Who Gets to See My Trust?

Some people, quite naturally, do not want their family to know the contents of their Revocable Living Trust until after they die. So just who gets to see a copy of a person’s Living Trust, and when do they get to see it? Initially the Settlor(s) and his or her Attorney are the only ones […]

posted on: June 12, 2017

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Updating Names, Addresses, and Telephone Numbers.

Updating Names, Addresses, and Telephone Numbers.             What’s in a name?  Besides one’s reputation, legal ownership and control over one’s assets and affairs, and who inherits one’s estates involve names.   Your important documents usually include many names, addresses and telephone numbers, in addition your own.  Over time some of these names and contact information will […]

posted on: May 30, 2017

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Estate Planning Involving Stepchildren and Stepparents.

          Most married people leave their estate to their surviving spouse and children.  Typically, when the children are from the current marriage, there is no issue with leaving everything to the surviving spouse.  That is not always the case with blended families.           Some married people with children from a prior marriage feel that the […]

posted on: May 15, 2017

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The Spousal Fiduciary Duty.

Marriage entails both ethical and legal responsibilities and duties between spouses.  In California, the law requires a married person to act most honestly and fairly towards his or her spouse.  The Family Code specifically provides that, “[t]his confidential relationship [of marriage] imposes the duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, […]

posted on: May 1, 2017

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Understanding Title

          Title means ownership and control. How title is conveyed varies with the asset type.           With real property title involves the Chain of Title from the original owner to each subsequent owner. Title is typically conveyed by either a Quitclaim Deed or a Warranty Deed signed by the Grantor(s).  Title “vests” (transfers) in the […]

posted on: April 17, 2017

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On Being a Fiduciary.

Lay people often agree to act as an Agent or Trustee on behalf of another family member — usually a parent — without knowing that they are agreeing to become a Fiduciary and what that means.   Becoming a Fiduciary is entering into a legal relationship that entails trust, responsibility and accountability.  There are many different […]

posted on: April 13, 2017

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Uncertainty, Estate Planning, & Peace of Mind.

          Uncertainty makes most of us uncomfortable.  It is something most wish to push aside.  Much of what happens over the course of our lifetimes, however, is uncertain until much closer to when it actually happens.  Estate planning necessarily grapples in the present with the uncertainty of what may happen to us and our loved […]

posted on: March 13, 2017

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Administering A Special Needs Trust

          Special Needs Trusts (“SNT”) are for special needs beneficiaries who receive needs based government benefits, such as SSI and Medi-Cal.  Assets held in a fully discretionary SNT do not count as available resources for determining needs based eligibility because the trustee has complete discretion over whether, when and how to distribute assets.  The purpose […]

posted on: February 27, 2017

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Trustees Who “Borrow” Trust Funds.

          Money can be a compelling temptation.  Some trustees give in to their temptation and misappropriate trust funds for their own personal use.  After the fact, when they are caught, such trustees may try to re-characterize their misappropriation as so-called “borrowing”.           Such misappropriation, of course, is not “borrowing” and repayment does not make it […]

posted on: February 11, 2017

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Life Estate for Surviving Spouse

A Life Estate for Surviving Spouse – A person may decide to give their surviving spouse the right to live in the residence for life (i.e., “a life estate”) and leave their children full ownership of the residence once the surviving spouse no longer lives there. Let us consider the issues raised by such a […]

posted on: February 10, 2017

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