Biddle Law Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Reasons to Challenge a Will

A will describes who should get what regarding both assets and liabilities. However, sometimes the will may not seem fair or just for various reasons. If you read a family member’s will and think, “Why did Dad do that?” or “I’m shocked that Mom did that,” you may have grounds to contest a will.

There are a variety of reasons that contesting a will may be appropriate. Underlying each rationale, however, is the notion that something seems slightly off on how the decedent left things.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Removal of a Trustee

A trustee plays a very important role in the administration of a trust. It is absolutely vital that you use a trustee that is trustworthy and responsible to carry out the distribution process and general tRead more . . .

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Basics of Settling an Estate

The process of settling an estate is commonly referred to as “probate.” It requires an understanding of not only the will that your loved one left but also an itemization of their assets and liabilities as well as an appreciation for the probate laws and process in California.
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Monday, November 20, 2017

ABLE Accounts in California: An Overview

An ABLE account is a bank account that permits those with special needs to save money at the state level. It gets its name from the federal law, Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.

California was slower to establish ABLE accounts, but they were signed into law in 2015. However, California has struggled to put the ABLE accounts in motion thus far. The program is expected to be in “full force” in the winter of 2018.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

What is Probate Litigation?

You may assume that estate planning is a non-confrontational process, and it usually is. When someone creates an estate plan, the process of developing it deals only with one (or potentially two) person—so there is little occasion for conflict. When loved ones actually take steps to fulfill a decedent’s wishes after they pass, fights are much more likely to arise. 

Family members may take issue with a variety of topics related to an estate plan. When those conflicts arise, interested parties can challenge estate planning tools by initiating Read more . . .

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Duties of an Executor or Personal Representative

An executor is someone who is named in a will to carry out your final wishes and settle your estate. He or she will pay your outstanding bills, pay for funeral expenses, and distribute your property as you describe in your will. 

It is important to know the duties of an executor or personal representative both when you are named and as you consider who should be an executor. Having someone trustworthy and reliable to fulfill this role will ensure that your last wishes are satisfied. Of course, if you are an executor, it is important to have someone who can help you carry out your duties, such as an Read more . . .

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tortious Interference with an Expectation of Inheritance

When a relative passes, you often expect that you will obtain some type of inheritance after their passing, particularly if it is a parent or spouse. Perhaps, for example, your mother has already talked to you about your inheritance, or you know that a particular bank account has been left for you.
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Monday, October 9, 2017

Joint Tenancy and Avoiding Probate

The probate process can be time-consuming and expensive. It can also be very emotionally draining for someone who just lost a loved one. As such, many individuals take steps to avoid the probate process entirely to save money and to make the transition to life without them easier for their loved ones.

There are many ways that you can plan your estate to avoid probate. One of those is by holding property in joint tenancy with others, such as a spouse or child.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

The Probate Process: When to Hire an Appraiser

You must go through the probate process if a loved one leaves a will with enough property to warrant the full probate process. If the total value of the estate is less than $150,000, then you generally will not need to go through probate in California. Instead, smaller estates can go through a faster, more streamlined probate process.
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Tips for Avoiding Trust Litigation

What are the most common reasons for trust litigation?

When you create a trust, you expect that your assets will be distributed in accordance with the carefully set out terms of the trust.  While most trusts are upheld after the death of the settlor, many others become embroiled in litigation.  Disagreements over the validity of a trust or certain terms within it can be heartbreaking and expensive.  The good news is that there are steps you can take to help to ensure your trust does not become the subject of litigation.  Understanding what leads to

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions About the Probate Process in California

Do I need an attorney if I am named a personal representative?

Probate is the court process through which a deceased person’s assets are distributed to their heirs.  While most of us are familiar with the term probate, few are aware of the intricacies of the probate process.  If you are preparing your estate plan, have been named as a personal representative, or are the heir to an estate in probate, you likely have many question about the probate process in the state of California.  Our

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