Estate Planning on behalf of a Spouse with Diminished Capacity.

In California, what options does a person married to a spouse who suffers from cognitive impairment have to get the couple’s affairs in order, e.g., to establish and fund a trust?  Let us discuss. Let us consider a married person with diminished capacity – e.g., unable to have an involved estate planning discussion or unable […]

posted on: October 13, 2021

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5 Common Mistakes in Estate Planning

Trying to figure it out on your own may seem like a good idea, but because of the complexities of the different laws, some simple little mistakes can be costly later on. A few procedures taken now could save your beneficiaries thousands of dollars in legal fees and taxes in the future. This is one […]

posted on: October 5, 2021

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Why do I Need Estate Planning?

Have you thought about how a probate court proceeding would affect your beneficiaries? When planning your estate, it is imperative to take this into consideration. A California estate planning attorney can help you to avoid probate in the first place, or if one becomes necessary, to assist the personal representative administer the probate estate after […]

posted on: October 5, 2021

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California’s More Generous Homestead Exemption

In 2021, California significantly increased the protection under the “homestead exemption” and the “homestead declaration”.  Until 2021, the amount of the homestead exemption (protection) varied from $75,000 to $175,000 depending on circumstances.  Now, the exemption amount varies between $300,000 and $600,000, adjusted annually for inflation, based on the countywide median sale price for a single-family […]

posted on: September 30, 2021

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Creditor Claims in a Probate.

Decedents typically die owing a variety of unpaid debts.  Probate acts as a legal clearinghouse for a decedent’s unsecured creditors to file claims demanding payment of a monetary liability (debt) owed them by the decedent.  In California, creditor claims are required to be filed regardless of whether the liability was due, accrued, contingent, or reduced […]

posted on: September 9, 2021

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The House Trust

          A residence can be held in further trust for the benefit of one or multiple beneficiaries after the owner’s death.  In California, a trust can hold title to real property either for up to ninety years or for a period that ends no later than 21 years after the death of an individual who […]

posted on: August 26, 2021

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Selling or Gifting Real Property as a Legal Representative

          A person who is authorized to act in a representative capacity is a fiduciary and must follow certain fiduciary (legal) duties.  Application of the duties vary with the legal authority granted and the situation.  Agents, conservators, trustees, personal representatives, and even spouses (in relationship to their spouse) are all fiduciaries.  Let us discuss how […]

posted on: August 14, 2021

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Health Education Maintenance and Support Distributions 

Many trusts say that “income” and/or “principal” are distributed for the beneficiary’s “Health, Education, Support and Maintenance” (“HEMS”).  Why is the HEMS standard used, what does it mean, and how is it applied and enforced?  The HEMS standard is an “ascertainable standard”.  It is an objective (measurable) standard.  A non-ascertainable distribution standard – e.g., distributions for beneficiary’s comfort and happiness – is not measurable because distributions are measured by the beneficiary’s personal wishes.    Using the HEMS standard helps protect trust assets from creditors of the beneficiary, […]

posted on: August 14, 2021

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Joint Tenancy Law & Property Tax Reassessment

          In California, the yearly increase in the assessed value of real property cannot exceed two-percent (Proposition 13). Thus, when after many years under Proposition 13, a reassessment to current fair market values occurs it can cause a dramatic increase in real property taxes.  Reassessments are a result of a “Change in Ownership” (sections 60, […]

posted on: July 14, 2021

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The Versatile Power of Attorney

Having a broadly drafted power of attorney can enable an agent to act in a representative capacity in a multitude of situations.  If authorized, the agent can act to provide for the principal’s personal care, manage the principal’s assets, engage in estate planning, support dependents, make gifts (such as to qualify for Medi-Cal), and more.  […]

posted on: July 14, 2021

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