Newsletter

What is the Difference Between Executor and Trustee?

Estate planning is an area of law that can be confusing for clients in that there are several terms which have a precise legal definition but which are interchangeable in the minds of many clients. I hope to make the distinctions clear in this newsletter. WHAT EXACTLY IS A TRUSTEE? Those readers who have created [..]

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Health Care Under HIPAA: Changes in Your Privacy Rights

California and federal laws provide for the confidentiality of a patient’s medical information. The general rule is that a patient’s medical information may not be disclosed without the patient’s express written consent.   However, there are at least two major statutory and regulatory provisions which affect the disclosure of confidential medical information and may prevent your [..]

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Estate Planning for Registered Domestic Partners

For those who are eligible, registration of Domestic Partners with the California Secretary of State may provide important benefits for you and your partner. To be eligible, you and your partner must meet the following criteria: You are 18 years old or older and a same sex couple or you are 62 years or older [..]

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Funding Living Trusts

If your estate plan includes the creation and establishment of a revocable living trust, your attorney probably informed you that your trust can only control the assets to which it has title. Trusts do not control assets held as joint tenants with right of survivorship, assets held in an individual’s name, or assets that are [..]

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Trustee Duties

A trust is any arrangement in which property (the trust estate) is transferred by someone (the settlor) for the benefit of a third person (the beneficiary). A revocable living trust is usually created by the settlor for his or her own benefit during his or her lifetime. Upon death of the settlor, the trust becomes [..]

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Community Property with a Twist

If you own your property as joint tenants with right of survivorship California law presumes you mean exactly that; even if the joint tenants are husband and wife. This means that married couples do not automatically receive the benefits of community property ownership upon the death of the first spouse, even for property that would [..]

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Trouble with Second Marriages

Many of my clients are couples in their second marriage. Sometimes they have children from a prior marriage. Sometimes, they have separate property as well as property they own with their spouses. I set forth in this newsletter general information that affects the estate plan for people in second marriages. In most cases, you should [..]

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Incapacity and Your Retirement Plans

During the planning of your estate, you probably signed Health Care Power of Attorney. The power of attorney should be made durable. This means that you want your named agent to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and unable to make such decisions for yourself. Without the word “durable” or reference to [..]

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Food for Thought on Your Retirement

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has adopted rules which allow each of us to set aside part of our wages in tax deferred accounts for our retirement. Once we start withdrawing from the retirement accounts, we will pay income tax on the amount withdrawn. We may also be charge “extra” taxes depending on how much [..]

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