Simultaneous and Close Together Deaths.

                 There are various ways you can inherit from a decedent’s estate:  As a beneficiary under a will or trust, as a designated death beneficiary (i.e., insurance policies, retirement plans, etc.), as an heir, or as a surviving joint tenant.  All ways, however, require that you must first survive the decedent.              Sometimes the persons […]

posted on: August 8, 2019

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When One Spouse Becomes Incapacitated.

          Recently I was asked if I could help an elderly married couple who had run into an obstacle preventing them selling their home.  That is, the Notary Public had refused to notarize the wife’s signature because the wife apparently did not understand the documents she was to sign.   The wife did not have a […]

posted on: July 25, 2019

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Protecting Against Embezzling Trustees.

          Living Trusts provide many advantages when properly drafted and administered.  However, they can be misused.  A dishonest trustee can cause great harm when the trustee embezzles the trust assets.  What can be done to minimize the risk and to reduce the harm if embezzlement occurs?           A settlor should avoid nominating clearly unfit candidates […]

posted on: May 23, 2019

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Liquidation versus In Kind Distribution of Special Assets

Liquidation versus In Kind Distribution of Special Assets             Must special assets – such as businesses, farms and ranches — held in trust always be sold when there are multiple trust beneficiaries?  Disagreement and litigation amongst trust beneficiaries can arise over a special asset that some want preserved and others want sold and distributed as […]

posted on: May 2, 2019

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Assignments, Disclaimers and Powers of Appointment

          Assignments, Disclaimers and Powers of Appointment can alter the distribution of a decedent’s estate.               First what is and who can make an assignment? A person who has a vested — legally enforceable — interest in a decedent’s estate can “assign” – i.e., transfer – part or all of their interest to another. […]

posted on: April 18, 2019

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Commonplace Estate Planning Misconceptions

          Some misconceptions regarding estate planning repeat themselves frequently enough to merit discussion because they are commonplace.            One misconception is that trust documents are filed with the County.  False.  Only trust transfer deeds transferring real property into the name of the trustee are filed with the County Recorder.  Nor are trusts are filed with […]

posted on: March 27, 2019

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The Effects of Lifetime Gifts, Loans, and Sales on Inheritance Rights.

            Lifetime events relating to a person’s assets and family situation can materially affect how their estate is distributed when they die.              Consider lifetime gifts and loans by a parent to a child.  A person’s trust or will may say that lifetime gifts and/or unpaid loans to a child shall be counted as advances […]

posted on: March 14, 2019

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What Do I receive and When Do I receive it?

            Two immediate questions that trust beneficiaries want answered are what do I receive, and when do I receive it.  For answers we look first to the trust.             Trusts typically provide that most, if not all, of the trust estate – i.e., all the trust assets – shall be divided into separate shares for […]

posted on: February 28, 2019

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Protecting the Surviving Spouse and Minor Children in Second Marriages

          In second marriages, how a person provides for his or her surviving spouse (or registered domestic partner) and/or surviving minor children often involves balancing their concern for the needs and expectations of their second family with their concern for the needs and expectations of any children from a prior relationship.            Unfortunately, the children […]

posted on: February 7, 2019

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Failed Testamentary Transfers

          When possible, California law prefers to avoid intestacy – that is, where all or a portion of a decedent’s estate goes to the decedent’s surviving heirs, and not to beneficiaries named under the decedent’s will or trust.  What happens then when gifts made in a testamentary instrument, such as a will or a trust, […]

posted on: January 22, 2019

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