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Biddle Law Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Adoption and Inheritance Rights in CA: What to Know


When individuals die without a will (intestate) the state has a certain order in which it provides the decedent’s assets to particular individuals. For example, when someone dies intestate, their property will generally transfer equally among their children (should they have any). But what about children who are adopted? Can the same be said for them? What are their rights? Here’s what to know about adoption and inheritance rights in California. 

In the state of California, adopted children enjoy all of the same rights as their biological counterparts do concerning their inheritance rights. Adopted children may inherit from their deceased adoptive parent or they may inherit from someone else through their deceased adoptive parent.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

What Is a Special Needs Trust?


We execute estate plans so that during our lifetime and upon our incapacitation or death we can best provide for our loved ones and ourselves. A big reason for this is to be sure that we can provide for our loved ones after we have gone. This is even more important when we have a child or loved one who is disabled. 

The government treats all individuals with disabilities as adults once they turn 18. However, an individual who becomes disabled prior to the age of 22 is entitled to receive Social Security Income (SSI) benefits as long as the worth of their assets remains under $2,000 and their income remains lower than the amount of money they would receive in SSI benefits.
Read more . . .


Thursday, September 5, 2019

What Happens If Someone Dies Without a Will in California?


We all know that it is important to have a will. Whether it’s because we don’t want to think about our own mortality, we don’t have the money, or we just flat out don’t get around to it, sometimes people die without a will. When someone dies without a will, it is called intestate. So what happens to someone’s estate when they don’t have a will?

When someone dies intestate, the California probate estate must be administered, distributing his or her property. Their assets will go to the deceased’s closest relatives under California’s intestate success laws.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

What You Should Know About Probate


Losing a loved one can be hard. But when you add in having to deal with their estate it can get extremely difficult and often overwhelming – especially if it goes to probate.

Probate is the settling of an individual’s estate by a court-appointed executor. Although it can be simpler if the estate fits within a certain tax bracket, when it does not it can require a long, often expensive court process, sometimes lasting years. 

Can You Avoid Probate?

If the executor is able to prove that all debts have been paid by the value of the estate and there are no significant debts remaining, probate can be avoided.
Read more . . .


Friday, July 12, 2019

Maximizing Estate Tax Exemptions


Q: Are their benefits to designating a charity as my IRA beneficiary?

Everyone wants to save money but most people don’t realize that hiring a skilled San Mateo estate planning attorney who understands how to minimize or eliminate estate taxes can save their estates – and consequently their beneficiaries – big time depending on their particular circumstances.

And you don’t necessarily need to be high-net-worth individuals to take advantage of these estate tax planning benefits.
Read more . . .


Saturday, June 15, 2019

California Allows Plaintiffs to Recover Additional Costs When Suing Decedent’s Insurer


Sometimes the individual who was responsible for causing you injury may pass away before you have the opportunity to bring suit for damages. So what can you do if this happens? You have the option of bringing suit against a deceased person’s estate. However, in the state of California, this is not always the easiest task. 

Claimants Must Act Quickly When Dealing with a Decedent’s Estate

In most state cases, those interested in bringing suit against a deceased person’s estate must first file what is called a creditor’s claim, before they are able to proceed with bringing a lawsuit in Superior Court. Since claimants only have a one-year statute of limitations under California Code of Civil Procedure section 366.
Read more . . .


Monday, May 20, 2019

The Best Gift for Your New Spouse: An Estate Plan


Marriage is an exciting new journey; one that brings with it a series of new hopes, dreams, and goals for the future. Many of these goals you will make together as you begin your new life. You may think about opening joint bank accounts, filing joint taxes, buying a home, and more. But what many newlyweds don’t think about is making an Read more . . .


Thursday, April 11, 2019

What is a Holographic Will?


It is certainly a good idea to create and regularly review your will with an experienced estate planning and probate attorney. In it you are able to share your wishes for what you would like to happen after you pass away, including who you wish to inherit which assets.
Read more . . .


Monday, March 4, 2019

Is being left out of a parent’s Will necessarily a bad thing?


Most headlines surrounding celebrities are filled with drama and often possible misrepresentations. So, it was not likely a surprise to read that the late actor, Burt Reynolds, reportedly left his son, Quinton, out of his Will when he did his estate planning.
Read more . . .


Saturday, February 23, 2019

How Does Probate Work in California?


Probate is how an estate gets settled under court supervision. When someone dies intestate (without a Will), the court will appoint an individual (usually an adult child or surviving spouse). However, if there is a Will, it may contain a nomination for an individual to appoint as an executor of the Will. This individual has authority under the law to gather and to value the assets of the estate, to pay taxes and bills, and to distribute the assets to the named beneficiaries of the Will (those whom the decedent assigned an asset to be left to).

What is the Purpose of Probate?


The purpose of probate is to prevent the occurrence of fraud after someone has passed away.
Read more . . .


Monday, January 14, 2019

How Can I Protect Myself From Financial Elder Abuse?


California estate planning attorneys know that, while you can't always protect senior citizens from becoming victims of elder abuse, having a comprehensive estate plan is an important step in the right direction. 


As we age, our physical and mental capacities generally diminish, leaving elders vulnerable to physical, emotional, and financial abuse by predators.
Read more . . .


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