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    • Have You Factored In HIPAA Rules Into Your Estate Plans?

      Although the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, aka HIPAA, is meant to protect your medical privacy, sometimes the rule may cause unwanted situations in regards to the release of ...

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    • Organ Donation Directives

      Something you may want to consider as part of your estate litigation is what to do with your body or parts of your body after you die. Many people consider organ donation as a way to give life to ...

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    • What Are Some of the Costs of Court Appointed Guardianships/Conservatorships?

      The costs of not having a Durable General Power of Attorney or Power of Attorney for Health Care included in your estate litigation are immense. Without these documents in place your family will need ...

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    • California: An Anti-Lapse State

      When writing your will, a good idea is to figure out where you’d like the gift to go if the person you designated as the beneficiary happens to die before you do. If this happens that gift is deemed ...

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    • Disinheritance Cluase may not avoid Anti Lapse statute

      When putting together your estate plan, you should hire an experienced estate litigation attorney to avoid any unintended distributions of your estate. In 2010, the California Court of Appeal held ...

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    • Utilizing Retirement Plans for Asset Protection - Part III

      Nonqualified Plans Nonqualified plans include Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Simplified Employee Pensions (SEP), deferred compensation plans, 403(b) plans with a custodial account, and plans ...

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    • Utilizing Retirement Plans for Asset Protection - Part II

      Anti-Alienation Clause ERISA-compliant plans contain an anti-alienation clause that prohibits the creditors of the participant as well as that of the sponsoring organization from attaching the assets ...

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    • Utilizing Retirement Plans for Asset Protection - Part I

      There are certain protections that exist under both the federal and California law that shield retirement plans from creditor claims. Such protections may be beneficial to individuals who do not only ...

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    • Part II - Res Judicata Bars Financial Elder Abuse Claims On Court Approved Accountings

      To continue our blog on Knox v. Dean (205 Cal.App.4 th 417 (2012)), Donna (successor conservator , plaintiff, cross-defendant and appellant) appealed the trial court's decision granting Dean's ...

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    • Part II: Probate Court has Authority to Compel an Accounting and it is Not Appealable Unless...

      Trustees and those entrusted to act as successor trustees should note that the probate court has the authority to compel a formal, verified accounting as a preliminary step in any court dispute which ...

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    • Developmentally Disabled Woman Kept From Benefitting From Trust Assets

      A case that is currently making it's way through the San Francisco Probate Court demonstrates the importance of choosing the right person to be a trustee. Especially, in the case of a special needs ...

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    • Capacity in California Information

      If you are planning on making changes to your estate plan, or if you are drafting an estate plan for the first time, you should ensure that your capacity will not be called into question. A ...

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    • Capacity in California Continued

      In yesterday's blog, we discussed how capacity affects a person's ability to execute a will in California. Pursuant to California Probate Code section 811 a determination that a person lacks the ...

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    • Determining Capacity

      In yesterdays' blog we determined situations where capacity can be an issue for someone looking to draft a will. In fact, for that reason, California has established very specific guidelines for ...

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    • Musician Lou Reed Leaves Estate to Wife and Sister

      American musician Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed, the front man for the 1960s band The Velvet Underground, left majority of his $15 million estate to his wife, Laurie Anderson. Reed, who underwent a liver ...

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    • Part II - Estate Planning Attorney Disqualified from Representing A Client with Adverse Interests To Former Client

      To continue our blog on Fiduciary Trust International of California v. Superior Court, Betty Brown (decedent), changed her will after Willet's death. Instead of leaving the majority of Betty's assets ...

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    • James Gandolfini in Death and Taxes

      As we mourn the loss of a great actor who moved us with his performance as Mafia boss Tony Soprano in "The Sopranos", we also take this opportunity to look at the tax ramifications of his estate ...

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    • The Marvin Claim

      Marvin v. Marvin (18 Cal. 3d 660 (1976)) is a landmark "palimony" case which held that a contract between unmarried partners was enforceable unless it was based on an illicit or unlawful ...

