Pro and Cons of a Durable Power of Attorney

175660493Every estate plan should consider potential incapacity. In California, one of the primary vehicles used to plan for an individual’s incapacity is a durable power of attorney for financial management (DPOA) (the other is an advance health care directive for health care decisions, see Being Prepared Is Ageless: Everyone Should Have an Advanced Health Care Directive). Let’s look at the pros and cons of using a DPOA.

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When to Get a Neuropsychologist on the Case

149463035When there are issues involving your client’s capacity or the existence of undue influence, you may want to get a neuropsychologist on the case to perform assessments and/or act as an expert witness. Continue reading

$50 Fee for Lodging Wills May Be Double Trouble for Executors

2013-07-catastrophe-122552905Ever since the graduated probate fee was declared unconstitutional in Estate of Claeyssens (2008) 161 CA4th 465, the legislature has been nickel-and-diming estate planners and their clients with filing fees. Now we have to deal with multiple fees for lodging wills, which used to be free. Continue reading

Portability—Game Changer for Estate Planning or More of the Same?

148037463Estate planners are taking a second look at portability—the use of a deceased spouse’s lifetime exclusion by the surviving spouse—now that the law on this subject has been made permanent. Continue reading

Catastrophe or Choice: Actor’s Estate Plan Comes Under Scrutiny

2013-07-catastrophe-122552905The estate plan of deceased actor James Gandolfini has been labeled a “disaster,” a “catastrophe,” and “a nightmare from a tax standpoint.” But was it, in fact, a costly mistake, or was it simply a considered choice?  Continue reading

Codicil vs. New Will

will_122397917A will may not be the final word on what your client wants to happen on death. Things change, and it may be necessary to add or delete something (or someone) from a will. But when you want to make a change, should you do it with a codicil, or do you need a whole new will? Continue reading

Should You Go with a Living Trust?

trust_135789295Is a revocable trust—sometimes called “a living trust”—right for you or your client? Continue reading

No Means No for Successor Trustee of Special Needs Trust With No-Compensation Clause

trustee_99933680A trustee is entitled to compensation for services as provided in the trust instrument when the trust “provides for a trustee’s compensation” (Prob C §15680(a)), or “reasonable compensation” when the trust instrument “does not specify the trustee’s compensation” (Prob C §15681). But what if the trust provides for no compensation? In that case, the trustee is out of luck. Continue reading

10 Steps for Developing and Implementing an Estate Plan, Part II

There is no ideal way to handle new estate planning engagements, and it’s important for an attorney to develop his or her own procedure. But there are common procedures taken by many experienced attorneys from which to learn. The first 5 steps in 10 Steps for Developing and Implementing an Estate Plan, Part I set the stage for an estate plan; these final steps take you through the process of putting the plan into place.  Continue reading

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