unlike a Will, an estate held in Trust does not need to go through a Court supervised Probate when you die. Probate is a costly, time-consuming process that can be avoided in most cases with proper estate planning. It requires the Court to appoint an Executor to inventory and value your property, pay creditors and taxes, and make distributions to your beneficiaries. Probate is required when a person dies with or without a Will in the State of California--unless your assets are held in Trust--and the proceedings are a matter of public record.

Powers of Attorney

A general Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorizes a designated person to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage your own affairs.

A Power of Attorney will help you and your family when you alive but need help with your finances and business affairs (such as dealing with banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, and more). This document is only effective during your lifetime, and becomes void should you die.

There is also a specific Health Care Power of Attorney, which allows the person you choose to make decisions about your medical treatment and long-term care if you are unable to do so for yourself. This goes hand in hand with an Advance Health Care Directive, or Living Will, which provides your medical care professionals with written instructions about your wishes regarding medical treatment under certain circumstances (life support, organ donation, pain management, etc.). It also allows your designee to direct the types of medical treatment you have authorized, and specifies your desired limits for certain procedures or treatments. Having an Advance Health Care Directive in place takes the burden of guessing your wishes off the shoulders of your loved ones during a difficult time.

Planning who you would designate to act in your best interest, and putting your wishes in writing, is a critical part of the estate plan we will create together.

Guardianship Nomination

If you are responsible for minor children, this document specifies who will care for them in the event of your incapacity or death. If you have not appointed a Guardian in writing, the State of California may make the selection on your behalf should you be unable to do so. Preparing a proper Guardianship Nomination protects your children and will avoid this unwanted court involvement should tragedy strike.

Call Lisa A. Poncia, Attorney at Law 415-453-4529 to setup a confidential meeting or phone conference

Estate Planning

Why do you need an estate plan? No one likes to think about what would happen if they died or were suddenly debilitated, but planning your estate helps ensure you are prepared for what life brings you. A well thought out estate plan can provide both you and your family with peace of mind in the event you are incapacitated due to an accident or illness, and also for death.

Wills & Trusts

A good estate plan includes a Will or a Trust, and in some cases both.

A Will is a written document that specifies how your assets are to be divided after you die, and appoints an Executor who is in charge of making sure your written wishes are carried out.

You might also consider transferring the assets of your estate into a Trust, where they remain while you are alive under the administration of your appointed Trustee.

Unlike a Will, an estate held in Trust does not need to go through a Court supervised Probate when you die. Probate is a costly, time-consuming process that can be avoided in most cases with proper estate planning.

Powers of Attorney

A general Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorizes a designated person to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage your own affairs.

A Power of Attorney will help you and your family when you alive but need help with your finances and business affairs (such as dealing with banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, and more). This document is only effective during your lifetime, and becomes void should you die.

There is also a specific Health Care Power of Attorney, which allows the person you choose to make decisions about your medical treatment and long-term care if you are unable to do so for yourself. This goes hand in hand with an Advance Health Care Directive, or Living Will, which provides your medical care professionals with written instructions about your wishes regarding medical treatment under certain circumstances (life support, organ donation, pain management, etc.).

Guardianship Nomination

If you are responsible for minor children, this document specifies who will care for them in the event of your incapacity or death.

Estate Administration

Trust Administration

If you have an estate in Trust, Trust Administration is the process that occurs following your death.

Your designated Trustee will carry out procedures to estimate the value of your estate prior to its distribution to your beneficiaries. We will represent the Trustee in all aspects of the Trust Administration and assist them every step of the way. The Trustee will have your assets inventoried, valued (often with the help of a broker, accountant, and/or attorney), report those assets to the IRS if necessary, and will prepare and file both personal and estate tax returns on your behalf. The Trustee will handle any debts or liabilities of your estate. Finally, the Trustee will distribute the assets to your beneficiaries as expressed in your Trust. This process replaces Probate proceedings when established as part of your estate plan.

Lisa Poncia a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

Probate

Probate is a process that happens in Court. The purpose is to establish clear title or ownership to assets after death. Probate is the legal way to take a name off title of an asset and put another name on it after death. Probate is a method of transferring assets as provided in a Will, or, if a person dies without a Will.

The exact Probate process depends on whether or not the deceased left a Will. If there is a Will and it names someone to be appointed as Executor, then that person, usually with the assistance of an attorney, files with the Court to be appointed Executor and to admit the Will for Probate. If there is not a Will the Court will appoint an Administrator, who acts like an Executor.

The Executor or Administrator must collect the assets of the estate that are subject to probate, pay debts and taxes, and request Court approval to transfer assets to the decedent’s heirs or the persons named in the Will. The Executor or Administrator will prepare an inventory and appraisal, file tax returns, settle creditor’s claims, and distribute the estate.

