Current and Remainder Beneficiaries

An ongoing trust funded with the assets of a deceased settlor benefits both current and remainder (future) beneficiaries, but at different times and in different ways. Such a trust restricts what the current (e.g., lifetime) beneficiary receives to ensure that some trust assets remain for the remainder beneficiaries. This is where the dual concepts of […]

posted on: June 22, 2023

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Appropriate Distributions from Special Needs Trust

The trustee of a Special Needs Trust (“SNT”) may make discretionary distributions for the “Special Needs” of a disabled person. That the trustee has discretion to make distributions and that such distributions are for the beneficiary’s Special Needs are to preserve the SNT’s beneficiary’s eligibility to receive government needs based benefits, e.g., Supplemental Security Income […]

posted on: June 8, 2023

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Estate Planning for Companion Animals (aka, “Pets”)

For many, especially persons who live alone, companion animals (hereinafter, “pets”) are like family, and for good reason. The Animal Health Foundation lists eight important benefits people enjoy by having a companion animal, including, more physical exercise, less stress, and alleviation of depression ( Not surprisingly, people who are attached to their pets want them […]

posted on: May 25, 2023

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Trust Beneficiary Rights & Standing during Settlor’s Incompetence.

In California, people often transfer their real properties and other assets to their living trust to avoid court administered proceedings later-on when they are unable to manage the trust assets due to incapacity or death (i.e., conservatorships and probates). That is, when the settlor is no longer able to serve as trustee then a successor […]

posted on: May 11, 2023

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Debts and Estate Planning

When doing estate planning, a person should give consideration to how future repayment of debts owed to them and also debts owed by them will impact the inheritances to be received by their intended death beneficiaries. First, debts in a person’s estate are payable from the decedent’s assets in the course of administering their probate […]

posted on: April 27, 2023

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Special Considerations in Charitable Giving

Special considerations arise when making gifts to charities. Let us discuss. First, what is the proper legal name and address of the charity? For example, naming the “Mendocino Humane Society” as a beneficiary would cause problems. There are at least three (3) different “not for profit” organizations in Mendocino which each use the words “Mendocino” […]

posted on: April 12, 2023

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Trusts & Attorney Fees: Who Pays?

Trustees hire attorneys to assist with normal trust administration and with litigation. When are the attorney fees properly paid from trust assets? In California, the law allows the trustee to pay reasonable attorney fees associated with the normal administration of the trust (See sections 16247 and 16243 of the Probate Code). Normal trust administration work […]

posted on: March 23, 2023

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Executor Probate Bonds

An executor bond is a type of probate bond that guarantees that if an executor or an administrator of a decedent’s estate fails to fulfill his or her duties as the personal representative — and harms the estate — that the estate can recover its damages against the value of the bond. A bond, therefore, […]

posted on: March 23, 2023

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Understanding Estate Planning Documents

There are frequently asked questions that people have about revocable living trusts, wills, supported decision making agreements (new), powers of attorney and advance health care directives. Basically it is what do these documents accomplish and how do they work? California’s new Supported Decision Making (“SDM”) law allows adults with disabilities to authorize trusted persons (e.g., […]

posted on: February 16, 2023

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Estate Planning for Parents with Care-Giver Children.

A not uncommon estate planning scenario is an elderly parent who lives with an adult child, either at the parent(s)’s home or at the child’s home. This scenario requires more considered estate planning to protect the arrangement in the event of the parent’s incapacity (e.g., dementia) and what happens when the parent moves out (e.g., […]

posted on: February 2, 2023

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