The Spousal Fiduciary Duty.

Marriage entails both ethical and legal responsibilities and duties between spouses.  In California, the law requires a married person to act most honestly and fairly towards his or her spouse.  The Family Code specifically provides that, “[t]his confidential relationship [of marriage] imposes the duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, […]

posted on: May 1, 2017

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Understanding Title

          Title means ownership and control. How title is conveyed varies with the asset type.           With real property title involves the Chain of Title from the original owner to each subsequent owner. Title is typically conveyed by either a Quitclaim Deed or a Warranty Deed signed by the Grantor(s).  Title “vests” (transfers) in the […]

posted on: April 17, 2017

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On Being a Fiduciary.

Lay people often agree to act as an Agent or Trustee on behalf of another family member — usually a parent — without knowing that they are agreeing to become a Fiduciary and what that means.   Becoming a Fiduciary is entering into a legal relationship that entails trust, responsibility and accountability.  There are many different […]

posted on: April 13, 2017

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Uncertainty, Estate Planning, & Peace of Mind.

          Uncertainty makes most of us uncomfortable.  It is something most wish to push aside.  Much of what happens over the course of our lifetimes, however, is uncertain until much closer to when it actually happens.  Estate planning necessarily grapples in the present with the uncertainty of what may happen to us and our loved […]

posted on: March 13, 2017

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Administering A Special Needs Trust

          Special Needs Trusts (“SNT”) are for special needs beneficiaries who receive needs based government benefits, such as SSI and Medi-Cal.  Assets held in a fully discretionary SNT do not count as available resources for determining needs based eligibility because the trustee has complete discretion over whether, when and how to distribute assets.  The purpose […]

posted on: February 27, 2017

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Trustees Who “Borrow” Trust Funds.

          Money can be a compelling temptation.  Some trustees give in to their temptation and misappropriate trust funds for their own personal use.  After the fact, when they are caught, such trustees may try to re-characterize their misappropriation as so-called “borrowing”.           Such misappropriation, of course, is not “borrowing” and repayment does not make it […]

posted on: February 11, 2017

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Life Estate for Surviving Spouse

A Life Estate for Surviving Spouse – A person may decide to give their surviving spouse the right to live in the residence for life (i.e., “a life estate”) and leave their children full ownership of the residence once the surviving spouse no longer lives there. Let us consider the issues raised by such a […]

posted on: February 10, 2017

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First Party Special Needs Trusts

         First Party Special Needs Trusts- Special Needs Trusts (“SNT’s”) preserve the beneficiary’s eligibility to receive needs based government benefits. Such as SSI and Medi-Cal.  These benefits are jeopardized when an individual receives a gift or inheritance. The individual then exceeds his or her maximum allowed resources (countable assets).            First Party SNT’s (unlike Third Party SNT’s) […]

posted on: January 26, 2017

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Estate Planning For Grandchildren.

       Estate Planning For Grandchildren-   After a decedent’s own children, grandchildren are next in line to receive inheritances from a decedent’s estate.  Grandchildren usually figure as alternative beneficiaries who inherit only if their parent predeceases their grandparent.  Grandchildren, however, can sometimes be primary beneficiaries, such as when the grandparent raised the grandchild or wants to provide […]

posted on: January 3, 2017

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