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the years; the second shortcoming leaves people with misplaced confidence in old estate planning documents that are outdated as the law and/or the estate planning goals materially changed.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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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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