Biddle Law Estate Planning Blog

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.
Read more . . .

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.

Read more . . .

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.
Read more . . .

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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Monday, September 11, 2017

When Capacity Leads to Trust Litigation

What is the standard for capacity when establishing a trust?

Revocable trusts have become one of the most common estate planning tools.  Revocable trusts hold several advantages over wills in California.  With a trust, you can avoid probate and all of the costs, as well as time delays, that often come with it.  Additionally, you can maintain privacy as trust assets will be seamlessly passed from the trust to its beneficiaries without the need for court involvement, absent litigation.  If litigation over your trust does arise, it will often hinge on the issue of capacity.

Read more . . .

Monday, August 14, 2017

Estate Planning for Families with Special Needs Children

Your estate plan should generally change every time you have a child. However, there are unique concerns that you should address when you are crafting an estate plan with a special needs child in mind. Parents of children with disabilities may need to account for life-long medical care, an inability for the child to earn their own living, and naming someone who cares deeply about the child to be a guardian.

In addition, you will often need to plan so that your child will still qualify for government assistance for health care or income support as well. Funds often should not be left directly to the special needs child because he or she will not be able to manage these funds on their own.
Read more . . .

Friday, August 11, 2017

California Probate Court: An Overview

California probate court is unique because it is a special division of the court system that deals only with probate issues, including managing decedents’ estates, guardianships of minors, conservatorships of adults, and trusts.

There are several probate courts throughout the state.

Read more . . .

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Basics of Pet Trusts in California

You cannot leave money or funds to a pet. Instead, you may want to set up a trust so that your assets or funds can be used for the care of that pet. That way, you know your pet will be cared for, even after you are gone, according to the instructions you have provided in the

Read more . . .

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