Probate & Estate Planning

Picking up from last year’s failed wealth tax bill (AB 2088), California legislators have introduced a new and seemingly more ambitious wealth tax measure in AB 310 and ACA 8. Predictably, the proposal has garnered popular support among progressives and fervent objection from conservatives. But what would the “California Tax on Extreme Wealth” actually entail—and would passage be any likelier this year than the last? The basic rules. If passed, the proposed wealth tax would impose an annual 1 percent tax on “worldwide wealth” in excess of $50 million per household ($25 million for married persons filing separately) and an…
Make sure you are on official IRS webpage when applying for EIN or TIN! I was trading emails with a probate client today and he said he was going to apply for a tin (tax identification number) and showed me the link. I reminded him that we are happy to take care of it for him but if he did do it himself to be sure he was on the IRS website. The link he was going to use was not the actual IRS website.  Be very careful because there are a lot of scammers out there on the big…
Section 2030 of California’s Family Code provides an important safeguard to ensure the fairness of marriage dissolution proceedings. It allows the Court to order a more financially well-off party to pay some or all of the other party’s attorney fees, beginning as early as the start of the proceedings. Section 2030 was enacted to put divorcing parties on equal footing. The protections of Section 2030 extend beyond spouses: where a third party has been joined to a dissolution proceeding, the statute allows the court to order that third party to pay the attorney fees of one of the spouses to…
When a California probate court establishes a conservatorship, the conservator is charged with managing the conservatee’s person and/or estate in the conservatee’s best interests. The large majority of professional fiduciaries and family members who become conservators discharge their duties faithfully. Occasionally, however, a conservator may exploit the relationship for personal gain. Over the past year, conservatorships increasingly have been in the spotlight. Perhaps responding to the hype, the California Legislature is considering legislation, Assembly Bill 1194, that aims to strengthen protections against abuse. In this blog post, we provide a summary of some key features of AB 1194 and…
Many California trusts confer a lifetime right to income on a person (often the surviving spouse) with the remainder passing to designated survivors upon the income beneficiary’s death.  When the income beneficiary dies, is it too late for the executor of the beneficiary’s estate to request an accounting for the purpose of evaluating whether the deceased beneficiary received all income to which he or she was entitled? No, says the California Court of Appeal in Dunlap v. Mayer (2021) ___ Cal.App.5th ___.  A decedent’s successor in interest, such as an executor, can hold the trustee to account.  In addition…
We blogged recently about Keading v. Keading (2021) 60 Cal.App.5th 1115, which addresses whether a trial court can impose damages under California Probate Code section 859, without a finding of bad faith, if the court finds that a person has taken, concealed or disposed of property by committing elder or dependent adult financial abuse. There is another split of appellate authority as to the interpretation of section 859.  Last year, the Court of Appeal, in Estate of Ashlock (2020) 45 Cal.App.5th 1066, held that a prevailing party is entitled to double damages under section 859, in addition to…
I saw this article and knew my readers would be interested. We have had several Covid-19 or Coronavirus deaths in our office in the past year. As a lawyer who is 100% focused on probate court cases, or death cases, I have seen more than my fair share. This could be a resource for those facing the hurdle of paying for a loved ones funeral after a Covid death. Maybe the government will reimburse!? CHECK IT OUT!   The post Funeral Reimbursement for Covid deaths? appeared first on Probate Sacramento CA | Trusted Probate and Estate Attorney.…
When are delusions enough to invalidate an estate plan?  The California Court of Appeal addressed that issue earlier this month in Eyford v. Nord (2021) ___ Cal.App.5th ___. The case involves a 90-year-old woman who favored a charity and disinherited the two grandchildren with whom she had been close.  The appellate court found that California Probate Code section 6100.5(a)(2) requires proof of a “mental health disorder” in addition to a delusion that caused the questioned testamentary disposition.  The opinion provides a guidepost for California lawyers who litigate contests arising from alleged delusions. Kay Pearson Turns Against and Disinherits Her…
Many family member trustees are uncertain about whether and to what extent they can use trust assets to obtain legal representation.  For example, when two parents choose their daughter, upon their incapacity or death, to administer their trust as the successor trustee, the daughter may be unsure whether she can use trust money to hire a lawyer to help her deal with demands and complaints from her brother. In this post, we’ll review basic principles of California law with respect to when a trustee can pay a lawyer at the trust’s expense.  Spoiler alert: it may be best to take…
A common misperception of trusts is that they are legal entities that, like corporations, can hold title to real estate and other property.  A new California appellate decision, Boshernitsan v. Bach (2021) ___ Cal.App.5th ___, addresses that misunderstanding. The litigation arose in San Francisco County Superior Court under the local rent control ordinance. Mark Vinokur and Rimma Boshernitsan held a two-unit property as trustees of the revocable living trust that they created.  They lived in one unit and tenants rented out the other.  They served a notice of termination on the tenants, saying that they intended to move Vinokur’s…