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 […]

Legal Responsibilities After the Death of a Family Member

Losing a loved one is an incredibly emotionally challenging time. In the days and weeks that follow, you will feel devastated, lost, and confused. But what is often overlooked during this time is the large number of legal obligations that family members must begin to fulfill within days of a family member’s death. If you […]

Special Needs Trusts for Disabled Children

Recent studies indicate that about 5.2% of American children between the age of 5 and 17 have some sort of disability, a total of about 2.8 million children. While some children will–with the aid of special education programs during childhood and early adulthood–be able to live independent lives, many will always need some degree of […]

Contesting a Will or Trust

The purpose of creating a will or trust is to ensure that a person’s desires are carried out after they die. This is the whole point of such legal documents. Given this fact, it’s understandable that many people may feel a great deal of discomfort at the idea of putting their heart and soul into […]

You Can Now Transfer a Home Without a Trust or Probate

After sailing through the California Assembly and Senate with votes of 78-0 and 40-0, respectively, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 139, a law that went into effect on January 1st of this year. AB 139 allows people who own homes—as well as multi-family investment properties with up to four units—to transfer their properties without having […]

Non-Probate Transfers

When someone passes on and only leaves a will behind (or fails to even do that), probate is the process through which the court system supervises the distribution of the deceased’s property to their beneficiaries and debtors. Probate can be a very costly and time-consuming process, which is why it usually advisable to avoid it […]

Identifying Elder Financial Abuse & What To Do

Many people wind up in difficult financial situations, wherein they rely upon parents or other older relatives who are only too happy to help in any way they can. But there is a point at which getting help crosses a line, and becomes a situation in which an elder relative is being taken advantage of. […]