Administration or No Administration of Decedent’s Assets

Assets of a decedent’s estate can pass at death either with or without administration, i.e., a court supervised probate and/or a trust administration. It depends on how the decedent’s assets are titled, the gross value of the decedent’s entire estate (excluding non-probate assets) and whether the asset(s) is (are) inherited by a surviving spouse / […]

posted on: January 19, 2023

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Not All Trusts Are Created Equal

All living trusts, at a minimum, have one common denominator: avoiding probate. Beyond that, living trusts are not created equal. Let us discuss some of the estate planning features that a well drafted living trust often contains. A well drafted living trust administers a person’s assets during incapacity (prior to death) and at death, without […]

posted on: January 4, 2023

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Gifts by Agents and Trustees

Tis the season to be giving. Many older adults enjoy giving money during their lifetime to family members or donations to a religious or charitable organizations. For example, a grandparent may make a generous holiday gift of money to a needy grandchild in college or to an adult child who is struggling in-between jobs. The […]

posted on: December 22, 2022

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Supported Decisionmaking

Effective January 1, 2023, California’s Welfare and Institution Law is amended to add new sections 21000 – 21008 enacting the “Supported Decisionmaking” law (AB 1663 (2022)). [Note: The phrase, “Decision Making” is melded into a single word, “Decisionmaking”.] Supported decisionmaking is the centerpiece within the broader AB 1663 (2022) legislation that also reforms California’s Conservatorship […]

posted on: December 12, 2022

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Manufactured & Mobile Homes in a Decedent’s Estate.

For many, a manufactured / mobile home is home. What happens when a California resident dies owning a manufactured or mobile home situated in California? If the manufactured or mobile home is situated on a permanent foundation and a form 433A filed with the county recorder then the manufactured or mobile home and the land […]

posted on: November 24, 2022

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Non Resident Decedent with Real Property in California.

If a non-resident (non-domiciliary) decedent dies owning real property in California, the administration of the deceased non-resident’s real property in California is subject to California law. How the non-resident’s real property in California is owned (titled) in major part dictates whether the non-resident’s real property in California is subject to probate in California. If the […]

posted on: November 10, 2022

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Preserving Estate Planning Documents

Preserving estate planning documents is important to their future implementation. The original documents need to be readily available, altogether and accessible when the time comes. An original will needs to be preserved and be available to the named executor. In California, the law presumes that if the decedent’s original will was last in the decedent’s […]

posted on: October 27, 2022

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No Estate Planning and Rude Awakenings

Estate planning by a married person can help to avoid unintended negative consequences to a surviving spouse and children. This is particularly important when the married person is in a subsequent marriage and has separate property acquired prior to the current marriage. Does a surviving spouse automatically inherit the deceased spouse’s house? Some married people […]

posted on: October 13, 2022

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Waiving The Surviving Spouse’s Rights

Marriage confers important rights and obligations on spouses. One of the rights is that of the surviving spouse’s rights in the deceased spouse’s estate. In California, couples prior to marriage and during marriage can agree that the surviving spouse waive certain inheritance rights in a deceased spouse’s estate (Probate Code sections 141-147). Upon divorce, a […]

posted on: September 28, 2022

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Death of the Deceased Spouse.

The surviving spouse has important estate administration duties at the death of the first spouse to die (i.e., “the deceased spouse”).  These sometimes go neglected until the surviving spouse dies.  The surviving spouse needs to examine how the deceased spouse’s assets are titled.  Real properties may be held by a husband and wife as tenants […]

posted on: September 8, 2022

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