Powers of attorney are an important part of your estate plan. Below are answers to some of the most frequent questions I am asked about powers of attorney. What is a power of attorney? With the use of a power of attorney, you give legal permission and authority to another individual to act on your […]
Will & Trust Contests Explained
A will or trust contest is the legal process of challenging the asset distribution written into a will or trust. A person who makes a will or trust (testator/settlor) can freely choose who they want to leave their assets to after they die. However, it is usually not until after the testator dies (now referred to […]
Getting married? Think about a pre nup?
A prenuptial agreement (pre-nup) is an agreement that two people enter into before they marry. In California a prenuptial agreement may define whether or not property is community or separate. This distinction is very important if the couple divorces or one dies without a will. Under California law, any property that a person owns prior […]
California now recognizes Intentional Interference with Inheritance as a civil wrong, a tort
Recently decided case of Beckwith v. Dahl. This will not be a savior to everyone who gets cut out of an estate, but in certain cases when someone commits a deliberate wrongful act it may help. In a recent California Appellate Court decision, Beckwith v. Dahl, the court recognized that when someone commits a deliberate […]
Protect Yourself with Insurance Against Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
When planning your estate, have you considered how much insurance you carry, or even more importantly how much insurance do you carry for under or uninsured motorists? I recently had a case where one of my own expert witnesses had a family member involved in a horrible crash. He stood to lose everything he owned […]
Putting off taking care of your affairs is very costly
Just had two clients contact me with mothers on their death beds. In one case the woman was still able to think rationally, make decisions, and sign documents. I was able to do a trust for her which saved her family thousands of dollars in probate fees, when she died a few weeks later. In […]
Who will take care of things if I’m not around?
For some families with young or irresponsible children, who will act as the executor or successor trustee is a very hard question to answer. Most institutions won’t act for smaller estates (under $5,000,000) or if they do, they charge enormous fees. One solution in CA may be private professional fiduciaries Families with younger, disabled or […]
Life Insurance Trusts – Tax Free Money
You can take advantage of the annual $14,000 federal estate gift tax exemption (this number is indexed for inflation and is subject to change every year) by having your California probate and trust attorney help you set up what is called a “crummy trust” or irrevocable trust. An irrevocable trust is set up to buy […]
Why You Should Transfer California Real Estate to a Trust
If you own California real estate, you should establish a living trust and transfer all your real estate and other assets to the trust. It will save your family a great deal of stress, a lot of time and thousands of dollars in legal costs at the time of your death, by avoiding probate. A […]
What is an AB/Credit Shelter Trust?
During 2012, every U.S. citizen has a $5,120,000 estate tax exemption. This means that the first $5,120,000 of a decedent’s assets transfer to the decedent’s heirs without paying any federal estate tax. However, the $5,120,000 exemption is only in effect through December 31, 2012, and will be reduced to $1,000,000 as of January 1, 2013, […]