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De-clutter your estate planning

The nature of wealth is that it can be complicated or simple. Wealth that is sitting in a bank account or a brokerage account is different from farmland, which is in turn different from oil and gas leases or business assets.

It is one thing to have estate planning documents done, getting a buy-sell agreement or other kinds of arrangements, and it is another to plan to simplify the assets held…

Registered Domestic Partners and Estate Planning

California has a provision in the Family Code for “Registered Domestic Partners.” While this status is fairly easy to obtain, most couples that live together do not have this.   There is a procedure with the California Secretary of State for becoming a Registered Domestic Partner, so you actually have to register, which would seem obvious.    Another thing about this status is that it is…

The Gift Tax exemption and Estate Planning

Estate planning, particularly as it comes to taxable estates (in the states about the estate tax exemption amount for a given year) involves 2 things, these variables can be immensely complex.  The 1st is utilizing the actions that are available in the past and the 2nd is the time value of money. The concept of the gift tax is important to understand for anybody who is going to do advanced…

Problematic Estate rights of parents who walk away

In past estate cases, the parent of a child who simply abandoned the child at a young age had exactly the same inheritance rights in “intestacy” (this is an estate proceeding where the person who dies did not leave a will) as any other parent.

California has recently added probate code §6452 that changes this. Not all parents are created equal anymore in California. Parents who have their…

Undue Influence now has a definition

Undue influence is a common issue though the law around Estate Litigation (including Probate and Trust Litigation) is often changing. Sometimes the most important things are not just the laws themselves, but the meaning of words that are in the law. Definitions mean a whole lot.

In general, people have testamentary freedom. They can leave a will or a living trust and give to whomever they…

What is your Estate Planning Intent

In Estate Litigation cases, the issues often come down to what the intent of the decedent was. The problem is often that this “intent” is unclear and then left to family members who may have selective or self-serving recollections of what the actual intent was.

Keep in mind though, even if the intent was crystal clear, certain actions can result in undermining that intent and the actua…

What about surrogacy and Estate Planning?

How does surrogacy fit into Estate planning?

The New York Times has an interesting article about how the United States has become a marketplace for foreigners who are looking for women willing to be pregnant for 9 months with a child that will not be their own. Interestingly enough, this is illegal almost everywhere but the fact that it is legal in the United States makes it legal (sort of)…

Can a bad Trustee go to jail?

In an estate dispute, if a trustee does what he or she is not supposed to do, and the trustee go to jail? In a recent reply to this question on another website, the answer is “it depends.” However, a more direct answer in my view would be yes, absolutely. Given the right circumstances (which would apply no matter who is being thrown in jail).

Sometimes, people do not listen to judges or follow…

IRAs: No exemption for you!

Your nest egg is not for your children, unless you plan that way

A significant development from the United States Supreme Court on individual retirement accounts (IRAs)- not exactly the same IRA you are working hard to save your nest egg in, but rather that same account when it transfers over to children and other heirs.

Essentially, while those assets may be exempt from bankruptcy for the original account owner, they are not exempt for heirs.

We need to…

A law practice cannot hire a non-lawyer CEO, but a ninja is ok

There is some interesting ethics related news today. In Texas, and this is sure to be true in other states as well, law firms cannot hire business executives and give them titles like “Chief Executive Officer,” “chief technology officer” or I suppose she much of anything. Traditionally, “office manager” is about the highest-rank a nonlawyer can obtain a law office. I suppose the word “chief”…

Ahmed Shaikh, Attorney at Law, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout Orange County, Los Angeles County and Riverside County in Southern California, including Tustin, Irvine, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Fullerton, Brea, Yorba Linda, Placentia, Westminster, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Lake Forest, San Clemente, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano and Buena Park.

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