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Grandma’s China

Grandma had the most amazing china. Her three adult grand-children continued to fight over who would get grandma’s china when she passed away. It wasn’t the house, the car or the money that her three grand-children bickered about, but rather the source of the commotion was Grandma’s fine china, routinely used to serve dinner on the most special of occasions. Unlike financial assets, which can generally be divided easily among your heirs, tangible personal property is unique. And the complications associated with distributing a lifetime’s [...]

Revocable Living Trusts in California

Revocable Living Trusts are used by individuals and couples in California to avoid having their estates subject to probate. In California, if your estate’s market value is over $150,000, it will most likely be subject to probate.  A Revocable Living Trust can help you avoid probate.   What is a Living Trust? Revocable Living Trusts allow you to retain full control over trust property while you are still alive. After your death, the property in the trust is transferred quickly to your beneficiaries without the [...]

Whitney Houston’s Death – Estate Planning Lessons

The death of pop star Whitney Houston should serve as a reminder to make sure that when you set up a revocable living trust you properly fund that trust; and that you update your estate planning documents every couple years. Whitney Houston’s sad story is an unfortunate, but educational example of what should be done with an estate plan. While it is too early to know all aspects of Whitney Houston's estate when she died, the six-time Grammy winner, who died February 11, 2012 at [...]

Capacity Requirements for Signing Estate Planning Docs

Proper execution of all estate planning documents requires the person signing have sufficient mental "capacity" to recognize and comprehend the implications of what they are doing. Most people speak of legal "capacity" or "competence" has something people either have or don’t have. But capacity can depend on many variables, including the person's capabilities and the task at hand for which capacity is required. When determining capacity to execute estate planning documents, it is important to look at the client's abilities, which may change from day [...]

Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes

As we are now in the second month of the New Year, how many of your resolutions have you kept?  Well, it’s not too late to keep that resolution to plan your estate or update your existing estate plan. Stop Procrastinating and Plan Now Canadian Olympic skier Sarah Burke was only 29 when she died tragically from injuries sustained in a skiing accident last month.  It’s a dim reality that accidents and serious medical conditions can affect any of us, at any time.  But being [...]

Estate Planning For Your Securities

Transfer on death registration lets you name someone to inherit your stocks, bonds or mutual funds in your brokerage account(s) without probate. It works very much like a payable on death bank account. You register your ownership either with your stockbroker or financial adviser and make a request to take ownership in what's called a “beneficiary form.” This form will show your ownership and will also show the name of your beneficiary. To be clear, after you have registered ownership this way, the beneficiary has [...]

Appointing A Guardian For Your Minor Children

A question that every parent contemplates in the wee hours of the night is “who will raise my children if I am gone?”  You can stop worrying if you provide for the guardianship of your children now. If you die leaving minor children and the other parent survives you, the other parent will most likely raise and support them.  If the other parent is not living, your minor children will require a guardian. A guardian is an individual who is appointed by the court to [...]

A Pour-Over Will

What is A Pour-Over Will? A pour-over will is a will used in connection with a trust.  A pour-over will is like any other will, except that the primary beneficiary is the testator's living trust.  The pour-over will transfers assets to the trust to ensure these assets will be subject to the distribution plan set up in the trust.  This kind of will “pours” any property the deceased owned at the time of his death that was not already accounted for in the trust into [...]

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