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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Special Administration in Probates

            One of the major drawbacks of administering a decedent’s estate through probate is the delay in appointing a personal representative to administer the estate, i.e., the time that passes in between the decedent’s death and the appointment of a personal representative to administer the estate.   Even without opposition to the […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

Read More

It Doesn’t Have to End This Way.

            Have you ever put yourself in a very difficult situation, one that was entirely avoidable, and then regretted it?  Those who neglect getting their affairs in order place both themselves and their loved ones in unnecessary jeopardy.   They risk putting themselves and their family either through the stress and uncertainty […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

Read More

The Homestead Exemption and Declared Homestead

               California, unlike Texas and Florida, is not generous when it comes to debtor protections.  But the “homestead exemption” and the “homestead declaration” are two important protections every homeowner should know about.   These exemptions protect a portion of a homeowner’s equity against unsecured creditors who obtain judgment liens against […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

Read More

The Certificate of Independent Review alone is not enough.

The law is deeply conflicted when it comes to whether to respect gifts made by vulnerable “dependent adults”.   These are adults who are either unable to take care of himself or are susceptible to undue influence (especially anyone over age 65 years old).    On the one hand, the law presumes that gifts by dependant […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

Read More

Funeral, Burial & Memorial Arrangements

Funeral, Burial & Memorial Arrangements             An important estate planning consideration that sometimes gets overlooked is the funeral, burial and memorial arrangements.  What do you want?  Who do you want to be in charge?  How will the expenses be paid?  Do you wish to have your burial site cared and maintained on a regular basis? […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

Read More

Liability for unpaid agents acting under a Power of Attorney

In 2011, uncompensated agents who act under a power of attorney as another’s agent for financial and property affairs may now be held more easily accountable for a loss to the principal’s property.  Previously, uncompensated agents were not liable unless the loss resulted from the attorney-in-fact’s bad faith, intentional wrongdoing, or gross negligence.  That immunity […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

Read More