Using a Trust to Protect Your IRA Account

Over the last couple decades, living trusts have become an increasingly popular alternative to wills. While wills have certain strengths that trusts don’t, such as the ability to name guardians for minor dependents, living trusts have some serious advantages. In case you aren’t familiar, a living trust a document which can be used to place […]

The Dangers of Living Trust Mills

We have written at length recently about the need to be wary of online estate planning services, as well as why it’s unwise to have a non-lawyer prepare your living trust. But perhaps one of the biggest dangers when it comes to having a living trust drafted, especially for the elderly, are living trust mills. […]

Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help Your Family Save Money

We’ve previously talked about how attempts to save money on estate planning by using online estate planning services or having a CPA draft your trust can actually cost you money in the long run. But these articles have overlooked an important fact: a good estate attorney won’t just avoid the costly mistakes made by non-professionals, […]

Can I have a Paralegal or CPA Draft My Trust?

Quite often, we have clients, friends, and people we meet on the street ask us, “Lawyers are kind of expensive. Is it okay to have someone who isn’t an attorney—like a paralegal—write up my living trust?” There’s a short answer and a long answer to this. The short answer is a rhetorical question: “Imagine you […]

How an Unmarried Couple Can Legally Split Real Property

According to the Pew Research Center, in 1960, approximately 59% of adults aged 18 to 29 years old were married. By 2010, this figure had dropped to 20%. Fewer adults are getting married, and the average age for first marriages has increased as well. Unmarried cohabitation has increased, but many of the state laws governing […]

The Problem with Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom & Other Online Estate Planning Services

Over the past decade or so, online do-it-yourself legal services such as LegalZoom, Nolo, and Rocket Lawyer have become extremely popular. On these sites, users can fill out a few forms and generate boilerplate legal documents for estate planning and a variety of other applications Such services have exerted a powerful draw on consumers for […]

Determining Capacity

In our society, when young men and women reach the age of 18, they are deemed as having attained the level of maturity necessary to be responsible for their own well-being, and thus make decisions for themselves. This is known as “competence,” or more accurately, “legal capacity.” Legal capacity means that someone has the mental […]

Using a Living Trust for Incapacity Planning

It’s common to consider the possibility of incapacity in the same terms as retirement—something far off in the distance, confined to old age. However, accidents and unexpected health crises can transform your life in an instant. If you were unable to control your affairs tomorrow, what would happen to you, your property, your home, and […]

How Trustees Can Avoid Posting a Probate Bond

In many instances, executors and trustees are required to obtain an executor bond or trustee bond before they can begin performing their duties. These bonds are known as probate bonds or surety bonds. These bonds essentially act as an insurance policy. If the executor or trustee doesn’t act in the best interests of beneficiaries—they’re neglectful, […]

Removing the Executor or Trustee of an Estate

In California, as in most states, executors and trustees have defined responsibilities that they must carry out. These duties generally include: Paying funeral costs Ensuring that the decedent’s wishes are carried out Possessions are inventoried Debts and taxes are paid Property is distributed to beneficiaries in a proper fashion In short, executors and trustees (from […]