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    • Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT)

      A gifting strategy that allows a couple to take advantage of the gift tax exemption while retaining access to the funds is the Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT). The SLAT is an irrevocable trust ...

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    • You can avoid probate if you have Property held as Community Property with Right of Survivorship

      California is a Community Property state which means that the spouses must divide all community property equally. California defines community property as "All property acquired during marriage and ...

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    • Part III - Heightened Standard of Proof is Required for Authorization of Medical Procedures that Impacts Fundamental Rights

      Continuing from our previous blog on the Conservatorship of the Person and Estate of Maria B., the trial court clerk forwarded the trial court's ruling to the Court of Appeal as an automatic appeal ...

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    • Part II - Heightened Standard of Proof is Required for Authorization of Medical Procedures that Impacts Fundamental Rights

      To continue our blog on the Conservatorship of the Person and Estate of Maria B., a public defender was appointed as Maria's counsel and opposed Denise's petition on the grounds that (1) Probate Code ...

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    • Heightened Standard of Proof is Required for Authorization of Medical Procedures that Impacts Fundamental Rights

      A petition to authorize medical procedures that has the incidental effect of sterilization requires a clear and convincing evidence standard to protect an individual's right to procreative choice. The ...

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    • Part II - Estate Planning Attorney Disqualified from Representing A Client with Adverse Interests To Former Client

      To continue our blog on Fiduciary Trust International of California v. Superior Court, Betty Brown (decedent), changed her will after Willet's death. Instead of leaving the majority of Betty's assets ...

      Read More
    • James Gandolfini in Death and Taxes

      As we mourn the loss of a great actor who moved us with his performance as Mafia boss Tony Soprano in "The Sopranos", we also take this opportunity to look at the tax ramifications of his estate ...

      Read More
    • Estate Taxes Are Not Avoided SImply Because of a Trust

      If you think that by simply creating a revocable living trust ,as opposed to a will, that certain inheritance taxes will be avoided, you may want to think again. People that are not familiar with the ...

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    • Part III - Res judicata Bars Respondents from Re-litigating Case That Was Dismissed with Prejudice

      To continue our blog on the Estate of Redfield (193 Cal. App. 4 th 1526 (2011)), Nancy Horan (petitioner and appellant) appealed the trial court's decision to reopen the final judgment of the probate ...

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    • Part III - Executor May Be Awarded Attorney Fees and Costs if Participating "As A Party to Assist the Court"

      Continuing from our previous blog on the Estate of Hans Barsch (193 Cal. App. 4 th 885 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 1 st Appellate Dist., 1 st Div, 2011), Norman Bartsch Herterich (Objector and appellant) ...

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    • Part II - Executor May Be Awarded Attorney Fees and Costs if Participating "As A Party to Assist the Court"

      In continuation of our blog on the Estate of Hans Barsch (193 Cal. App. 4 th 885 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 1 st Appellate Dist., 1 st Div, 2011), after Hans Bartsch's death, Arndt Peltner (petitioner ...

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    • No-Contest Clause

      A no-contest clause or an "in terrorem" clause is a provision in a testamentary instrument that is meant to discourage beneficiaries from disputing a will . This clause is typically used to threaten ...

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    • How Can You Circumvent the Omitted Spouse Provision?

      Under the California Probate Code, an omitted spouse is a surviving spouse that was unintentionally disinherited under a will or trust that was executed prior to marriage. The law provides for the ...

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    • Part IV - The Omitted Spouse

      Continuing our blog on the omitted spouse and specifically, the Estate of Will (170 Cal.App.4 th 902 (2009)), Gertrude appealed the probate court''s decision to honor the prenuptial agreement and ...

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    • Part II - Executor May Be Awarded Attorney Fees and Costs if Participating "As A Party to Assist the Court"

      In continuation of our blog on the Estate of Hans Barsch (193 Cal. App. 4 th 885 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 1 st Appellate Dist., 1 st Div, 2011), after Hans Bartsch's death, Arndt Peltner (petitioner ...

