News & Articles

Conservatorhip Substituted Judgment Can be Used to Authorize Fractional Interest Gifts in Real Property with Big Estate Tax Reduction Effect

Clients had previously been appointed as Conservators for their elderly mother who no longer had the capacity to manage her own affairs. Mother’s estate was conservatively valued at $10,000,000, containing income producing rental properties in an affluent area of Los Angeles, her own valuable residence and a significant amount of cash. Mother had an old Will, but did not have a Trust or the other estate planning documents typically appropriate for such…

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Administrative Expenses Can Take A Bite Out of Delinquent Estate Taxes, Interest & Penalties

Client’s mother passed away in the early 1980s owning a number of properties in Los Angeles County, including a pair of valuable single family residences in Manhattan Beach. Client had originally attempted to administer the mother’s estate by himself and was even appointed as the Administrator of the mother’s estate by the Probate Court. Unfortunately, Client fell ill and never completed the administration of the mother’s estate. Following a full recovery, but…

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Ways for Avoiding Probate in California

The probate process remains a mystery to many California consumers seeking legal advice. While most Californians will tell their estate planning attorney that they want an estate plan, which avoids probate, few understand what that really means. Common misperceptions include the belief that (1) avoiding probate avoids estate taxes, (2) trusts eliminate all estate taxes and (3) probates are only required when someone dies without a will (i.e., intestate). The purpose of this…
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Christopher D. Carico Included in Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine for 2010

Christopher D. Carico has been named by Southern California Super

Lawyers magazine as one of the top attorneys in California for 2010 in the field of Estate Planning & Probate. Only five percent of the lawyers in the state are named by Super Lawyers.

The selections for this esteemed list are made by the research team at Super Lawyers,
which is a service of the Thomson Reuters, Legal division based in Eagan, MN. Each

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Chris Carico Included In The Best Lawyers in America

Christopher D. Carico was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2011 in the field(s) of Trusts & Estates (Copyright 2010 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.).

Since its inception in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 39,000 leading attorneys cast almost 3.1 million votes…

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Grantor Retained Annuity Trust Legislation 10-Year Minimum Grant Requirement

On March 24 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new Bill which would require a minimum 10-year period for grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs).  The Bill was proposed, went through committee and was passed by the House in about 8 days.  It mirrored President Obama’s “Greenbook” proposal.  The new legislation regarding the GRATs is attached to an important Jobs Bill, so it seems likely to pass the Senate as well.  As written,…
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Post-Death Trust Administration Checklist (Revised 3.22.11)

This checklist was last revised March 22, 2011. On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law new estate tax legislation as part of The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (“TRA 2010”). The bill retroactively reinstated the federal estate tax for 2010; increased the federal estate tax exemption to $5,000,000 per person; increased the federal gift tax exemption to $5,000,000 per person;…

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Carico Johnson Toomey Partners Again Recognized In Southern California Super Lawyers For 2010 LOS ANGELES County

Partners  Christopher D. Carico and Philip A. Toomey have been recognized in 2010 Southern California Super Lawyers as among the top lawyers in employment law and estate planning, respectively.Mr. Toomey was previously recognized in Super Lawyers Magazine in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 in employment law. Mr. Carico was previously recognized in 2009 in estate planning.

Only five percent of the lawyers in Southern California are named in Super Lawyers Magazine. The selections…

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Estate Planning & Required Minimum Distributions


Effective estate planning for retirement benefits requires understanding rules created by the income tax laws mandating minimum distributions from the client’s retirement accounts. These income tax laws are found primarily in Internal Revenue Code 401(a) and Treasury Regulation 1.401(a)(9)-0 through 1.401(a)(9)-9. Proper planning also requires an understanding of the non-probate transfer rules under California law found in Probate Code 5010 through 5032. Finally, it necessitates an appreciation for the variety of estate…

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CPA as Client Trustee: Is the Compensation Worth the Liability?

By Christopher D. Carico

Published: WebCPA, July 28, 2009

The family CPA is often the best choice as successor trustee of the family trust.

As a group, CPAs are highly educated, detail oriented, tax-sensitive and cost conscious. Since a trustee’s duties include preparing an annual accounting, filing yearly tax returns, monitoring trust investments and determining distribution amounts to be given to beneficiaries, CPAs ordinarily possess all the needed skills. While it may make the most…

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