Is it time to update one’s estate planning documents?

Life is dynamic and not static. That said, keeping one’s estate planning documents relevant and on point as life changes requires periodic updates. A person should always redo their estate planning documents when they either get married or get divorced in order both to avoid possible unintended consequences and to properly provide for their new […]

posted on: August 18, 2017

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The Differences Between a Trust and A Will.

What are the primary differences between a Will and a Living Trust (“Trust”)? Some primary differences are whether a Probate will be necessary; the costs and fees involved; the kind of assets and legal affairs to be managed; and when the document takes effect. A Will is a “legal instrument” used to name an Executor […]

posted on: July 31, 2017

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Spendthrift Trusts And Creditor Claims.

          One important consideration in estate planning is whether assets left in trust to a beneficiary may become subject to the beneficiary’s own creditors’ claims. The California Supreme Court recently addressed this issue in Carmack v. Reynolds (2017) 2 C5th 844 and resolved certain ambiguities in California’s Probate Code sections 15300 et. seq.             […]

posted on: July 17, 2017

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Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts

Many blind or disabled persons receive needs based government benefits — like SSI and Medi-Cal — whose stringent income and resource limitations prevent families from gifting much needed money directly. Persons wishing to assist them often establish Special Needs Trust or Pooled Special Needs Trusts. Now ABLE accounts help some blind and disabled persons to […]

posted on: June 26, 2017

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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.

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: 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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