The expense and duration of Probate is one of the reasons many people execute living Trusts. A Trust is a way to avoid the Probate process.

Call Lisa A. Poncia, Attorney at Law 415-453-4529 to setup a confidential meeting or phone conference

Trust Administration

If you have an estate in Trust, Trust Administration is the process that occurs following your death.

Your designated Trustee will carry out procedures to estimate the value of your estate prior to its distribution to your beneficiaries. We will represent the Trustee in all aspects of the Trust Administration and assist them every step of the way. This process replaces Probate proceedings when established as part of your estate plan.

Probate

Probate is a process that happens in Court. The purpose is to establish clear title or ownership to assets after death. Probate is the legal way to take a name off title of an asset and put another name on it after death. Probate is a method of transferring assets as provided in a Will, or, if a person dies without a Will.

The expense and duration of Probate is one of the reasons many people execute living Trusts. A Trust is a way to avoid the Probate process.

Elder Law & Special Needs

Elder Law & Special Needs

Elder Law encompasses an array of complex legal issues and financial challenges commonly faced by seniors, their families, and people with disabilities. I offer an integrated, client-centered approach to determine the best course of action that will enhance my client's quality of life and independence.

As an attorney who specializes in this field of practice, I am trained and experienced in Estate Planning and Administration, as well as areas like long term care planning, asset management and preservation, catastrophic illness, and government benefits. I also address ways to minimize tax ramifications while maximizing benefits.

My goal is to provide you with information and available options that will help you make these important decisions, while successfully guiding you through the process. Additionally, I can create a comprehensive assessment of potential care needs, specific to your individual situation, and provide you with time and cost saving strategies.

Long Term Care Planning

Planning for long term care involves creating legal documents that express your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated and need managed care services.

With the cost of long-term nursing home care averaging several thousand dollars each month in California, and often priced at premium rates in the Bay Area, it is imperative to work with an Elder Law attorney who is knowledgeable about managing these costs.

Since every individual and situation is different, I will create a long term care plan tailored to meet your specific needs. By looking at your unique circumstances and finances, I can determine what additional options might be available to you through benefit programs like Medi-Cal, Veteran's Administration benefits, and others. In the process, we will look at ways to create a sustainable plan that will protect your assets, and avoid unnecessary taxes and possible penalties.

Special Needs Trusts and Planning

Making provisions for a loved one who is disabled or has special needs safeguards and manages that person's assets, inheritance, settlements, and gifts which can cover costly long term care for a lifetime.

If drafted and administered properly, this type of trust can insure your loved one is protected against tax complications while remaining eligible to receive assistance through government programs like Medi-Cal, IHSS, SSDI, SSI, Veterans Administration benefits, and Section 8 housing.

I am skilled in both third party and first party special needs trusts, and will help you draft a plan that not only protects your ability to receive these public benefits for the disabled person, but that addresses the personal care needs of that individual as well. Together we will strive to create a plan that maintains you or your loved one’s dignity, and preserves independence.

Conservatorships and Guardianships

Conservatorships are legal proceedings that establish who will manage the estate and/or personal and medical care of an incapacitated person. A Conservator is a court-appointed person who is responsible for taking inventory and estimating the value of an estate, as well as paying the expenses of the Conservatee.

Conservators keep records and file detailed accountings with the court. They may also make critical decisions about where the Conservatee will live, and, if specified by a court order, what medical care the Conservatee receives. Conservatorships have very technical requirements and procedures, and can be time consuming and expensive to administer.

Guardianships are similar to Conservatorships, but apply to minors in the State of California. If you do not appoint a Guardian for your minor child in writing, the State of California may select a Guardian should you become incapacitated or die. By taking proper steps to plan your estate now, we can document your wishes and avoid court involvement in the event of a catastrophic occurrence.

Call Lisa A. Poncia, Attorney at Law 415-453-4529 to setup a confidential meeting or phone conference

Elder Law & Special Needs

Elder Law encompasses an array of complex legal issues and financial challenges commonly faced by seniors, their families, and people with disabilities. I offer an integrated, client-centered approach to determine the best course of action that will enhance my client's quality of life and independence.

My goal is to provide you with information and available options that will help you make these important decisions, while successfully guiding you through the process. Additionally, I can create a comprehensive assessment of potential care needs, specific to your individual situation, and provide you with time and cost saving strategies.

Long Term Care Planning

Planning for long term care involves creating legal documents that express your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated and need managed care services.

With the cost of long-term nursing home care averaging several thousand dollars each month in California, and often priced at premium rates in the Bay Area, it is imperative to work with an Elder Law attorney who is knowledgeable about managing these costs.

