Contesting Trust Amendments

          A Trust is the original trust document together with all amendments.  Amendments, amongst other things, add and subtract beneficiaries and change inheritances to existing beneficiaries.            In California, when a revocable living trust becomes irrevocable — such as upon the death or incapacity of the settlor — the successor trustee is required to give […]

posted on: February 5, 2020

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Secure Act of 2019 and the Stretch IRA

          The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (“SECURE Act of 2019”) is, from a taxpayer’s perspective, both “good news” and “bad news”.  The “good news” includes helping small employers establish 401(k) retirement plans and allowing more employees to save for retirement.  The ‘bad news” is that the new tax law […]

posted on: January 17, 2020

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Rights Reserved to Settlors.

          When a revocable living trust is established certain important powers – i.e., to amend or to revoke the trust — are usually reserved to the settlor (i.e., the person who established the trust).  Unless the trust expressly allows someone other than the settlor to exercise these powers then only the settlor – while alive […]

posted on: December 20, 2019

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Beneficiary Dies Prior to Receiving Inheritance.

          What happens when a beneficiary of a deceased person’s probate estate or living trust dies during an ongoing administration and before receiving the full distribution of their inheritance?  The death of a beneficiary scenario can arise in settling either a probate estate or a trust administration.  The beneficiary’s death affects both the administration of […]

posted on: December 5, 2019

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Caring for the Elderly at Home.

            Many elderly people are being cared for at home rather than at a board and care, assisted living or skilled nursing facility.  Often the personal care giver is someone who is employed directly by the elderly person or by the elderly person’s family.   These employment arrangements cover a wide spectrum of personal care services […]

posted on: November 22, 2019

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Creditor Claims & Decedent’s Estate

          Creditors of a decedent who wish to pursue a claim against the decedent’s estate for an unsecured debt must follow certain important procedures in a timely manner.  If these procedures either are not done properly or are not done timely then a creditor may lose their opportunity to pursue their claim.  Secured creditors can […]

posted on: November 1, 2019

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Tenancies In Common & Estate Planning

          A tenant in common owns an undivided, fractional interest in a property (real or personal) with one or more additional tenants in common, who may be related or unrelated persons.  Let’s consider issues related to some scenarios.           Consider two friends who buy real property as equal tenants in common to turn into a […]

posted on: October 17, 2019

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Amending Estate Planning Documents

          Updating one’s estate planning documents involves changes to one’s trust, will and/or designation of death beneficiaries, as relevant.  To be effective such updates must be done correctly.  Otherwise, if done ineffectively, the result can be disappointment and lawsuits for those concerned.           Under California law, a trust can be amended either using the method […]

posted on: October 4, 2019

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Medi-Cal Estate Recovery versus Special Needs Payback

          Medi-Cal has different rules governing Medi-Cal reimbursement when a Medi-Cal recipient dies.  One set of rules applies to assets owned by the deceased Medi-Cal recipient’s estate.  Another set of rules apply to assets held in a self-settled first party Special Needs Trust and pooled Special Needs Trust funded by the trust beneficiary in order […]

posted on: September 13, 2019

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Life Insurance and Trusts

Death benefits payable from a life insurance policy on the death of the insured can be considerable.  Such benefits can either be paid directly to one or more individual beneficiaries or be paid to a trust administered for their benefit.  A trust can own and/or be the death beneficiary on a life insurance policy.  Unlike […]

posted on: September 13, 2019

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