The difference between a last will and testament and a living trust

Most of the time, when people do their estate planning, they do it because they want to make sure that distribution is done in the way that they wanted to be done after the pass away. For these purposes, there is really just one difference between a last will and testament and a revocable living trust: the first one has court supervision (probate) while the second one does not.
When families want…


Litigation of disputes is expensive. Try Mediation

Mediation is more dignified

If you leave your estate to your children and there is a dispute between the beneficiaries and whomever it is that you entrusted with their assets, the assets could easily go to attorneys, sometimes nearly all of it. The same is true and divorces, made worse in large part because the assets are of the living, who usually earned them, as opposed to the deceased.

I do not represent peo…


Is Community Property a Raw Deal for your Estate Planning?

I am going to say two things that are somewhat contradictory. As an Estate Planning Attorney, most of my married clients are completely fine with owning their property as community property and they plan based on their assets being community property. This has to do with culture and custom. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with adults owning their property however they wish. However I…


Why the Bypass Trust is not irrelavant in Estate Planning

Ever since the advent of “portability” in the US Tax code, the notion that a spouse can simply take her husband (or his wife’s estate) and not worry about the estate tax consequences that would have otherwise fixed through a bypass trust has been making the rounds constantly. It is a little irritating in that some people continue to see the purpose of Estate Planning as only Estate Tax…


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…


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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