Since every individual and situation is different, I will create a long term care plan tailored to meet your specific needs.

Special Needs Trusts and Planning

Making provisions for a loved one who is disabled or has special needs safeguards and manages that person's assets, inheritance, settlements, and gifts which can cover costly long term care for a lifetime.

If drafted and administered properly, this type of trust can insure your loved one is protected against tax complications while remaining eligible to receive assistance through government programs like Medi-Cal, IHSS, SSDI, SSI, Veterans Administration benefits, and Section 8 housing.

I am skilled in both third party and first party special needs trusts, and will help you draft a plan that not only protects your ability to receive these public benefits for the disabled person, but that addresses the personal care needs of that individual as well. Together we will strive to create a plan that maintains you or your loved one’s dignity, and preserves independence.

Conservatorships and Guardianships

Conservatorships are legal proceedings that establish who will manage the estate and/or personal and medical care of an incapacitated person. A Conservator is a court-appointed person who is responsible for taking inventory and estimating the value of an estate, as well as paying the expenses of the Conservatee.

Guardianships are similar to Conservatorships, but apply to minors in the State of California.

Employment Law

Employment Law

Businesses of all sizes and industries need timely, effective, and practical advice to help them comply with changing employment law requirements in California.

In my practice, I have provided employers with strategic advice to help avoid employee disputes and legal action. I have also assisted employers in achieving successful outcomes in all aspects of employment law services, including counseling, compliance, training, and litigation. Being a business owner myself, I approach Employment Law with a very practical and pragmatic approach. I understand that businesses cannot always be perfect, but I will help you trouble shoot and prioritize your employment issues.

Employer Counseling and Compliance

I am skilled at advising clients on a full range of employment law issues including hiring, performance management, termination, wage and hour issues, investigations, harassment and discrimination claims, other employee complaints, accommodation of disabilities, leaves of absence, layoffs, employee classifications, and employment agreements. I also create personnel policies and employee handbooks.

Workplace Training Programs

As a specialist in employment law issues, I offer tailored training programs to your management staff on a wide variety of compliance topics including harassment, avoiding discrimination, accommodating disabilities, leaves of absence laws, managing employee performance, conducting workplace investigations, and interview skills.

Investigations

When someone in the workplace makes accusations of discrimination, harassment, or other possible wrongdoing, an investigation may be required to objectively determine the facts and circumstances of the allegations.

By conducting a thorough investigation, I can make recommendations that will reliably identify issues, improve employee/management relations, and potentially minimize costly litigation.

Defense of Claims and Litigation

In some cases, employee disputes cannot be resolved through the means outlined above, and formal litigation proceedings ensue.

I am experienced in all areas of both state and federal employment law including claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour law, breach of contract and more.

Call Lisa A. Poncia, Attorney at Law 415-453-4529 to setup a confidential meeting or phone conference

Employment Law

Businesses of all sizes and industries need timely, effective, and practical advice to help them comply with changing employment law requirements in California.

In my practice, I have provided employers with strategic advice to help avoid employee disputes and legal action. I have also assisted employers in achieving successful outcomes in all aspects of employment law services, including counseling, compliance, training, and litigation. Being a business owner myself, I approach Employment Law with a very practical and pragmatic approach. I understand that businesses cannot always be perfect, but I will help you trouble shoot and prioritize your employment issues.

Employer Counseling and Compliance

I am skilled at advising clients on a full range of employment law issues including hiring, performance management, termination, wage and hour issues, investigations, harassment and discrimination claims, other employee complaints, accommodation of disabilities, leaves of absence, layoffs, employee classifications, and employment agreements. I also create personnel policies and employee handbooks.

Workplace Training Programs

As a specialist in employment law issues, I offer tailored training programs to your management staff on a wide variety of compliance topics including harassment, avoiding discrimination, accommodating disabilities, leaves of absence laws, managing employee performance, conducting workplace investigations, and interview skills.

Investigations

When someone in the workplace makes accusations of discrimination, harassment, or other possible wrongdoing, an investigation may be required to objectively determine the facts and circumstances of the allegations.

By conducting a thorough investigation, I can make recommendations that will reliably identify issues, improve employee/management relations, and potentially minimize costly litigation.

Defense of Claims and Litigation

In some cases, employee disputes cannot be resolved through the means outlined above, and formal litigation proceedings ensue.

I am experienced in all areas of both state and federal employment law including claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour law, breach of contract and more.

Testimonials

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office
OFFICE LOCATION Rafael Town Center
999 Fifth Avenue, Suite 350
San Rafael, CA 94901
GET IN TOUCH Lisa A. Poncia, Attorney at Law
Telephone: 415-453-4529
E-mail: hello@poncialaw.com