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New Law Affects Estates of Medi-Cal Recipients

  • September 15th, 2016
  • Rennee Dehesa
New Law Affects Estates of Medi-Cal Recipients

New California Law Makes Significant Changes to the State’s Ability to Collect Against Property of Deceased Medi-Cal Recipient On June 27, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that radically changes the way the California Department of Health…

Questions to Ask Before Filing Bankruptcy

  • July 4th, 2016
  • Rennee Dehesa

The decision to file bankruptcy is not one to be taken lightly. Nevertheless, if you are burdened by heavy debt you may see no alternative to seeking protection through the bankruptcy courts. Whether or not this is the best course…

Taking Title: the Basics of Real Property Title

  • February 12th, 2015
  • Sacheen Swan
Taking Title: the Basics of Real Property Title

There are several different ways to hold title to real property and how one chooses to take title is very important. Having a basic understanding of the options will allow you to ensure that you are taking title in the way most appropriate for your situation.

Living Trust 101: Marital Split Trust

  • October 7th, 2014
  • Katherine Becker
Living Trust 101: Marital Split Trust

In the first two posts of our three-part series on living trusts, we shared information about the Traditional AB Trust or QTIP Trust, and about the Disclaimer or Flex Trust. As we wrote in those posts, living trusts help protect your family members after your death. They help facilitate the avoidance of probate and some taxes, provides a way to choose beneficiaries, and allow you to easily make changes to your estate planning when circumstances change. In this final post, we will examine the last basic type of living trust that a married couple with children might choose to use in their estate planning.

Living Trust 101: Disclaimer or Flex Trust

  • September 23rd, 2014
  • Katherine Becker
Living Trust 101: Disclaimer or Flex Trust

In the first part of our three-part series on living trusts and how they can help families, we discussed and gave examples of the Traditional AB Trust or QTIP Trust. As we wrote in that post, living trusts can provide protection for your family or spouse after your death. It can also help to avoid probate and some taxes, provide a way to choose beneficiaries, and allow you to easily make changes to your estate planning when circumstances change. This post will look at the second type of trust that a married couple with children might choose.

Living Trust 101: AB Trust or QTIP Trust

  • September 9th, 2014
  • Katherine Becker
Living Trust 101: AB Trust or QTIP Trust

In this first of a three-part series of posts, we will look at the types of living trusts. Living trusts are useful in many different situations and for many purposes. A trust can provide protection for your spouse after your death, even in the event of your spouse’s subsequent incapacity. It can also provide a system to avoid probate and some taxes, provide a way to select beneficiaries and avoid family conflict, and allow you to easily make changes to your estate plan when and if your circumstances change.

Animal Law: Companions or Property?

  • August 26th, 2014
  • Katherine Becker
Animal Law: Companions or Property?

Pursuant to current property law, animals are chattel, the personal property of their owners. Statutes and cases refer to animals as “property,” therefore giving animals little to no value or legal rights. But we are witnessing a shift. In San Jose Charter of Hells Angels Motorcycle Club v. City of San Jose, the District Court stated that “We have recognized that dogs are more than just a personal effect. The emotional attachment to a family’s dog is not comparable to a possessory interest in furniture.” See (2005) 402 F. 3d 962, 975. This statement by the court illustrates the slowly changing perception of animals under the law, from pieces of property to something more.

The Growing Field of Animal Law

  • August 12th, 2014
  • Katherine Becker
The Growing Field of Animal Law

What is animal law? To most people, it is a trendy phrase with an ambiguous meaning. But those who have been paying close attention know that it is actually a very real movement in the legal world with exponential growth in its future.

The animal law field began to take root in the 1970s with help from leading attorneys like Joyce Tischler. After learning of too many cases in which animals were subjected to lives in miserable, frustrating, and painful conditions, Tischler decided to give animals a voice and bring their needs and interests to the bargaining table. Today, the movement is gaining traction, and attorneys across the nation are researching and working on cases that are rapidly shaping the basic contours of animal rights.

Should You Choose a Will or a Trust?

  • July 29th, 2014
  • Katherine Becker
Should You Choose a Will or a Trust?

A will might be right for you if: You are single; You have assets under $150,000 and are not anticipating accumulating more; You have children, but no significant assets and do not own real property; None of your beneficiaries have special needs or receive public benefits. However, you must be aware that a will, standing alone, will need to be probated via the court system. All wills must be either 100% handwritten, signed and dated, or typed, dated, signed and witnessed by two “disinterested witnesses.”

Living Trusts for Single People

  • July 15th, 2014
  • Katherine Becker
Living Trusts for Single People

I’m not married…do I need a trust? You should answer this question by first asking yourself a few other questions: If you should become incapacitated, do you want to have a system in place for a person that you select to manage your assets and to use them to support you for the rest of your life, without court intervention? In the event of your death, do you want to have a system in place to select your beneficiaries, avoid probate and avoid conflicts in your family? Do you want a system that allows you to easily make changes in your estate plan if circumstances change? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a revocable living trust is your best choice for planning your estate.

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