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Is a trust better than a will?

This is the most common question for estate planning attorneys. Most of us will say each client is different and you need to decide what’s right for you after you learn about each. This is true.  Some will say a will is always better which is likely true only for the attorney who wants to […]

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Minute Orders

Not sure where the name derives but most Courts issue “minute orders” after the hearing. This is a written document that states who was in Court (i.e. which attorneys) and what the Judge ordered. It is not the actual Court Order as that document would need to be signed by a Judge. A minute order […]

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Sign your estate plan

Every few months I go through my active files and send letters to the people that have been procrastinating about getting their estate plan done. I remind them that: AN UNSIGNED ESTATE PLAN PROVIDES NO PROTECTION! This is really true though. Your chosen guardian for your minor children is ineffective and you could be exposing […]

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Is an under $150,000 probate petition always better?

There are many different probate options. Knowing which is right for YOUR CASE depends on the facts of YOUR CASE.  There is not a simple rule. There is no one size fits all.  Each case is unique.  For example, let’s say you have a piece of real property worth about $135,000 in Sacramento. That is […]

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Estate Planning Seminar

I am heading out this morning for a high level estate planning seminar at McGeorge Law School. Some of the biggest estate planning lecturers in the country will be coming to Sacramento to educate us. We will be learning about asset protection, the latest tax laws, and more. All attorneys in California have requirements for […]

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Probate is not a 4 letter word

The word probate is seen as a bad word. It’s something to be avoided. It’s awful. It’s a tax. It’s this and it’s that.  It is what it is… a necessary process for those that didn’t do better planning before death. That’s all. It’s not the end of the world. It’s an unnecessary cost. Yes […]

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Estate Planning for the New Year

I know people have a new year’s resolution of getting their California estate plan done.  Let’s put a big CHECK next to that one! Contact your California Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate law. If your attorney is not a Certified Specialist you might think about finding one. Get your revocable living trust, […]

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Personal Property Distribution After Death

When you do an estate plan you often think of your house, your stocks, your bonds, your timeshare, your IRA, but what about your jewelry, your family photos, your furniture, and all of that?  In my experience these are the things that cause problems after death!  Make sure you identify this in your estate plan. […]

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Calendar Notes

Calendar notes or probate notes or tentative rulings or whatever else they may be called are the Court’s preliminary findings after reviewing a filed probate petition.  They sometimes are easy to read and sometimes require interpretation.  An experienced California probate attorney can handle it! Each Court has different procedures but most Courts now post notes […]

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Testamentary Trusts Happen AFTER Probate

I was recently introduced to new clients who told me they had a “will-trust.”  I assumed they had both a will AND a trust because that is the norm for estate planning in California. That is, a “pour over will” and a revocable or “living” trust.  However, that is not what they had. As they […]

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