Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Family Law

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California Guardianship Law: Transferring Assets to a Non-Resident Guardian

California guardianship law can be confusing and complex, and guardianship issues that involve a non-resident guardian can be even more complicated. If you have nominated a guardian who does not live in the United States, you...more

Choosing a Foreign Guardian in California? Three Vital Clauses for Your Will

In our last blog post, we discussed the five clauses that every parent should include in their will to ensure that their children are raised safely and correctly – and by the friend or family member of your choice. In this...more

International Estate Planning Decisions: Create a QDOT or Get Citizenship?

If you are married to a non-U.S. Citizen, estate planning in California is going to be more complex for you than it is for other couples, especially if you have a significant amount of property and assets. However, you do...more

One Big Issue That Can Endanger Your Child’s Special Needs Trust

One of the major reasons to create and fund a special needs trust for your disabled child is so that your child can still receive means-tested government benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and...more

Special Needs Trusts: Writing a Letter of Intent

A special needs trust is vital if you are the parent or caretaker of a child (or adult child) with mental or physical disabilities. A trust can make certain that your child is cared for properly, that they have enough...more

How to Avoid Estate Taxes if You Have a Non-Citizen Spouse

In our last blog post, we discussed estate taxes, federal gift taxes, and how non-citizen spouses are treated differently in the eyes of the law. Unfortunately, while husbands and wives can leave an unlimited amount of money...more

The Marital Deduction: A Valuable Estate Planning Tool

The federal estate tax marital deduction is one of the most important estate planning tools available to a married couple. The basic marital deduction rule is that, upon the death of the first spouse, the value of any...more

The Unlimited Marital Deduction & Non-Citizen Spouses

Especially if you have significant wealth, planning carefully for your future and the future of your loved ones is vital. Although many people are familiar with the basics of estate planning, from drawing up a will to naming...more

Is a human corpse property that can be made the subject of a trust?

While a pet may be put into a trust, its human owner may not be. Nor under traditional principles of property and trust law may the corpse of a deceased human being be made the subject of a trust. Charles E. Rounds, Jr.,...more

Appellate Court Notes

?AC35507 - State v. Wright - ?AC35289, AC36395 - Southport Congregational Church-United Church of Christ v. Hadley - The doctrine of equitable conversion did not apply when the decedent contracted to sell real...more

Video Clip: Family Wants Access to Son’s Digital Data After Death

Minnesota’s KMSP-TV Fox 9 News ran a video story on September 9, 2014, by Ted Haller about a family wanting access to their deceased nineteen-year-old son’s digital data. They have been seeking access to his text messages,...more

September 2014 Estate Planning Update: When to Review and Update Your Estate Plan

Have you recently married or gotten divorced? A change in marital status definitely warrants another look at your estate plan. If a person gets married and fails to update their estate plan, it can result in the new spouse...more

If You Die Intestate (Without A Last Will And Testament), Will Your Same-Sex Spouse Be Considered A “Spouse” For Purposes Of...

Yes. One of the effects of the Whitewood decision is that same-sex spouses are considered a “spouse” for purposes of Pennsylvania’s intestate succession process. A person domiciled in Pennsylvania who dies without a will is...more

Unintended consequences: After divorce, review your estate plan to avoid surprises

The recently divorced have likely had their fill of legal documents and proceedings, but it’s important that they review their estate plan as soon as possible to ensure they’re protected against unintended consequences. This...more

Insight on Estate Planning - August/September 2014

In This Issue: - Unintended consequences: After divorce, review your estate plan to avoid surprises - Protecting your real estate assets - How will the GST tax affect your estate plan? - Estate...more

Designating Your Same-Sex Spouse as the Sole Beneficiary in Your Will

Estate planning can be a very stressful time for all married couples, especially when children and other relatives need to be considered. However, under normal circumstances, one need not be overly concerned with the...more

CFPB Clarifies Heirs, Divorcees and Estate Planning Transferees Are Not Subject to Ability-to-Repay Rules

The CFPB issued an interpretive rule to clarify that when a borrower dies, the name of the borrower’s heir generally may be added to the mortgage without triggering the Bureau’s Ability-to-Repay rule. This clarification will...more

Spotlight on Mississippi: Domestic Asset Protection Trust Legislation

Mississippi recently became the 16th state to pass legislation permitting the creation of domestic asset protection trusts. The new law was effective July 1, 2014. Under the new Mississippi Act, a domestic asset...more

Colorado Court Leaves Valuation Question Unanswered When Valuing GRAT Appreciation

On March 20, 2014, the Colorado Court of Appeals, in Malias v. Malias, upheld the trial court’s determination that grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) remainder interests were “property interests” for property division...more

Control Is Everything

In Private Letter Ruling 201423043, (“PLRs” only apply to the taxpayer involved but are often used as “guidance”, and not “precedent”, by taxpayers and the IRS.) the IRS ruled that a surviving spouse could roll over her...more

Does the settlor of a trust have standing to seek its enforcement in the courts?

As a general rule, any beneficiary of a trust would have standing to seek its enforcement in the courts. The Restatement (Third) of Trusts is sending mixed signals as to whether the settlor of a trust, qua settlor, would have...more

Your dead ex-spouse's debt can become your problem

This CNN Money Article features quotes by Kirton McConkie attorney Geoff Germane. If you're divorced and your ex-spouse dies, you might find yourself dealing with a range of emotions. You might be surprised to learn...more

Lift of Prohibition on Same-Sex Marriages in Pennsylvania Provides New Estate Planning Opportunities

On May 20, 2014, in the case of Whitewood v. Wolf, Judge John E. Jones III of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages. Like many of the rulings...more

Gift tax Consequences of Real Estate Transfers

Often times, one partner in a same-sex couple owns real property and seeks to add the other partner to the title or deed for no consideration (i.e. when no money or other type of payment is received in return). Though this...more

June 2014 Estate Planning Update: Short-term Guardians for Minor Children

Nevada law (NRS 159.205) allows parents to appoint short-term guardians for their minor child(ren) without the approval of the court so long as the parent has legal custody. The short-term guardianship can last for up to six...more

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