Debts and Estate Planning

When doing estate planning, a person should give consideration to how future repayment of debts owed to them and also debts owed by them will impact the inheritances to be received by their intended death beneficiaries. First, debts in a person’s estate are payable from the decedent’s assets in the course of administering their probate […]

posted on: April 27, 2023

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Special Considerations in Charitable Giving

Special considerations arise when making gifts to charities. Let us discuss. First, what is the proper legal name and address of the charity? For example, naming the “Mendocino Humane Society” as a beneficiary would cause problems. There are at least three (3) different “not for profit” organizations in Mendocino which each use the words “Mendocino” […]

posted on: April 12, 2023

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Trusts & Attorney Fees: Who Pays?

Trustees hire attorneys to assist with normal trust administration and with litigation. When are the attorney fees properly paid from trust assets? In California, the law allows the trustee to pay reasonable attorney fees associated with the normal administration of the trust (See sections 16247 and 16243 of the Probate Code). Normal trust administration work […]

posted on: March 23, 2023

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Executor Probate Bonds

An executor bond is a type of probate bond that guarantees that if an executor or an administrator of a decedent’s estate fails to fulfill his or her duties as the personal representative — and harms the estate — that the estate can recover its damages against the value of the bond. A bond, therefore, […]

posted on: March 23, 2023

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Understanding Estate Planning Documents

There are frequently asked questions that people have about revocable living trusts, wills, supported decision making agreements (new), powers of attorney and advance health care directives. Basically it is what do these documents accomplish and how do they work? California’s new Supported Decision Making (“SDM”) law allows adults with disabilities to authorize trusted persons (e.g., […]

posted on: February 16, 2023

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Estate Planning for Parents with Care-Giver Children.

A not uncommon estate planning scenario is an elderly parent who lives with an adult child, either at the parent(s)’s home or at the child’s home. This scenario requires more considered estate planning to protect the arrangement in the event of the parent’s incapacity (e.g., dementia) and what happens when the parent moves out (e.g., […]

posted on: February 2, 2023

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Administration or No Administration of Decedent’s Assets

Assets of a decedent’s estate can pass at death either with or without administration, i.e., a court supervised probate and/or a trust administration. It depends on how the decedent’s assets are titled, the gross value of the decedent’s entire estate (excluding non-probate assets) and whether the asset(s) is (are) inherited by a surviving spouse / […]

posted on: January 19, 2023

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Not All Trusts Are Created Equal

All living trusts, at a minimum, have one common denominator: avoiding probate. Beyond that, living trusts are not created equal. Let us discuss some of the estate planning features that a well drafted living trust often contains. A well drafted living trust administers a person’s assets during incapacity (prior to death) and at death, without […]

posted on: January 4, 2023

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Gifts by Agents and Trustees

Tis the season to be giving. Many older adults enjoy giving money during their lifetime to family members or donations to a religious or charitable organizations. For example, a grandparent may make a generous holiday gift of money to a needy grandchild in college or to an adult child who is struggling in-between jobs. The […]

posted on: December 22, 2022

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Supported Decisionmaking

Effective January 1, 2023, California’s Welfare and Institution Law is amended to add new sections 21000 – 21008 enacting the “Supported Decisionmaking” law (AB 1663 (2022)). [Note: The phrase, “Decision Making” is melded into a single word, “Decisionmaking”.] Supported decisionmaking is the centerpiece within the broader AB 1663 (2022) legislation that also reforms California’s Conservatorship […]

posted on: December 12, 2022

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