Trust or Will?

Should I choose a trust as the means of passing assets to my heirs? Should I use a will as the means to pass assets to my heirs? There are various factors involved in making this decision. Therefore, you should have proper legal advice from an experienced trusts and estates lawyer when making this decision. […]

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Representation

Tom is a very wealthy man. For years, he struggled at his job working as a clerk in a hardware store in the Bay Area. The hours were long and the pay was low. His personal life also had its struggles. Margie, his first wife, was upset about their financial situation and Tom’s inability to […]

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Residue

Often, an estate has a residual part wherein assets of the decedent are not specified. For instance, a will can direct that a specific amount or a specific item or property should be bequeathed upon that person’s death. If there are assets that are not specified in the will, then those assets are referred to […]

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Contesting a Will

Imagine the following common scenario: An elderly person is having difficulty taking care of himself. To help with daily needs, the person requests that his daughter comes by daily to provide help with basic necessities. The daughter may be helping him get dressed, go for a walk, go to doctor’s appointments, go shopping etc. After […]

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Harmless Error

Section 2-502 of the California Probate Code provides that a will must be signed by the testator or signed by someone else in the testator’s presence. In addition, two other people must sign the will as witnesses. In the past, California Probate Courts applied a strict reading of this rule wherein a will that did […]

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Wills and Divorces

Tom is a wealthy tech executive living in the Bay area. He is in his mid 60s and recently married his fifth wife, a woman named Kate whom he met while he was on a cruise and she was working as a barista. After getting to know each other on the boat, they started dating […]

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Undue Influence

A common scenario is one in which an elderly parent passes and leaves a will that strongly favors one child over another child. In theory, a person can draft a will in any way that he or she chooses, which includes strongly favoring one child or one grandchild over another. In reality, when a will […]

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Revoking a Will

Consider the following scenario: A man goes to his lawyer’s office and tells the lawyer that the man would like to draft a will. The lawyer provides the man with a questionnaire and requests that the man go home and meet again in a few days with the questionnaire fully filled out. The man returns […]

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Wills and the Constitution

Within the California Probate Code are several rules about drafting wills, creating trusts, executing wills, attestation etc. There are, however, conflicts with respect to other laws that are not specifically addressed by the California Probate Code. Suppose that inheriting via a will requires that the decedent give up some right in order to inherit. Does […]

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Substantial Compliance

David was in his late 60s. recently, his health had turned for the worse. While he worked hard at his construction business and was very successful, he also made time to exercise regularly in the California sun. Therefore, his failing health was a shock to the family. It seemed that he only had months to […]

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