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    • Part II - Filing of Petition within 120 Days Even if Notice was Not Served Does Not Time-Bar the Petition

      To continue our blog on Straley v. Gamble; approximately two weeks after decedent's death, William O. Gamble III (trustee, defendant and trustee) served Steven Straley (decedent's son; plaintiff and ...

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    • Non-Probate Transfer

      The Estate of Gardner, Jr. (187 Cal.App.4 th 543 (2010)) involved the disposition of assets through a nonprobate transfer. Accordingly, the Probate Code does not govern these kinds of transfers. ...

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    • Court Reverses Insurance Agent's Theft Conviction

      Glenn Neasham, an insurance agent by trade, sold an Allianz MasterDex 10 annuity to Fran Schuber, an 83-year old woman. The MasterDex 10 annuity was approved for sale by the California Department of ...

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    • Part II - California Court of Appeal Caps Patient Rights Claims in Elder Abuse Cases at $500

      The case of Samuel Nevarrez v. San Marino Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre et al., began in March 2009 when a 79-year old patient was admitted to San Marino (defendants and appellants) for ...

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    • California Court of Appeal Caps Patient Rights Claims in Elder Abuse Cases at $500

      In Samuel Nevarrez v. San Marino Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre, et al., a newly published elder abuse case involving a former patient's claims for elder abuse , negligence and violations of ...

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    • New Budget Law Brings Changes to Medi-Cal Estate Recovery

      The new state budget bill for the next fiscal year has been passed by Governor Jerry Brown, bringing good news for Medi-Cal recipients. As a part of the new legislation, substantial changes are ...

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    • Part III - Court Reverses Insurance Agent's Theft Conviction

      In continuation with our blog on The People v. Neasham, Glenn Neasham (defendant and appellant) appealed his conviction for committing theft from an elder and dependent adult by selling her an annuity ...

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    • Court Reverses Insurance Agent's Theft Conviction

      Glenn Neasham, an insurance agent by trade, sold an Allianz MasterDex 10 annuity to Fran Schuber, an 83-year old woman. The MasterDex 10 annuity was approved for sale by the California Department of ...

      Read More
    • Part III - Trust's Arbitration Provision Does Not Compel Beneficiaries That Are not a Party To Such Agreement

      To continue our blog on Diaz v. Bukey (195 Cal.App.4 th 315 (2011)), Marie L. Bukey (trustee, defendant and appellant) appealed the trial court's decision denying the petition to compel arbitration. ...

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    • At What Point Should I Create a Will?

      Most people understand there are benefits to having a will or living trust . It is an unfortunate fact, however, that close to 55% of all American adults are currently living without a will or any ...

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    • Part III - Executor May Be Awarded Attorney Fees and Costs if Participating "As A Party to Assist the Court"

      Continuing from our previous blog on the Estate of Hans Barsch (193 Cal. App. 4 th 885 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 1 st Appellate Dist., 1 st Div, 2011), Norman Bartsch Herterich (Objector and appellant) ...

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    • Talking Estate Plans with Your Loved Ones This Holiday Season

      Imagine a typical scene at your household during the holidays. It probably includes just about your entire family gathered around one table – two if you have young children in your family tree – ...

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    • No-Contest Clause

      A no-contest clause or an "in terrorem" clause is a provision in a testamentary instrument that is meant to discourage beneficiaries from disputing a will . This clause is typically used to threaten ...

      Read More
    • Are You An Omitted or Pretermitted Heir?

      A pretermitted heir is a person who would likely stand to inherit under a will or trust , except that the person who wrote the will (testator) or trust (settlor) did not know, or did not know of, the ...

      Read More
    • When Do You Need A Trust Litigation Lawyer?

      Often in the waning years of people’s lives, they may become susceptible to fraud or abuse. Also, family issues can be difficult to work out, especially after you have all lost someone close to you. ...

      Read More
    • Part II - Estate Planning Attorney Disqualified from Representing A Client with Adverse Interests To Former Client

      To continue our blog on Fiduciary Trust International of California v. Superior Court, Betty Brown (decedent), changed her will after Willet's death. Instead of leaving the majority of Betty's assets ...

