Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Family Law

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Talking to Relatives About Guardianship of a Child with Special Needs

In a recent Washington Post advice column, a reader asked columnist Carolyn Hax whether the reader should explain her decision to name one set of relatives as the guardians of her children to the relatives that she did not...more

Guarding against a Trust's Destruction by Merger

A trust is not a trust if the “trustee” alone holds legal title to the subject property and alone possesses the entire beneficial/equitable interest. Instead, he owns the subject property outright and free of trust, all...more

Who Can Benefit From International Estate Planning?

There are a number of common misconceptions regarding international estate planning and international tax law – and each year these misconceptions lead to families finding themselves facing tax problems, financial losses,...more

Avoiding the Pitfalls from Separation to Divorce and Beyond

Going through a legal separation or divorce is a very stressful, emotional and financially taxing period in anyone’s life. There are many pressing issues that take center stage in a divorce, especially if you have minor...more

Report From Counsel: Insights and Developments in the Law - Fall 2014

In this Report: - Homeowners’ Insurance: The Devil Resides in the Details - “Cybersmear” Lawsuits - Age Discrimination in Employment - The Marital Deduction: A Valuable Estate Planning...more

California Guardianship Law: The Best Interests of the Child

Many parents in California believe that if they name a guardian in their will, that person is without a doubt the one who will raise their children in the event of your untimely death or sudden accident. However, under...more

California Guardianship Law: The Difference Between Guardians & Trustees

Who will care for your minor children in case something happens to you and your partner? Who will helped them through their day, make sure they are safe and fed, and teach them to be good people and good citizens? Who will...more

California Estate Planning: How to Choose the Right Guardian

If something happens to you, what will happen to your children? Although it is painful to think about, planning for your children’s possible future without you is an act of love and show of responsibility. But although...more

International Estate Planning: The Importance of a Temporary Guardian

You may have spent considerable amounts of time choosing a guardian for your minor children in case something happens to you and your spouse – but have you taken the time to choose a temporary guardian as well as a permanent...more

Nominating Non-Resident Guardians for Your Children in California

In the event that you and your spouse could no longer take care of your minor children, who is best suited to do the job? For many first-generation families living in the United States, the best guardian for their children...more

California Guardianship: Choose an Alternate Guardian for Your Kids!

You’ve nominated the perfect guardian for your kids: your caring, secure, and stable parents, who love and know your kids well. But what happens if something goes wrong during the guardianship process? What if, for one reason...more

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

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