Estate Planning Essentials

            Let us review the following estate planning tools:  The Trust, the Will, the Power of Attorney, the Advance Health Care Directive, Joint Tenancy, and Death Beneficiary forms.              1.        The Trust.             The revocable living trust allows individuals and couples to control their trust assets for their benefit and the benefit of their loved […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Protecting Joint Tenants against Abusive Withdrawals.

          On January 1, 2013, important amendments to California’s law governing “Multiple Party Accounts,” including Joint Tenancy Accounts, took effect.  Let us examine how the amendments protect joint tenants from excessive withdrawals by their other joint tenants.             Generally, while all original parties to a multiple account are alive, each party’s ownership is based […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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How the Obamacare Medicare Surtax affects Trusts & Estates.

          On January 1, 2013, the 3.8% Medicare surtax, passed by Congress in 2010 to help pay for Obamacare, takes effect.  The 3.8% surtax is in addition to any income tax owed and applies to both individuals and trusts and estates.   Let us examine how the 3.8% surtax will apply in 2013 to individuals and to […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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May a Trustee follow a Living Settlor’s Bad instructions.

          When an individual or a couple, as settlor(s), establishes a revocable living trust they are usually the initial trustee(s) and beneficiary(ies).  This gives them complete control to do as they please with their trust assets.   Does this freedom change, however, if someone other than the settlor is trustee while the settlor is alive?  Let […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Gifts of Encumbered Properties.

          A gift of a particular piece of real or personal property is a specific gift.  If made in the context of a will or a living trust, such gifts typically take effect at the donor’s death.  Meanwhile the donor (i.e., maker of the gift) still owns the property.  Events may upset […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Grandparent Guardianships and Adoptions

            When parents no longer adequately provide for the wellbeing of their children, it is grandparents who are often the ones to take charge as guardians of their underage grandchildren.  Without their caring intervention, their grandchildren might otherwise be placed with a foster family.  Let us examine how such guardianships can […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Rights of Surviving Putative Spouses.

             California’s “Putative Spouse Doctrine” treats a so-called “putative spouse” like a surviving spouse with legal standing to sue for wrongful death of a deceased spouse and to claim a surviving spouse’s inheritance rights.              A putative spouse is someone who is found by a court to have genuinely believed that […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Homeownership Traps in Legacy Planning

            Financing the purchase of one’s home and refinancing one’s mortgage can each create estate planning traps for the unwary.   The traps created may be due to the name on the title or the manner in which title is held.   Let us consider two scenarios involving title that can create major problems once someone dies […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Why Multiple Trusts in One Document

          A living trust is meant to provide a comprehensive solution to the needs of the settlor(s) and subsequent beneficiaries. During the settlor(s)’ lifetime(s), assets are held in the “Settlors Trust” for the benefit of the settlor(s) and their dependents. When the settlor(s) die, different beneficiaries, purposes and priorities come into play. Not surprisingly, additional […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Rights of Trust Contingent Remainder Beneficiaries

          A trust beneficiary with a future right to part or all of the remaining balance of a trust estate provided they survive the current beneficiary is called a contingent remainder beneficiary.  Before the remainder beneficiary’s future rights in the trust can vest, however, he or she must first survive the current […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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