      Read More
    • Homestead Declaration as Part of Estate Planning

      I would wager that the main type of property you would want to have protection for when you die would be your home. Many states, including California, have what are called homestead allowance ...

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    • New Budget Law Brings Changes to Medi-Cal Estate Recovery

      The new state budget bill for the next fiscal year has been passed by Governor Jerry Brown, bringing good news for Medi-Cal recipients. As a part of the new legislation, substantial changes are ...

      Read More
    • Part II - Estate Planning Attorney Disqualified from Representing A Client with Adverse Interests To Former Client

      To continue our blog on Fiduciary Trust International of California v. Superior Court, Betty Brown (decedent), changed her will after Willet's death. Instead of leaving the majority of Betty's assets ...

      Read More
    • James Gandolfini in Death and Taxes

      As we mourn the loss of a great actor who moved us with his performance as Mafia boss Tony Soprano in "The Sopranos", we also take this opportunity to look at the tax ramifications of his estate ...

      Read More
    • Part III - Executor May Be Awarded Attorney Fees and Costs if Participating "As A Party to Assist the Court"

      Continuing from our previous blog on the Estate of Hans Barsch (193 Cal. App. 4 th 885 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 1 st Appellate Dist., 1 st Div, 2011), Norman Bartsch Herterich (Objector and appellant) ...

      Read More
    • Part II - Executor May Be Awarded Attorney Fees and Costs if Participating "As A Party to Assist the Court"

      In continuation of our blog on the Estate of Hans Barsch (193 Cal. App. 4 th 885 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 1 st Appellate Dist., 1 st Div, 2011), after Hans Bartsch's death, Arndt Peltner (petitioner ...

      Read More
    • Collecting Decedent's Employee Benefits

      As part of your duties as the estate executor, you will need to collect any employee benefits or death benefits that the decedent may have been eligible for. Such benefits may include retirement ...

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    • How a Conservatorship affects Estate Planning

      A person who is subject to a conservatorship may still have the capacity to set up their own estate plan. The appointment of a conservatorship is a consideration in determining whether the conservatee ...

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    • Standing and Sufficiency of a Petition for Guardianship: What Test applies in California?

      In 2009, The California Appellate District Court applied the current California test for standing and sufficiency for a petition for guardianship . This Case involved Petitioner Paul Petersen, the CEO ...

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    • Probate Code Revisions for Donative Transfer Restrictions

      In estate litigation , it is important to consider elder abuse , fraud and undue influence. The California State government has attempted to address these issues with legislation. In 2009, State ...

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    • Part II - Estate Planning Attorney Disqualified from Representing A Client with Adverse Interests To Former Client

      To continue our blog on Fiduciary Trust International of California v. Superior Court, Betty Brown (decedent), changed her will after Willet's death. Instead of leaving the majority of Betty's assets ...

      Read More
    • Trustee Compensation

      Probate Code section 15680 subd. (a) provides that "if the trust instrument provides for the trustee's compensation, the trustee is entitled to be compensated in accordance with the trust instrument." ...

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    • Are Trustees Protected from Fiduciary Breaches by No Contest Clauses?

      Not according to the California courts. In the case of Christopher Gene Fazzi v. Norma Jean Klein, 2010 Cal. App. LEXIS 2112 , Christopher sought to remove his mother, Norma, has the sole trustee for ...

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    • In California, Beneficiary Can't Sue for Tort of Interference with an Expected Inheritance to Undermine a Will's No-Contest Clause

      There are instances when a will has been revised to change the distribution of assets amongst beneficiaries. Some of these wills may have a no-contest clause that would prevent anyone from contesting ...

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    • Part II - Relationship via Marriage Exempts Prohibitions against Gifts to Caregivers

      To continue our blog on Hernandez v. Kieferle, Claudine appealed the probate court's judgment invalidating the 2008 amendment and confirming the Hernandezes as Gertrude's successor trustees. Claudine ...

