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Estate Planning Myths Debunked

What are some misconceptions about estate planning in California?

For many Californians, estate planning remains shrouded in mystery.  If you have never studied the subject or explored the topic with an estate planning attorney, you might hold some common misconceptions about estate planning.  The following is a look at a few estate planning myths and some helpful information to set the record straight:

Myth #1: A Will must be notarized in California in order to be…

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Anton Yelchin Died Without a Will, His Parents Now Seek Control of His Estate

Do I need an estate plan if I am relatively young and healthy?

Anton Yelchin, star in the movie Star Trek Beyond, recently died at the young age of 27.  The actor died due to injuries caused by his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which rolled backward down his driveway and pinned him between the vehicle and the gate to his home.  Yelchin, who was not married and had no children, did not leave a will. …

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The Unique Challenges of Estate Planning in Blended Families

How can I safeguard my child’s inheritance from my current spouse?

Unlike the couple whose first marriage stood the test of time and who are parents together exclusively to the same children, those who have multiple marriages and/or blended families sometimes face unique estate planning issues.

Each spouse generally enters the subsequent marriage with assets of their own, some or all of which may remain separate after the union. While the couple may have children together,…

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Gift Giving as an Estate Planning Tool

How can I minimize the tax consequences when planning my estate?

As many high net-worth individuals know, an estate with a value up to $5.45 million is exempt from federal estate taxes ($10.9 million for married couples), and there is no estate tax in California. For those who have acquired assets above the exemption threshold, year-end gift-giving provides a way to transfer wealth to their beneficiaries while minimizing the estate tax that may ultimately be…

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A Job for Two Generations

Why should those whose parents are well and happy in their 60s and 70s have “the talk” now?

While it may seem unnecessary to delve into your parents’ financial and medical plans for the future when they are still completely self-sufficient, this is precisely the right time to bring up matters of financial planning. For one thing, the time to have a rational conversation about an emotional topic is when all concerned are calm and…

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Bringing Beneficiaries to the Mediation Table: Drafting Enforceable Trust Provisions Requiring Mediation of Disputes During Post-Death Trust Administration

This article was originally published in California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, Volume 20, Issue 2, 2014

by Christopher D. Carico | Partner

I. Introduction

Mediation, when available, continues to be an effective, cost-efficient tool for resolving contested probate matters. Until 2007, the local probate rules of some of the larger California counties gave the probate court the explicit power to compel mediation in contested probate matters.2 This power vanished in California with the holding in…

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