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Probate
The answer is Yes, absolutely. Our firm represents Administrators and Executors who live outside of California all the time. Our Estate Administrators (also called Executors) live all over the country in fact – Pennsylvania, Florida, Oregon, New Jersey, New York, Indiana, and so forth. Many of them also don’t have the time to travel to...
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When a loved one passes away, it can be devastating and often overwhelming. If the person lived in California and had no estate planning documents, family members often feel lost as to how to proceed when it comes to handling the loved one’s assets. There are seemingly endless items that need to be dealt with...
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If you have a relative who has passed away without a trust in California, you will likely need to go through Probate in order to gain access to his or her assets. Before you attempt to file a Petition for Probate, you’ll want to know a few key tips about how the courts work in...
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Chadwick Boseman was a star beloved by many, and his tragic death at the age of 43 has been mourned around the world. Sadly, he battled colon cancer for nearly four years before eventually succumbing to it. During this time, Boseman performed in the role that would catapult his celebrity status to ultra famous –...
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One question we frequently get from prospective clients is “Can I be the Administrator in a California Probate even if I live out of state?” The answer is Yes, you can. And it’s actually not as difficult as one might think. Our firm frequently represents out of state Administrators in California Probate Matters. In this...
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In the time of quarantine and shelter in place, Courts around the San Francisco Bay Area are working quickly to put together plans for how to handle pending cases. Contra Costa County has outlined its Emergency Local Rules, just as San Francisco Probate Court has also done. But what is Alameda County doing? For a...
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-by Mark Miyasaki, Esq. In civil litigation, it should come as no surprise that the most common types of cases involve personal injury matters. Car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, defamation, a wrongful death. The list goes on.   What happens less often but may nevertheless find its way into a personal injury matter...
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Allegations of “gross mismanagement” by Ms. Franklin’s niece and her attorney were heard in the Michigan Courts this week. Allegations include excessive legal and Administrator fees, improper management of high value assets, failure to properly account for estate funds, and lack of communication with the heirs and beneficiaries. Because this is Aretha Franklin’s estate, “excessive...
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Aretha Franklin was no doubt one of the greatest singers of our time. With her vast estate back in probate court last week, I wanted to take the chance to talk about some of the issues that have arisen thus far. I’ll address each in turn in terms of how they work in California probate...
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The New York Times just published a question and answer in its “Social Q’s” section regarding the legal validity of an unsigned Will. Another recent article referenced a Will written in a draft text message. Naturally the text also remained unsigned. The text message was approved as a valid will by an Australian court. In...
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What is a no-contest clause and why is it added to a will or trust? In Latin it is known as an “in terrorem” clause, which means that the clause is inserted as a threat or warning to those beneficiaries of a will or trust who would seek to challenge the estate plan after death....
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If your spouse passed away in California without a Trust, you may think you’ll need to go through probate. However, in many cases, the surviving spouse does not need to probate the estate of their loved one to gain access to his or her assets. Instead, you may only need to file a Spousal Property...
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When a person dies who does not have a will the probate court must manage his or her estate. Without making a will the person is said to have died “intestate”.  Simply put, the court, according to the laws of each particular state, decides who shall receive outright your personal belongings and money. But there...
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When Prince died without leaving a will his estate became subject to the requirements of the probate court.  One of the first things the probate court asks for is an inventory of one’s assets. The value of an estate has to be established, and this is done by having a professional appraiser (called a probate referee)...
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Caregivers cannot accept gifts from elders without being at risk for committing financial elder abuse.  If an older adult chooses to gift an estate or substantial sum of money to their caregiver, California Probate Code requires that the drafter (usually the lawyer) obtain a Certificate of Independent Review from an independent attorney. This means the lawyer...
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As many Star Trek fans may already know, 27 year old actor Anton Yelchin, known as “ Chekov” to fans, died in a freak car accident on June 19th when he was crushed by his Jeep Cherokee in the driveway of his Studio City home. Last Friday, Court records revealed he had no will or...
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Modernizing California Probate Code to Reflect Marriage Equality While attorneys are familiar with the terms “probate code” and “civil code,” most people are not. The probate code in California governs everything related to probate, including trusts and estates and elder law.  As you can imagine, much of probate law makes reference to married couples. As...
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What do you do if you inherit a home in the SF Bay area that is not titled in the name of a trust? By now, you are most likely aware that in order to transfer the title of the home’s deed, the property will have to go through probate. With real estate values at...
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Who inherits your Investment Accounts if you die? Who gets your IRA? If you can’t recall, it’s worth double checking to make sure your designated beneficiary is someone you actually want to receive your money. If you have either separated from a spouse, or they have passed, this is particularly important. When correct, beneficiary designations...
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You may have heard the term “Probate,” but no be clear on what exactly it means. Many people feel frightened by the possibility of probate, which has often been cited as a selling point for why one needs an estate plan. While there are many advantages to having an estate plan, probate is not something...
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On September 23rd, Governor Brown signed AB 139, a bill introduced by assemblyman Mike Gatto. The bill will effectively transform the probate system in California by creating a “Revocable Transfer on Death Deed.” This deed allows Californians to sign a document that transfers real property to another individual upon their death. “Real property assets” refer...
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Celebrity author Tom Clancy was widely known for his bestselling novels, which include popular titles such as “Patriot Games,” “The Hunt for Red October,”  and “Clear and Present Danger.” Unfortunately, his skills in crafting and meticulously planning espionage tales did not transfer over when it came to planning his Estate. When Clancy passed away in 2013, his...
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Undue Influence is a term often heard in the Elder Law field. For those not up on their legal jargon, “undue influence” essentially means one person taking advantage of another, typically for financial gain. When it comes to trust and estate litigation (or probate law), California defines undue influence as “excessive persuasion that causes another...
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An Estate Plan may have been on your “to do” list for some time. You are not alone. Most of the couples I talk to in the San Francisco East Bay area have not yet done their estate plan. It’s one of those things that just keeps getting pushed off to a time when you...
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This story is an example of what can happen in a worst case scenario probate. Probate is a court process by which an estate (funds and real property) is distributed when a person dies. Probate only occurs if an estate plan has not been set up. Under California law, this means a person’s assets exceed...
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When you hear the word “estate” you might think of vast gardens, lush green lawns, and a giant house in the center. But the truth is, if you own even the smallest of houses in the San Francisco Bay Area, you have an estate. California requires a Court process called a Probate if your estate...
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Often times, elder people want their adult children to assist them in the paying of their bills.  This tends to be in situations where the elderly person has enough capacity to express their desire for help, but not enough capacity to manage complicated finances.  There are three main ways that the children can help take...
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Dealing with the passing of a loved one can be very difficult.  It is sometimes challenging during this emotional time to determine whether a Probate proceeding is necessary.  The Probate process is designed to collect assets and distribute them pursuant to a Will.  The Probate process in the Courts is long and can be expensive.  Many...
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