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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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Basic Estate Planning

I have heard clients say they don’t need estate planning because they don’t have an estate. This may be true.  A lot of people do not own real estate, do not have stocks and bonds, and maybe don’t even have a bank account. However, do you have a collection of small record albums you want […]

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Will AND Trust

Clients always ask which is right for them, a will or a trust.  In California the answer is generally BOTH! The centerpiece of an estate plan is one of three choices: 1) DO NOTHING – Use the state sponsored plan… if you dare!  The state plan generally distributes assets to next of kin and/or your […]

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The Basic Estate Plan

“No, I don’t need an estate plan, just a simple will….” Oh really!? I hear this a lot.  People think an “estate plan” is only for the rich people or an estate plan is going to cost too much.  Even the most basic documents, like a SIMPLE WILL, is part of an ESTATE PLAN. For […]

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Put it in writing

Did you know you can WRITE YOUR OWN WILL?  Yes, really.  Yes, it’s legally valid, at least in my state of California.  You want to write a will today? Let’s do it right NOW! 1) Go grab a nice pen and a piece of paper. 2) In YOUR OWN WRITING write something to show it […]

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Can You Change Your Will During a Divorce?

I am often contacted by people going through a divorce. They want to change their will and change it fast so that the evil-x (or soon to be ex) gets nothing… and I mean NOTHING! Often they have already filed or been served with the summons. They may have read it to find that they […]

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Lost Will in California

Innocently or not so innocently a lot of times the original will can not be found after death. Does that mean the estate plan will not be followed? It depends.  In many instances a photocopy will be honored as long as there is no proof of intent to revoke the will. Here are the most […]

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California Trusts and Wills

Wills v. trusts or is it trusts v. wills or is it really wills AND trusts!? I get into this discussion a lot with my clients.  Many people do not realize that in a proper California estate plan you will have BOTH a will AND a trust. You can read my more formal article on […]

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California Will Requirements

There are many issues relating to what’s a valid will in California. YES, it can be handwritten!  A formal will is typed, signed and TWO witnesses.  Be careful about documents that are in the middle; i.e. typed, signed and no witnesses or a notary.  You should not notarize a will. Just two witnesses not related to […]

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California Simple Wills

Generally simple wills are used only in the movies.  The family gathers around the lawyer’s conference room table and the lawyer “reads” the will, right!?  We have all seen it. The only un-true thing that happens more in movies, relating to someone dying, is they have a video of the person who died (as in the movie […]

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