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    • Relationship via Marriage Exempts Prohibitions against Gifts to Caregivers

      Under Probate Code section 21350, there is a rebuttable presumption that testamentary transfers to care custodians/caregivers are the product of fraud, duress, menace or undue influence. However, ...

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    • Parental Rights Termination and Parental Unfitness

      Yesterday, we discussed about guardianship and parental unfitness under Probate Code section 1513 (c). In a similar vein, we will discuss about parental rights termination based upon child's best ...

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    • Guardianship Cases and Parental Unfitness

      The drama surrounding Ariel Winters of Modern Family fame and her 32 year-old sister's quest to obtain guardianship over her brings to mind a guardianship case titled Guardianship of Christian G. ...

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    • Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act Approved

      This week a new act called the Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The act was sponsored by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and it's purpose ...

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    • About Private Letter Rulings

      A Private Letter Ruling (PLR) is a written response by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to a taxpayer's request for information. A PLR can be used by a taxpayer for guidance on whether to take ...

      Read More
    • Are You An Omitted or Pretermitted Heir?

      A pretermitted heir is a person who would likely stand to inherit under a will or trust , except that the person who wrote the will (testator) or trust (settlor) did not know, or did not know of, the ...

      Read More
    • How Can You Circumvent the Omitted Spouse Provision?

      Under the California Probate Code, an omitted spouse is a surviving spouse that was unintentionally disinherited under a will or trust that was executed prior to marriage. The law provides for the ...

      Read More
    • Part III - Res judicata Bars Respondents from Re-litigating Case That Was Dismissed with Prejudice

      To continue our blog on the Estate of Redfield (193 Cal. App. 4 th 1526 (2011)), Nancy Horan (petitioner and appellant) appealed the trial court's decision to reopen the final judgment of the probate ...

      Read More
    • Property Not Subject to Probate

      The majority of people who do estate litigation seek to avoid probate. In fact, part of avoiding probate involves having a savvy estate plan. estates must go through probate. Additionally, probate is ...

      Read More
    • How does holding Property in Joint Tenancy affect Estate Distribution?

      Many people are not quite sure what it means to hold property in "joint tenancy." You may hold real property (real estate) and personal property like bank accounts, cars or investments in joint ...

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    • New Task Force May Help To Distribute Unclaimed Insurance Benefits

      A task force comprised of officials from several states have discovered that insurers have failed to payout to beneficiaries over $1 billion worth of life insurance benefits over the last few decades. ...

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    • What Happens to Life Insurance Proceeds Without a Designated Beneficiary?

      When your loved one passes away without designating a beneficiary for their life insurance policy or the beneficiaries preceded them in death, what happens now? If the decedent had not completed a ...

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    • What Happens to Life Insurance Proceeds With a Designated Beneficiary?

      When your loved one passes away, and leaves a life insurance policy behind, you will have to determine whether or not that policy must be used to pay off the decedent's debts. The easiest way to do ...

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    • Can I Put Life Insurance in a Trust?

      Even though the federal estate tax was repealed in 2010, a $5 million exemption came back retroactively which is also effective for 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the exemption will decrease to only $1 ...

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    • Understanding Life Insurance Trusts

      Obtaining Life Insurance coverage is often a part of the estate planning process. If you have multiple life insurance policies you may want to consider a Life Insurance Trust. a life insurance trust ...

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    • Part III - Living Trusts

      Living trusts have some disadvantages. These include: Preparation of a living trust oftentimes costs more than a will . However, the difference in costs may not be significant if the will is complex. ...

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    • Part II - Living Trusts

      A trust usually involves three parties: the settlor who is the creator of the trust , the trustee or trustees who agree to manage the assets as directed by the terms of the trust , and the ...

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    • Part II - General Assignment Effectively Transfers Unintentionally Omitted Shares of Stocks to Trust

      To continue our blog on Kucker v. Kucker ((2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 90), Megan Kucker and Bonnie Alexander (trustees, plaintiffs and appellants, respondent) appealed the probate court's order denying ...

