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Posts Tagged ‘probate’

Can an Incompetent Person Change Their Will? When Does Someone Lack the Capacity to Create or Change Their Will or Trust?

Last Will and Testament Litigation Case

We regularly litigate cases involving allegations that family members or other caregivers convinced an elder with dementia to change their will or trust in order to cut someone out or get a bigger share for themselves. A will or trust that has been changed can, however, often be reversed and assets can be recovered if you can show that the person should not have been allowed to make those changes. […]

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How Probate Litigation Can Defend Your Rights as a Beneficiary

Kevin J. Moore - probate litigation

One of the most responsible and loving gifts a parent or spouse can provide is an estate plan that clearly articulates the distribution of assets after their death. A solid estate plan can eliminate the probate process, protect wealth, minimize or eliminate taxes, and deliver financial security for generations to come. The wishes of the deceased are assessed, addressed through estate planning, often utilizing trusts. Without a plan, all assets and debts must […]

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Reading the Fine Print: Probate, Trusts and the Duties of a Trustee

If you own any form of assets, you’ve probably heard that you should avoid probate by putting your property in a trust. In cases where the value of an estate exceeds $150,000 — for smaller estates probate isn’t mandated — that is indeed sound advice, especially in California, where probate can be a lengthy and expensive process. But when it comes to trusts, I have often noticed that people expect […]

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The Most Overlooked Provision in Your Trust Documents

Signing documents

When creating an estate plan, tension often arises between carrying out the wishes of the person setting up the trust (aka the settlor) and the requirements of the law. The law often requires the settlor to make certain commitments in order to get tax and related benefits. That is why irrevocable trusts often make people nervous. The word “irrevocable” has finality to it, and raises the question, “Am I really […]

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Responsibilities and Potential Pitfalls: What Does an Executor Do?

A friend or a relative just passed away, and you find out that she named you as the executor for her estate. My guess is that you react with a mixed set of emotions. You’re grieving over the loss, feeling honored by the trust placed in you and nervous about taking on the assignment. Questions come up: What exactly does an executor do? How much time will you need to […]

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Tying Up the Loose Ends: Why a Pour-Over Will Is Useful

It’s been six years since Michael Jackson died, but his estate planning strategy still offers valuable lessons. I already talked about one lesson, the need to designate the right executor for your estate, in a previous post (“The Attics of Life”). Today, I want to look at a tool called pour-over will: How are these wills defined? Why are they useful? So back to Michael Jackson. When the King of […]

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Theft is Not an Issue: Keeping Your Estate Planning Documents Safe

The question seems trivial but it’s still an important one to ask: Once you’ve created an estate plan with a living trust, advance medical directives and power-of-attorney for health care and finances, where should you store the documents? In your home? At the bank? Well, your estate planning documents have no street value. This means that you don’t need to worry about theft and that a safe deposit box at […]

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Titles and Schedules: How to Fund a Living Trust Correctly

When Eric dies, his children learn that the most valuable parts of his estate, meaning a house, a brand new car and his bank account, will have to go through the lengthy and costly process of probate even though Eric had a living trust. Why the hold-up? Negligence. Eric created a trust but failed to fund it correctly. He simply hadn’t realized that he would have to retitle his property […]

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How to Title a Car to Avoid Probate: What You Should Know About TOD Registration in California

What will happen with your car when you die? Will it sit in some driveway for months, collecting dust and losing value while your estate goes through California probate? Not if you’re proactive, at least in California. As one of about a dozen legislatures countrywide, the Golden State allows residents to add a transfer on death (TOD) beneficiary to a vehicle’s title. After your death, this person will automatically own […]

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