Using Fiduciary Accountings as a Client Management Tool

178406759When representing a fiduciary such as a conservator or personal representative, you’re often dealing with a lay person who may be feeling overwhelmed by unfamiliar responsibilities. One way to bring the situation under control is to use the fiduciary accounting as a client management tool. Here’s how. Continue reading

Trust Property for Cats Sold to Pay for Settlor’s Care

178110810What if the dead hand is still living? A recent trust case prompts the macabre metaphor. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: Agnieszka Adams

AgnieszkaAdamsAs part of CEB’s commitment to bringing together California’s legal community, here’s a short interview with one of your fellow attorneys, Agnieszka Adams:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Agnieszka: I practice exclusively in the area of trusts and estates. My practice includes estate planning, probate, and trust administration. Our firm doesn’t, however, represent clients in trust and estate litigation matters. My interest in this field started in law school. I chose a tax concentration while at UC Hastings (I knew I wasn’t going to be a litigator). When I began practice, I was fortunate to work at a full service law firm where I was given the opportunity to explore various practice groups. I quickly realized that trusts and estates was the area in which I wanted to specialize.

CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law? Continue reading

Nine Fiduciary Accounting No Nos

GettyImages_178895760When you’re a fiduciary under California’s Probate Code, such as a guardian or conservator, you’ll be required to prepare some type of fiduciary accounting for the court. You’ll probably hire an accountant to crunch the numbers, but ultimately you’re the one responsible for its contents, and you should know the common mistakes and problems that arise in fiduciary accountings. Continue reading

Capacity at Issue? Consider Making a Video

Video_135848805When you’re preparing a will or trust for someone for whom capacity might later be raised as an issue, you have a potentially powerful tool that can help avoid later disputes: video. There’s nothing like a judge seeing a competent person discussing the disposition of his or her estate to knock the wind out of claims of incapacity. Continue reading

New 529A Accounts for Severely Disabled Individuals

153833909Many are familiar with section 529 college savings accounts, from which tax-free distributions must be used for qualified higher education expenses. The “Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014” or the “ABLE Act of 2014” adds a similar account under IRC §529A that individuals who become severely disabled before age 26 may establish to use for “qualified disability expenses,” which can include education, housing, and transportation. Continue reading

Notice of Incarcerated Beneficiaries: No More Splitting “Heirs”

489194765The law requiring notice of incarcerated heirs has just been extended to beneficiaries, too. Practitioners have long recommended giving notice of at least those incarcerated beneficiaries who might take property by intestate succession. But now it’s the law.

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