      Read More
    • New Budget Law Brings Changes to Medi-Cal Estate Recovery

      The new state budget bill for the next fiscal year has been passed by Governor Jerry Brown, bringing good news for Medi-Cal recipients. As a part of the new legislation, substantial changes are ...

      Read More
    • Part III - Non-Probate Transfer

      For the last portion of our blog on payable on death or totten trust accounts (a form of trust in the U.S. in which a settlor places money in a bank account or security with instructions that upon the ...

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    • Part II - Non-Probate Transfer

      To continue our blog on the Estate of Gardner, the guardian of the Decedent's daughter (on behalf of her daughter ) filed an opposition to the petitioner's and appellant's petition in February 2009. ...

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    • Unclean Hands Doctrine - Part II

      In Flowers v. Dancy, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling and central finding that Andre is prohibited from attacking the forged deed to McIntyre due to the unclean hands doctrine. ...

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    • Part III - Duties and Responsibilities of a Personal Representative

      Additional duties and responsibilities of the personal representative are as follows: Insurance. The California personal representative is required to obtain and maintain adequate insurance covering ...

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    • Part II - Duties and Responsibilities of a Personal Representative

      Additional duties and responsibilities of the personal representative include: Inventory the Estate Property. The personal representative must locate and take possession of all the decedent's property ...

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    • Duties and Responsibilities of a Personal Representative

      Upon the court's appointment, the personal representative becomes an officer of the court and takes on certain duties and responsibilities. These duties and responsibilities include: Managing the ...

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    • The Case of Boots The Cat

      I've seen a lot of odd decedent requests written into their wills, but the following will provision is one of the strangest I've recently read about. Georgia Dvorak of the Chicago area was a lover and ...

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    • Chihuahua Inherits Millions: How can this be?

      How can a dog be a millionaire? With the recent trend of pet trusts as part of the estate litigation process, some dogs have been able to "inherit" substantial wealth. The latest class of pet ...

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    • Part II - General Assignment Effectively Transfers Unintentionally Omitted Shares of Stocks to Trust

      To continue our blog on Kucker v. Kucker ((2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 90), Megan Kucker and Bonnie Alexander (trustees, plaintiffs and appellants, respondent) appealed the probate court's order denying ...

      Read More
    • General Assignment Effectively Transfers Unintentionally Omitted Shares of Stocks to Trust

      A general assignment of assets, as the name implies, transfers ownership of a wide variety of personal assets. This is typically used by estate planners to transfer all types of financial instruments ...

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    • The Michael Jackson Family Trust: setting up his children for life.

      Michael Jackson set up the Michael Jackson Family Trust which will leave his three children with a $33 million trust fund each - but they won't be able to completely access their money until they are ...

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    • What is the Purpose of a Power of Attorney?

      A Power of Attorney is a legal document which designates another individual to act on your behalf should you be unable to do so due to physical or mental incapacitation. A Power of Attorney can give a ...

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    • The Descendants: Lessons Learned I

      In the Academy Award nominated film, The Descendants, the main character played by George Clooney must deal with not only handling his personal family issues, but also must contend with several major ...

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    • Simple Advice for Durable Power of Attorney Agents

      So, you've found yourself named as the acting agent under general durable power of attorney. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you understand and carry out the duties required of you under this ...

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    • About Private Letter Rulings

      A Private Letter Ruling (PLR) is a written response by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to a taxpayer's request for information. A PLR can be used by a taxpayer for guidance on whether to take ...

      Read More
    • Where Are Probate Cases Filed?

      Starting in April 8, 2013, the Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) consolidated its probate divisions in an effort to save between $55 million and $85 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year. All probate ...

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    • Does all property go through probate?

      Not all property go through probate . Assets that are part of a person's "non-probate estate" can be distributed outside the probate process. Life insurance or retirement benefits such as IRA's ...

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    • How are fees for the personal representative and attorney determined?

