Is your family protected if you become disabled?

Does your estate plan adequately protect your loved ones should you become disabled? That is, do your power of attorney and trust instruments authorize your agent and trustee, respectively, to assist those who depend on you in the manner you would want were you to become disabled?  It is entirely possible that your legal instruments […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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The Place of In-Laws in One’s Estate Plan.

Depending on one’s family circumstances, In-Laws may factor as either a more or less important consideration in planning one’s estate.   These persons include your children’s own spouses and your spouse’s own parents and siblings.  In-Laws are important for various reasons.  First, they may have inheritance rights in regards to your blood relatives’ estates.  Second, they […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Considering Long Term Care Insurance

With people living longer planning for the cost of long term care is a real concern.  Long term care encompasses a continuum of care options, from at home care, to assisted living, up to a residential skilled nursing home.  Long Term care Insurance (“LTCI”) is private insurance that pays for some of these long term […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Considering Pooled Special Needs Trusts.

“Special Needs Trusts” (“SNT’s”) come in three types: (1) Self-Settled (“first party”); (2) third party; and (3) Pooled.  SNT’s help people with special needs to remain eligible for needs based government benefits (e.g., SSI/Medi-Cal) who might otherwise lose such benefits due to an inheritance, personal injury award, or a lucky wind-fall. Many people who know […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Making Enforceable Health Care Decisions.

          My last article discussed the power of attorney for personal care.  That article discussed how to authorize an agent to handle financial and property issues largely related to your personal care.  This article discusses how to make your health care wishes enforceable.  The Advance Health Care Directive, the Do-Not-Resuscitate Order, and […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Providing for one’s personal care during incapacity.

                   Many of the day to day domestic responsibilities that need to be handled on our behalf during incapacity involve personal care issues that are typically unrelated to what is usually provided for in our durable power of attorney to manage financial and property affairs.  By planning ahead we can authorize […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Absolute Discretion must be exercised reasonably.

What does it mean for a trustee to have so-called “absolute discretion” with regard to their trustee powers?  The term “absolute discretion” is an oxymoron.  Absolute discretion is not absolute; it does not allow the trustee to do whatever he pleases.  Without careful advice from a qualified attorney, a layperson acting as trustee can easily […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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How Endowment Funds Can Create a Legacy.

            Lake County has numerous worthwhile charitable non profit organizations that are both deserve and need of charitable donations. Endowment funds ensure that your donations will be used by the charitable organization for certain specific purposes.  Consider, for example, St. Helena Hospital Clearlake which seeks funds specifically to build a new […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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What Are Reasonable Trustee Fees?

         The appropriateness of a Trustee’s fees for administering a trust can sometimes become a thorny area of disagreement between the trustee and the trust beneficiaries.  Fee disputes usually arise when the trustee provides an accounting. Let’s consider how California law treats trustee compensation. When dealing with court supervised trusts, California law […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Inheritance Rights of Omitted Heirs.

            California law protects the inheritance rights of surviving spouses, registered domestic partners, and children who are unintentionally omitted (i.e., disinherited) under the will and/or living trust of a deceased person. The law presumes that but for the fact that they were married, born, or adopted (as relevant) after the execution […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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