Understanding Death Beneficary Accounts, Wills & Trusts

          Estate planning often involves various asset types, such as, real property, tangible personal property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance.  How each asset type is managed during incapacity and transferred at death to beneficiaries also varies.             Real property, tangible personal property, and bank accounts can be transferred to a trust for lifetime […]

posted on: March 3, 2021

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Estate Planning For Second Marriages

          Married clients in second marriages with prior children often have to balance the future wellbeing of their spouse with that of their own children.  In California, a community property state, a resident can bequeath (leave) one-hundred percent of their separate property assets and one-half of their community property assets.   A resident may only bequeath […]

posted on: February 18, 2021

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Conditional Inheritances

          A decedent’s will or a trust may require that the beneficiary satisfy certain conditions in order to inherit.  California, like other states, enforces many conditions imposed on inheritances but not those that either violate the law or public policy.   Section 708 of California Civil Code provides that, “[c]onditions are precedent or subsequent. The former […]

posted on: February 18, 2021

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Corrected: Escheat of Unclaimed Property

Anyone settling a decedent’s estate should investigate the possibility that property belonging to the decedent’s estate, or an inheritance to which the decedent has a claim, escheated to the state.  Escheat is the legal process by which a person or institution with custody of a property belonging to another deposits the property with the state.  […]

posted on: January 26, 2021

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Representative Payee

A representative payee is a person or an organization appointed by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) to receive and manage Social Security income or Supplemental Security Income  (“SSI”) payments on behalf of a beneficiary whom the SSA has determined cannot manage their own income or who is susceptible to undue influence.  Representative payees are appointed […]

posted on: December 16, 2020

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Spousal Liability for Debts and Planning Opportunities.

          California is a community property state. Ownership interests of married persons are categorized as either the couple’s joint community property or as either spouse’s own separate property.  Assets acquired while married and living together in California are presumed to be community property assets and assets acquired prior to marriage and as gifts during marriage […]

posted on: December 3, 2020

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Proposition 19 Property Tax Reassessment

California’s Proposition 19 (passed in 2020) amends existing local property tax reassessment rules (i.e., California’s Proposition 13 and 58) in its Constitution.   Proposition 19 affects two categories of residents.  First, seniors, severely disabled and victims of wildfire or natural disaster who relocate within California; Second, families who transfer real properties between generations. Effective April 1, […]

posted on: November 19, 2020

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Interference with Inheritance Expectancy

What is the legal remedy when one person tortiously (wrongfully) interferes with another person’s estate planning so that an intended beneficiary receives either no or a lesser inheritance?  Since 2012 California has recognized the tort [i.e., a civil wrongdoing] of “Intentional Interference with Expected Inheritance” (Beckwith v. Dahl (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 1039, 1050-1056.).  This tort […]

posted on: October 8, 2020

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The Certification of Trust and the Certified Abstract of Trust

People want their confidential information inside of their living trust to remain confidential.  However, after a Trust is executed the settlor(s) often find it necessary to disclose certain limited information in order accomplish the following: retitle assets into the trust; borrow money against trust assets; and insure the trust as owner of real property.   Fortunately, […]

posted on: September 23, 2020

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No Contest Clauses

The law presumes that everyone wants that their estate planning documents to be respected.  A “no-contest clause” (also appropriately called an “interrorem” clause) when properly used is intended to discourage unhappy beneficiaries from contesting the terms of a will, a trust or other protected instrument (e.g., a designated death beneficiary form).  A beneficiary who violates […]

posted on: September 12, 2020

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