      In California, the personal representative and the attorney for the personal representative are allowed to take a statutory fee for ordinary services. The fee is calculated as a percentage of the ...

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    • Part III - The Omitted Spouse

      The Estate of Will exemplifies one of the exceptions precluding a surviving spouse who was omitted from an existing testamentary instrument from receiving a share in his or her deceased spouse's ...

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    • Part II - Estate's Personal Representative Is Only Entitled to Collect Restitution Damages for Decedent's Pre-Death Economic Losses

      In the People v. Runyan, the trial court convicted Runyan of gross vehicular manslaughter and ordered him to pay Benge's (victim) estate restitution damages of approximately $450,000. Runyan appealed ...

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    • Property Not Subject to Probate

      The majority of people who do estate litigation seek to avoid probate. In fact, part of avoiding probate involves having a savvy estate plan. estates must go through probate. Additionally, probate is ...

      Read More
    • James Gandolfini in Death and Taxes

      As we mourn the loss of a great actor who moved us with his performance as Mafia boss Tony Soprano in "The Sopranos", we also take this opportunity to look at the tax ramifications of his estate ...

      Read More
    • Sales to Grantor Trusts

      Another estate litigation technique is an installment sale of income producing property to a grantor trust. A grantor trust, under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, is a trust that is not ...

      Read More
    • Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT)

      A gifting strategy that allows a couple to take advantage of the gift tax exemption while retaining access to the funds is the Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT). The SLAT is an irrevocable trust ...

      Read More
    • Sales to Grantor Trusts

      Another estate litigation technique is an installment sale of income producing property to a grantor trust. A grantor trust, under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, is a trust that is not ...

      Read More
    • About Private Letter Rulings

      A Private Letter Ruling (PLR) is a written response by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to a taxpayer's request for information. A PLR can be used by a taxpayer for guidance on whether to take ...

      Read More
    • When Do You Need A Trust Litigation Lawyer?

      Often in the waning years of people’s lives, they may become susceptible to fraud or abuse. Also, family issues can be difficult to work out, especially after you have all lost someone close to you. ...

      Read More
    • Part III - Trust's Arbitration Provision Does Not Compel Beneficiaries That Are not a Party To Such Agreement

      To continue our blog on Diaz v. Bukey (195 Cal.App.4 th 315 (2011)), Marie L. Bukey (trustee, defendant and appellant) appealed the trial court's decision denying the petition to compel arbitration. ...

      Read More
    • Trust's Arbitration Provision Does Not Compel Beneficiaries That Are not a Party To Such Agreement

      Arbitration is a resolution technique in which a dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator outside the court system; and wherein the parties to the dispute agree to be bound by the adjudicator's ...

      Read More
    • Part III - Trust's Arbitration Provision Does Not Compel Beneficiaries That Are not a Party To Such Agreement

      To continue our blog on Diaz v. Bukey (195 Cal.App.4 th 315 (2011)), Marie L. Bukey (trustee, defendant and appellant) appealed the trial court's decision denying the petition to compel arbitration. ...

      Read More
    • Trust's Arbitration Provision Does Not Compel Beneficiaries That Are not a Party To Such Agreement

      Arbitration is a resolution technique in which a dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator outside the court system; and wherein the parties to the dispute agree to be bound by the adjudicator's ...

      Read More
    • Part II - Estate Planning Attorney Disqualified from Representing A Client with Adverse Interests To Former Client

      To continue our blog on Fiduciary Trust International of California v. Superior Court, Betty Brown (decedent), changed her will after Willet's death. Instead of leaving the majority of Betty's assets ...

      Read More
    • When Do You Need A Trust Litigation Lawyer?

      Often in the waning years of people’s lives, they may become susceptible to fraud or abuse. Also, family issues can be difficult to work out, especially after you have all lost someone close to you. ...

      Read More
    • When Would I Need to Hire a Trust Litigation Attorney?

      One of the most common reasons to hire a trust litigation attorney is to have legal guidance and assistance with the administration of trust after the death of a loved one. Wills, trusts and the ...

