Failed Testamentary Transfers

          When possible, California law prefers to avoid intestacy – that is, where all or a portion of a decedent’s estate goes to the decedent’s surviving heirs, and not to beneficiaries named under the decedent’s will or trust.  What happens then when gifts made in a testamentary instrument, such as a will or a trust, […]

posted on: January 22, 2019

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Gifts to Former Stepchildren

          In second marriages, it is common to find gifts to stepchildren, especially when the stepparent raised the stepchild during their minority and/or the stepparent has no other children of their own.  It is much less common, however, to find the parents of the stepparent naming the same stepchild as an alternative beneficiary to their […]

posted on: January 9, 2019

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Integrating Various Parts of Estate Planning.

          Estate planning requires an integrated approach to ensure that different parts work together.  The Revocable Living Trust, Will, Power of Attorney, and Advance Health Care Directive should be written in consideration of how they will function together in overlapping situations.           The Living Trust, the centerpiece of most estate planning, and the Power of […]

posted on: December 31, 2018

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No Notice of Decedent’s Estate Administration

How can my dad have died and his estate been transferred to another relative without my being told anything?  That was the question, in a nutshell, that a client asked because she was not getting any answers from the relative in question. My initial suspicion was that something was wrong.  Notice to a decedent’s heirs […]

posted on: December 12, 2018

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Conditional Gifts & Testamentary Intent

Bequests (gifts) in a Will or a Trust can require a beneficiary to meet a “condition precedent” in order to receive the bequest. Only if the condition is met does the beneficiary’s interest vest. Must a condition precedent always be satisfied? If a requirement becomes impossible to fulfill, a beneficiary may sometimes still inherit if […]

posted on: November 27, 2018

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Signing for and Representing Another

There are many and varied situations when a person needs someone else to sign for, and/or to represent, their interests. These situations can arise because the person is a minor (under age 18), is physically or mentally incapacitated, is unavailable (e.g., incarcerated), or is subject to a Conservatorship. Persons under age 18 are unable to […]

posted on: November 1, 2018

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Adoption and Inheritance Rights

In California, an adopted child obtains all the same rights of inheritance as a biological child born to the adoptive parent. He or she can inherit either from or through a deceased adoptive parent. Generally speaking an adopted child at the same time loses such inheritance rights from or through his or her biological parents. […]

posted on: October 17, 2018

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Veteran Affairs (VA) Needs Based Benefit Regulations

Effective October 18, 2018, the Veteran Affairs (“VA”) Department implements its new regulations concerning Net Worth, Asset Transfers and Income Exclusions for Needs Based VA Benefits. The rules determine the eligibility of veterans, their surviving spouses, and their dependent children to receive pensions and other needs based VA Benefits. Let us discuss some highlights. The […]

posted on: September 27, 2018

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Dissolution of Marriage and Disability Insurance.

When a marriage ends in dissolution, assets are divided by court order between the spouses. In California, which is a Community Property State, the character of each asset determines the division — separate property (goes to one spouse), community property (is divided 50:50 between spouses), and mixed property (where an asset has both separate and […]

posted on: September 5, 2018

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Cemetery Plots, Estate Planning & Administration

When visiting a cemetery, besides hopefully seeing beautifully manicured lawns, you often see family members who are buried alongside one another. These are family plots with multiple internment spaces. How are family cemetery plots owned and transferred, and who can be interred in an available space? Title to a cemetery plot is either in the […]

posted on: August 15, 2018

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