Tips for Drafting an Understandable Trust

thinkstockphotos-513685872The purpose of a trust document is to convey information to its intended audience. But that audience is typically a very disparate group in terms of its education in general and its knowledge of trusts and taxes in particular. How can you write a trust that’s understandable to them all?

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How to Make Name and Gender Marker Changes

thinkstockphotos-494028256It’s often a problem for transgender people that their government documents (e.g., driver’s license, Social Security record, passport) don’t match their name and gender. Having updated documents is important for employment, government benefits, and even safety. An incorrect document can “out” a transgender person at a dangerous moment. Here’s what you need to know about making name and gender marker changes. Continue reading

New Foreclosure Protection for Deceased Borrower’s Successor in Interest

115754429California law gives residential borrowers various rights and remedies when it comes to foreclosure prevention alternatives against a mortgage servicer, mortgagee, trustee or beneficiary under a deed of trust, and authorized agent. But what happens after the borrower’s death? Continue reading

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

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