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    • Trust's Arbitration Provision Does Not Compel Beneficiaries That Are not a Party To Such Agreement

      Arbitration is a resolution technique in which a dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator outside the court system; and wherein the parties to the dispute agree to be bound by the adjudicator's ...

      Read More
    • Part III - Trust's Arbitration Provision Does Not Compel Beneficiaries That Are not a Party To Such Agreement

      To continue our blog on Diaz v. Bukey (195 Cal.App.4 th 315 (2011)), Marie L. Bukey (trustee, defendant and appellant) appealed the trial court's decision denying the petition to compel arbitration. ...

      Read More
    • Trust's Arbitration Provision Does Not Compel Beneficiaries That Are not a Party To Such Agreement

      Arbitration is a resolution technique in which a dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator outside the court system; and wherein the parties to the dispute agree to be bound by the adjudicator's ...

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    • Part III - Filing of Petition within 120 Days Even if Notice was Not Served Does Not Time-Bar the Petition

      Continuing our blog on Straley v. Gamble; Steven Straley (decedent's son; plaintiff and appellant) appealed the trial court's ruling stating that Steven's petition was time-barred by Probate Code ...

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    • Talking Estate Plans with Your Loved Ones This Holiday Season

      Imagine a typical scene at your household during the holidays. It probably includes just about your entire family gathered around one table – two if you have young children in your family tree – ...

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    • Living Trusts

      A living trust or an inter vivos trust is an estate litigation tool that enables the creator of the trust to transfer assets to beneficiaries without going through probate . It is a written agreement ...

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    • Musician Lou Reed Leaves Estate to Wife and Sister

      American musician Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed, the front man for the 1960s band The Velvet Underground, left majority of his $15 million estate to his wife, Laurie Anderson. Reed, who underwent a liver ...

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    • Court Reverses Insurance Agent's Theft Conviction

      Glenn Neasham, an insurance agent by trade, sold an Allianz MasterDex 10 annuity to Fran Schuber, an 83-year old woman. The MasterDex 10 annuity was approved for sale by the California Department of ...

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    • In California, Beneficiary Can't Sue for Tort of Interference with an Expected Inheritance to Undermine a Will's No-Contest Clause

      There are instances when a will has been revised to change the distribution of assets amongst beneficiaries. Some of these wills may have a no-contest clause that would prevent anyone from contesting ...

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    • Part II - Relationship via Marriage Exempts Prohibitions against Gifts to Caregivers

      To continue our blog on Hernandez v. Kieferle, Claudine appealed the probate court's judgment invalidating the 2008 amendment and confirming the Hernandezes as Gertrude's successor trustees. Claudine ...

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    • No-Contest Clause

      A no-contest clause or an "in terrorem" clause is a provision in a testamentary instrument that is meant to discourage beneficiaries from disputing a will . This clause is typically used to threaten ...

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    • Part III - Contrary Substantial Evidence May Negate the Will Revocation Presumption

      We continue our blog on the Estate of Trikha, which is about a father who executed a will three weeks before committing suicide. Satish Trikha's will made provisions for all his children, including ...

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    • Contrary Substantial Evidence Can Negate the Will Revocation Presumption

      There is a presumption under Probate Code section 6124 that the testator (a person who makes a will ) destroyed the will with the intent to revoke it where the will was last in the testator's ...

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    • Talking Estate Plans with Your Loved Ones This Holiday Season

      Imagine a typical scene at your household during the holidays. It probably includes just about your entire family gathered around one table – two if you have young children in your family tree – ...

      Read More
    • Musician Lou Reed Leaves Estate to Wife and Sister

      American musician Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed, the front man for the 1960s band The Velvet Underground, left majority of his $15 million estate to his wife, Laurie Anderson. Reed, who underwent a liver ...

      Read More
    • No-Contest Clause

      A no-contest clause or an "in terrorem" clause is a provision in a testamentary instrument that is meant to discourage beneficiaries from disputing a will . This clause is typically used to threaten ...

      Read More