Reducing Risk of Family In-Fighting

Parents typically do not want their surviving children to fight over their inheritances after the parents die. Careful planning may reduce the risk of foreseeable in-family conflicts. Let us discuss. When real estate is involved, it is quite possible that one or more children may hope to inherit a particular piece of property. Sometimes a […]

posted on: December 7, 2023

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California Uniform Directed Trust Act

Under present California trust law, trustees are the only fiduciaries (i.e., legally appointed representatives) with the duty, authority and power to administer a trust’s assets, liabilities and financial and legal affairs. The trustee’s primary duty is to carry out the terms of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Effective January 1, 2024, however, […]

posted on: November 22, 2023

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Step Children and Foster Children as Heirs.

Some step children and foster children may qualify as heirs to a deceased step or foster parent’s estate and so qualify to inherit when their deceased step parent or foster parent died without a will. Until now, it was widely accepted that a step child or foster child could only inherit if the following two […]

posted on: November 2, 2023

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Probates that Catch People Off Guard.

Some probates are foreseeable well before they occur. Consider an elderly individual who owns assets in her own name with a total gross value that exceeds the threshold for probate (presently $184,500). Unless such assets are held in a living trust and/or death beneficiary accounts then a probate will be required when she dies. Probate […]

posted on: October 12, 2023

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A Trustee’s Duty to Marshal and Safeguard Assets

A successor trustee has a duty to marshal, i.e., to take possession and control of assets belonging to the trust, and to safeguard trust assets. First, assets that are already titled in the trust must be retitled into the name of the successor trustee, secured, and inventoried and appraised by a qualified appraiser. Second, other […]

posted on: September 28, 2023

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Creditor Claims, Trusts & Estates

When a decedent’s assets are administered in a probate or trust administration, the personal representative administering the probate or the trustee administering the trust estate have legal responsibilities to creditors of the decedent’s estate. In probate, the personal representative has a duty to send a notice of probate administration and a creditor claim form to […]

posted on: September 14, 2023

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Trusts as Death Beneficiaries of Retirement Plans

A trust cannot own a retirement account (e.g., an Individual Retirement Plan (“IRA”) or 401(k)) but it can be named as a death beneficiary. Until 2020, individuals receiving distributions from a retirement plan as a death beneficiary, either directly or as a beneficiary of a trust could expect to take annual taxable income distributions stretched […]

posted on: September 1, 2023

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Overlooked Parts of Trusts

To understand a car’s performance you have to understand the unseen mechanics lying underneath the hood and elsewhere. To understand a trust’s sufficiency to meet your intended goals you need to understand its “boiler plate” provisions in addition to the customized provisions (i.e., the intended beneficiary and distribution provisions). Certain boiler plate articles merit discussion. […]

posted on: August 4, 2023

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Professional Fiduciaries and Estate Planning

A private professional fiduciary (a licensed and bonded representative) can play a necessary and key representative role in administering a person’s estate plan. They can assist in a wide variety of ways, including the following: To settle a deceased person’s trust or probate estate; to administer a special needs trust; to administer a support trust; […]

posted on: July 20, 2023

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Major Life Changes and Updates to Estate Planning

People can be unaware and lax about updating their estate planning, both when major life events occur and also after time, as life incrementally creeps up over the years; the second shortcoming leaves people with misplaced confidence in old estate planning documents that are outdated as the law and/or the estate planning goals materially changed. […]

posted on: July 6, 2023

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