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.

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, […]

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

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 […]

posted on: February 23, 2016

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Corrections Article Regarding First Party Special Needs Trusts.

Corrections Article Regarding First Party Special Needs Trusts – Much to my dismay, I have learned that my article, “ Upheaval In the World of First Party Special Needs Trust,” published in December, 2015, contained several items of misinformation.  This article makes necessary corrections concerning SSI and estate recovery and regarding certain payments that indeed […]

posted on: February 3, 2016

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Special Guardianships for Special Juvenile Immigrants

Under US federal immigration law certain juvenile aliens (which means persons under age 21) who have been declared dependent on a juvenile court can petition to become lawful US permanent residents. Special immigrant juveniles are undocumented juveniles who do not live with their parents, cannot be reunited with their parents due to abuse, neglect or […]

posted on: January 25, 2016

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Conservatorships and Right to Vote

The right to vote in an election is a fundamental right of every citizen.  When a person is conserved that right can be taken away if the court determines that the person lacks the capacity to vote.  Beginning January 1, 2016, the legal standard for determining one’s capacity to vote in California has changed.  Let’s […]

posted on: January 25, 2016

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