IRS Left Holding the Bag After Investors Madoff with Millions

tax_100889473How much is a fictitious brokerage account worth, and what happens when it loses value? The IRS and the Tax Court have struggled with issues arising from the Bernie Madoff scandal. The answer may depend on when (and how) you ask the question. Continue reading

Dead Man Balking: Writ of Execution Doesn’t Work After Debtor’s Death

thinkstockphotos-501575596So you have a money judgment, but the debtor dies before you can collect. Never mind. You still have a judgment lien on the debtor’s estate. Right? Continue reading

No-Contest Clauses May Not Be the Deterrent You Think

ThinkstockPhotos-148073606State law changes enacted in 2010 have restricted the enforceability of no-contest clauses. Under Prob C §§21310–21311, a typical no-contest clause providing that an unsuccessful contestant gets nothing from an estate or trust is enforceable only against a “direct contest” brought without probable cause on specified grounds. And even if it is enforceable, a no-contest clause may not be an effective deterrent if the beneficiary thinks the amount at stake is outweighed by the benefit of a successful contest. Continue reading

First Steps for a Conservator

elderly_106586892Your client has just been named conservator over someone suffering from dementia as well as over his or her estate. There will be much to do, but some first steps should be taken right away. Continue reading

5 Things to Know About CA’s Aid-in-Dying Law

ThinkstockPhotos-465022009Effective June 9, 2016,  the End of Life Option Act (Health & S C §§443-443.22) makes California the fifth state in the nation to allow physicians to prescribe medications to end the lives of their terminally ill patients. As expected, the Act has many requirements built into it to address the concerns of its opponents. Continue reading

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Professional Trustee

ThinkstockPhotos-142081160Your client, as settlor, creates a special needs trust set up for a child or grandchild and needs a professional trustee to administer it. Before hiring a potential trustee, the client should determine whether he or she is personally and philosophically compatible with the professional who will actually be managing the trust. You should ask the following questions about the trustee’s background, investment strategy, fees, and management style. Continue reading

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