Major Reform to CA Medi-Cal Estate Recovery

On June 27, 2016 Governor Brown signed the SB 833 legislation sponsored by State Senator Hernandez. SB 833 will greatly reduce the future scope of California’s Medi-Cal Estate Recovery against the estate of deceased Medi-Cal beneficiaries.  For Medi-Cal recipients who die on or after January 1, 2017, claims by California Medi-Cal Estate Recovery will be […]

posted on: July 1, 2016

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Enforceable Marital Agreements

In California, Marital Agreements allow couples an important opportunity to dictate their property rights and legal obligations to each other once married in ways that differ from what is otherwise provided under California’s Community Property Law and Family Law.  They should be reviewed if the couple moves to another state.  Marital Agreements can either be […]

posted on: June 20, 2016

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A Trust and a Standalone Will

          Generally speaking most people are best served by having a will, regardless of whether or not they also have a living trust.  It is the will, not the trust, which speaks to assets held in a decedent’s name, excluding any so-called non probate assets such as those held in joint tenancy (where there is […]

posted on: June 20, 2016

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Federal Preemption of Community Property Rights

California’s Community Property laws apply to how assets are divided at divorce and how assets are transferrable at death. Federal law, however, preempts (supercedes) California’s Community Property laws with respect both to so-called “ERISA (“Employee Retirement Income Support Act”) Qualified Plans” and to all “Federal Retirement” benefits, including Social Security.  Let us discuss. As the […]

posted on: May 23, 2016

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Unequal Distributions that are Fair.

Estate planning is not one size fits all. That said, there are estate planning goals which occur frequently in certain family situations.  Let us consider how estates are distributed in these various family situations. Consider a married couple of thirty years with three children together all of whom are doing well. The parents’ assets were […]

posted on: May 9, 2016

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Unforeseen and Unintended Estate Planning Mishaps.

Many estate planning scenarios exist where unforeseen, unintended and detrimental outcomes can be the result.   These scenarios can arise out of ignorance or neglect. An often overlooked but important estate planning contingency is naming alternative death beneficiaries to inherit if the primary beneficiary is deceased.  With life insurance, annuities and retirement plans this means a […]

posted on: April 25, 2016

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Estate Planning And Second Marriage

Persons marrying for a second time in California often want to protect themselves, in the event they divorce, and to protect both their surviving children and their new spouse if they become incapacitated and when they die.  Balancing these competing goals requires good planning. Consider a hypothetical illustration:  Jane owns a service business, which she […]

posted on: April 11, 2016

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Beneficiary Liabilities and Transfer on Death Deeds.

The California Revocable Transfer on Death Deed (“TOD Deed”), effective January 1, 2016, is intended as an inexpensive alternative to the revocable living trust for persons of modest means to transfer their noncommercial, residential real property without probate.  Unfortunately, it poses numerous risks and drawbacks to the beneficiary upon the death of the grantor, as […]

posted on: April 8, 2016

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Irrevocable Grantor Trusts

Many people in California are familiar with the Revocable Living Trust. Revocable Living Trusts keep trust assets outside of a conservatorship, should the settlor become incapacitated, and also outside of a probate when the settlor dies. Revocable trusts, however, offer no asset protection to the settlor personally, although they can be used to provide the […]

posted on: March 7, 2016

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Trust Attorney Fees

Trustees have the power to employ attorneys, accountants and other professionals for a variety of reasons related to the trustee’s duties in administering the trust.  Let us examine the issue of paying attorney fees in various contexts. The general rule in California is that,” [t]he trustee has the power to pay … reasonable compensation of […]

posted on: February 23, 2016

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