San Jose California Real Estate And Estate Planning Law Blog

What goes into an estate plan?

A will and an estate plan are not the same. A will determines who will get guardianship of your child after you die if you have children under the age of 18. It also outlines how your money and assets will be distributed to your loved ones.

If you have a will, you are off to a great start. It is good that you have a will, but you may need more. An estate plan is a compressive set of documents that covers a multitude of circumstances and clearly outlines your final wishes.

What happens if my loved one dies without a will?

Despite frequent reminders about the importance of estate planning, many people in California die every year without having a will or other formal estate plan in place.

Therefore, it is quite possible that a family in the San Jose area may have to deal with the fact that their loved one left no directions as to how to divide his property. While California law does specify how property should get distributed, not having a will still makes estate administration more difficult.

Mechanics liens can cause headaches to homeowners

While this blog has talked about real estate issues that San Jose residents may face should they fall behind in their mortgage payments.

However, other types of liens, like mortgages, also exist under the terms of California law. In the worst case scenario, these liens can be foreclosed, meaning a California resident loses his or her home or commercial property.

Aretha Franklin's estate falls under court supervision

The battle between family members of the estate of the great pop and soul artist Aretha Franklin is ongoing and, based how a recent court hearing transpired, may be getting worse.

At the end of the day, the judge overseeing the case decided to convert the estate in to what in the world of estate administration is called a supervised estate. In a supervised estate, a personal represent must obtain explicit permission from the court to do even when seems like a routine process, like selling valuable property. The judge declined to remove a niece of Ms. Franklin's, who has been serving as personal representative of the estate.

Why would I want a testamentary trust?

There is a lot of hype, much of it well-deserved, given to the practice of using trusts in order to avoid probate. When one creates a trust in order to avoid probate, he will usually draft what is called a living trust or, in some circles, an inter vivos trust. This type of trust take effect immediately once the ink dries on the legal documents.

However, some people in San Jose or other parts of the Bay Area may opt for what is called a testamentary trust. As the name implies, a testamentary trust gets created by one's will. In other words, the trust only exists once a person dies and her will gets admitted in to the probate court.

Three reasons to update your estate plan after you move

Moving into a new home can be an exciting and busy time. Before your move, you probably have paperwork to sign, boxes to pack and services to discontinue. Then, after the big move, you will need to unpack boxes, secure new services and organize your new home. Moving is a lot of work, and you will have plenty to do in the months surrounding this adventure.

However, a commonly overlooked item that should be on your post-move to-do list is updating your estate plan. It is important you do not neglect to update your estate plan after your move because estate plans work best when they reflect your current situation and current estate planning goals.

Powers and duties of an attorney in fact

While previous posts have discussed how estate administration works after a California resident dies, there are many occasions in which someone in the San Jose area may still be alive yet require help managing their property and business affairs.

In some cases, they may be totally unable to handle their own finances, while in other cases, they may just need a little extra assistance due to age or illness.

California's anti-deficiency rule

California has a law on the books that offers some protection to certain homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

To summarize, the law protects certain homeowners in San Jose and the greater Bay Area from what is called a deficiency judgment. A deficiency judgment is otherwise the end result of some foreclosure proceedings, such as when a family owes more money on their house than the house is worth.

What is the purpose of a special needs trust?

As the name implies, Californians can use a special needs trust to provide for a loved one who has unique needs due to an intellectual or physical disability.

Most often, a San Jose resident will want to create a special needs trust if the beneficiary, his or her loved one, also counts on government benefits Social Security SSI payments or Medicaid.

Estate planning considerations for your home

Your home is likely one of your most significant assets. You may have raised your children there and worked diligently throughout your life to make it into your dream home.

Whatever your home means to you, deciding how to incorporate it into your estate plan can involve some complex, thoughtful decisions, as well as tax considerations. Do you wish to keep it within the family? How long would you like to stay in the house? Would you rather sell? It is critical to proactively think about these considerations.

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The Heritage Law Group
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San Jose, CA 95112

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