Friday, February 5, 2016

Contesting a Will in California

Contesting a will takes place when someone believes that a will was not drawn up correctly or that the person didn’t mean to set it up the way that he or she did.  Contesting a will is not easy, but may sometimes be necessary to preserve the proper distribution of an estate. California law recognizes the following people as having standing to contest a will; “An heir, child, spouse, creditor, beneficiary, and any other person having a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent which may be affected by the proceeding.” The Code states the meaning of interested person may vary and will be determined according to the particular purpose of the proceeding and the particular matter involved. If you have standing, you may contest a will.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

What is Probate?

Probate in California is a court-supervised process that is used to oversee a person's legal and financial affairs after death, usually overseen by probate lawyers in California. Probate consists of gathering a deceased person's assets, proving the validity of the will, appraising the estate property, paying estate taxes and then distributing the property as directed by will or state law if there is no will.

Essentially this is the process of determining the rights and obligations of a person’s legal and financial matters after their death. Probate is the way to transfer assets, resolve debts and clear title so the decedent’s assets can go to the rightful heirs. Often, it is a complicated and time-consuming process.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Protect your Children with a Trust

When creating an estate plan, setting up a trust can be an integral part of the process. You can structure your trust so that money is set aside and made readily available for the beneficiaries when they hit a certain ages or milestones in their lives. Your trust can ensure that your loved get your inheritance according to your terms, with the least amount of difficulty along the way.  While there are many benefits of establishing a trust, here are a few common ones.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

How Much Does it Cost for an Estate Plan?

How much does it cost for an Estate Plan?

This can be a difficult question to answer because it depends. I can assure you it is better to seek legal counseling than simply going online to do it yourself. Sure, if you are looking to plug your name into a couple standard documents, you can do it online for free or very cheap yourself. Then you can wait and see what happens. However without the guidance of an attorney there may be mistakes that end up costing your heirs a LOT more than what you saved on legal fees initially.  Do you really want your last thoughts to be, “I hope this works?”

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Pet Trusts for your Best Friend

They are there for you every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep. They unconditionally love you and light up every time you walk into a room or arrive home from a long day. They are always there to comfort you and have a way of cheering you up when you are down. They bring you so much joy and love. Yes, its your beloved pet.

Legally speaking, your pets are personal property.  But when you pass, your fuzzy companion should be treated differently than the artwork on your walls or the dining room table your daughter has been eyeing. You should take the time to spell out who will be responsible for your best friend because any pet, big or small, is a lot of work, and will need extra love to deal with the transition of life without you.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

An Estate Planning Attorney for Cinderella

You might be familiar with the story of Cinderella, but we often forget the backstory. It starts with disaster, specifically, an estate planning disaster in a world that does not worry about the estate tax or probate, or even lawyers. What a magical place, indeed!

Even though Cinderella ended up getting her happily ever after, thanks to her fairy godmother and the marriage to her prince, the injustice she endured in the process could have been easily avoided with a simple estate plan. We live in the real world and must prepare for the worst because fairy godmothers and princes are few and far between. 

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