What should I do before I file for divorce? What estate planning changes should I make? Can I revoke our family trust? Do I need permission from my wife to change beneficiaries? Can I make a new will without my husband? These are questions I hear from clients referred to me by family law attorneys. There are things that you can do before you file for divorce, and there are (fewer) things you can do during the divorce. Filing for dissolution in California places on you automatic temporary restraining orders (ATROs). These restrict changes you can make to your… read more →
The trust document covers only things that are put into the trust. The will covers anything that is not in trust, and not in a designated-beneficiary account like life insurance or retirement accounts.
A Living Estate is what we own while we are alive. All of those things that go into your financial junk drawer: your cash, real property, vehicles, jewelery, 401K accounts, etc., are part of your living estate.
Sometimes people ask me, “Why should I get a will?” Here are some answers to common questions about that most basic estate planning document, the last will and testament.
It’s very important that non-married persons, either same-sex or opposite-sex couples, do basic estate planning! Here is a question recently posed by someone who was promised the world but left with nothing, along with my answer: Question: If I share a home with my partner for over 20 years, and helped pay for upkeep and expenses, am I entitled to the property when he dies? We live in California and never married, but he told me, friends, and family that he was leaving me the house. We moved in together when it was new over 20 years ago. He never… read more →
Let’s say wife (W) has a child from a previous marriage, and the marries husband (H). W and H want to create a new living trust. This situation is quite common these days, with multiple marriages and blended families. Luckily there are ways to address the competing interests of the spouses. We will establish either a QTIP or Credit Shelter Trust, preferably with a 3rd party trustee not subject to H’s influence, into which the deceased settlor’s property will flow on his or her death. You can give a power of appointment over the survivor’s trust (the “A” trust) while… read more →
The Associated Press recently ran an article by Rodrique Ngowi about a charitable trust fight in Massachusetts. It seems that a gentleman in the 17th Century donated his property for the benefit of local schoolchildren. Homes were built on the property and the rents, generally, went to local schools. This appears to have worked well for 351 years. Recently there have been allegations of mismanagement, lawsuits, etc., and the trustees want to sell off the land to the renters as a settlement. This would change a trust which held real property to a trust which holds cash that can be invested. Here’s… read more →
According to Consumer Reports, as many as 56% of Americans don’t have a will. Among the notables who died either without a valid will or no will at all are Ross Alexander, Fatty Arbuckle, Anura Bandaranaike, Madhav Prasad Birla, Sonny Bono, George Brent, Lenny Bruce, Jacob A. Cantor, Kurt Cobain, Russ Columbo, Sam Cooke, James Dean, Sandy Dennis, John Denver, Divine, Duke Ellington, Cass Elliot, Chris Farley, Bobby Fischer, Redd Foxx, Mary Frann, James A. Garfield, Marvin Gaye, Ulysses S. Grant, Billie Holiday, Buddy Holly, Shemp Howard, Howard Hughes, Andrew Johnson, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ernie Kovacs, Harry… read more →
Kudos to the late Amy Winehouse, who made a new will after her divorce, thus preventing her jailed ex-husband (who reportedly was the one who introduced her to hard drugs) from inheriting her $30M estate. Her parents and brother will apparently inherit under the most recent will. Amy’s music was beautiful, and with this money and the rights to her unpublished work, her family should be able to release more material for us to hear. http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/07/26/amy-winehouses-will-singer-songwriter-played-it-smart/
San Diego-based estate planning lawyer Daniel Printz tells us the myriad of things to be aware of when drawing up a Will, especially in the areas of child guardianship and business succession.