Vanessa Terzian

Estate Planning Attorney
About

An adjunct professor of Wills and Trusts at Southwestern Law School and recently named a top attorney of 2014 in Pasadena Magazine and a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, Vanessa Terzian began her legal career as a Trust Administrator for Wells Fargo, N.A. Her experience at Wells Fargo, working closely with clients, portfolio managers, beneficiaries and other attorneys, shed light on how a poor estate plan can ruin a family’s fortune and more importantly, their relationships.

After witnessing first hand the importance of proper planning, Vanessa has pursued her own practice, helping countless families through her expertise in estate and tax planning, asset protection, elder law, kids protection planning, probate and trust administration. What sets Vanessa apart is her understanding of the needs of growing families, her ability to relate to working parents who desire a better life for their families and her know-how to implement strategic estate planning tools in the most cost efficient and seamless manner. Vanessa also draws on her real estate and business background in crafting comprehensive plans for her clients.

Vanessa is a skilled public speaker, having conducted countless seminars throughout her legal career on various topics of estate planning, including kids protection planning, special needs planning, Medi-Cal planning, advanced tax planning and asset protection for individuals and small businesses.

Vanessa is an active member of the La Canada Flintridge community, where she resides with her husband and business partner, Edward Terzian, and their two sons, Alec and Jack. She is a board member of the Northridge Hospital Foundation and participates in a number of charitable based organizations. Vanessa has successfully raised thousands of dollars for a variety of charities through fundraising campaigns which include frequent community-based public speaking events, charitable dinners and personal contributions. She believes that the foundation to a successful family unit is care, love and selflessness and stresses the importance of providing your community with these same tenants that are so essential to your own family’s success.

Ms. Terzian earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California San Diego, where she graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. She completed her honors thesis in political science and received Provosts Honors for four consecutive years.

After graduating from UCSD, Vanessa attended Loyola Law School, where she was awarded the Dean’s Full Tuition Academic Scholarship. Vanessa was also on the Dean’s Honors List throughout her tenure at Loyola. During law school, Vanessa helped contribute to a published law article and clerked for the City Attorney, Civil Litigation Division, giving her invaluable experience in the legal process and an understanding of the pitfalls to avoid in drafting legal documents.

Ms. Terzian is a member of the Family Wealth Planning Institute and is a Personal Family Lawyer®. As a family woman, Vanessa understands the importance of protecting your assets, planning for your family’s future and building your own legacy. She takes pride in providing her clients with the sense of comfort and security that comes along with having an effective and comprehensive estate plan in place.

Answers  (19)

This is a great opportunity to be proactive. There are two essential documents anyone should have that relate to legal and medical issues if one becomes incapacitated: power of attorney for finance: this document names a person or persons to make financial decisions for you in the event you are... (more)

This is a great opportunity to be proactive. There are two essential documents anyone should have that relate to legal and medical issues if one becomes incapacitated:

  • power of attorney for finance: this document names a person or persons to make financial decisions for you in the event you are unable.
  • advance healthcare directive: names a person or agent to make medical decisions for you if you are unable. It can also address what kids of decision you want that person to make. In this way, the agent named has authority to make medical decisions AND knows what decisions to make. Along with the advance healthcare directive, one might consider having a Living Will, which addresses end of life decisions, specifically, if in an irreversible vegetative state, whether you would want to continue to be on live support or have it removed. Finally, there is one other medical document to consider called a Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment or POLST, which used to be called a Do No Resuscitate Order or DNR. This document would address end of life questions as well. Your mom would discuss this particular document with her doctor.
There are two other documents to consider that cover the time period after one passes away and how assets would be distributed and who would be in charge of this. This would be either a Will or a Trust. Depending on the state your mother resides in and the assets she has, either a Will or a Trust might be appropriate. It is a good idea to see a estate planning or elder law attorney to discuss these documents. 

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother, but from  a legal standpoint, you would want to find out if your grandma has a Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD), which is a legal document that names an agent to make medical decisions on her behalf. You would want to discuss her wishes regarding... (more)

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother, but from  a legal standpoint, you would want to find out if your grandma has a Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD), which is a legal document that names an agent to make medical decisions on her behalf. You would want to discuss her wishes regarding life support and CPR. The documents that would memorialize her wishes regarding end of life decisions would be a DNR (now called POLST) and a Living Will. 

On the financial side, I'd consider whether she has a durable power of attorney nominating someone to manage her finances. However, because a durable Power of Attorney is null and void once someone passes away, she would also need to consider having a Will or a Trust. Depending on state laws a Will may not be sufficient to avoid a court process when she passes so you might want to consider speaking to an attorney near you about that. 

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

From a legal standpoint, you would want to find out if your grandma has a Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD), which is a legal document that names an agent to make medical decisions on her behalf. Depending on how the AHCD is drafted, that agent should have authority to speak to your grandma's... (more)

From a legal standpoint, you would want to find out if your grandma has a Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD), which is a legal document that names an agent to make medical decisions on her behalf. Depending on how the AHCD is drafted, that agent should have authority to speak to your grandma's doctor about this issue and take steps to remedy the issue. If your grandma does not have this document, you would want to speak to an attorney to discuss having your grandmother execute one (assuming she has capacity to do so). If she does not have this legal document in place and the issue progresses, you might want to investigate a court procedure, often called a Guardianship or Conservatorship. A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finanal and/or medical decisions.

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

You would want to find out if your dad has a Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD), which is a legal document that names an agent to make medical decisions on his behalf. Along with this document, your dad should consider having a Living Will which addresses end of life decisions such as if he were... (more)

You would want to find out if your dad has a Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD), which is a legal document that names an agent to make medical decisions on his behalf. Along with this document, your dad should consider having a Living Will which addresses end of life decisions such as if he were in an irreversible coma, would he want life support to be removed.

There are other health related documents that also deal with end of life decisions -a Do Not Resusitate Order or DNR may state more broadly that your dad does not want to be Resusitated at all no matter what. The DNR order in California is now called a POLST. So you would want to check your specific state forms. 

Your dad's doctors office or local hospital should have some sample forms for you.

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.