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San Jose California Real Estate And Estate Planning Law Blog

How does life insurance get handled in an estate?

Like retirement plans and many other financial accounts, proceeds from life insurance policies typically do not pass through a person's estate. In other words, upon the death of the insured, the insurance company will pay the proceeds directly to the person named as a beneficiary on the policy.

There is at least one possible exception to this rule, and that is if the person insured under the policy specifically says the proceeds should pass in to the person's estate or, for that matter, in to a trust.

What is a living will?

Although the name of the document is somewhat misleading, a living will is not really anything like a last will and testament.

Whereas a San Jose resident would use the latter to distribute property after her death, a living will is a document that doctors and loved ones will use while the person is still alive yet unable to communicate her wishes.

Other alternatives to foreclosure

Previous posts on this blog have discussed how a short sale can help a family in San Jose or one of the other suburbs in the Bay Area avoid losing their home, or other property, to the process commonly referred to as foreclosure.

While a short sale is one option, there are other things a family can do if they find themselves unable to pay their mortgage, short of simply allowing their lender to foreclose.

What constitutes undue influence?

Many residents of San Jose, California, and the surrounding greater Bay Area may have heard the phrase undue influence, even if they just happened to be reading about a big estate-related court fight.

Undue influence is one reason disgruntled heirs and beneficiaries may decide to challenge a will. For that matter, even though trusts are typically administered outside of the court-supervised probate process, a person can claim undue influence as part of trust litigation as well.

What does an executor do?

When it comes to administering a California estate, perhaps the most important person is the executor, who may also be referred to as the administrator of the estate or even as the personal representative.

While technically speaking executors are only involved when an estate goes through probate, many of their responsibilities and duties are shared by administrators of trusts., so this post can be helpful in that context as well.

What are my responsibilities as an executor of a will?

If a loved one has asked you to become the executor, sometimes called a personal representative, of his or her will, you should be prepared for the responsibilities you will have if you accept the position. As an executor, you will be named in your loved one’s will as the person who will manage his or her final financial obligations after death. 

The responsibilities of an executor

The basics of a spendthrift trust

Parents and others in San Jose who are planning to leave significant assets to their children, or who wish to transfer those assets to them as part of their planned giving, may face a bit of dilemma.

On the one hand, it could make economic sense to make these transfers. Moreover, on an emotional level, parents and others love their children and usually want to share their abundance with them.

What is a short sale?

It does not take an expert in real estate to recognize that the worst case scenario a homeowner or other property owner can face, aside perhaps from an uninsured loss of the property, is the loss of the property due to inability to repay the mortgage or mortgages on the home.

Even though the process works slightly differently in California as opposed to states on the other side of the country, people commonly refer to the legal process of a bank taking back the property as collateral for a bad loan as foreclosure.

Pitfalls to avoid when naming a trust as an IRA beneficiary

One thing that has big impacts on what happens with an IRA after a person dies is who the person named as the IRA’s beneficiary. There are many options people have when it comes to who to designate as beneficiary. For one, they could name their desired heirs directly.

Another option that some go with is to instead name a trust as beneficiary. The trust would then distribute proceeds from the IRA to their desired heirs. A person might opt to go this route is if he or she wants there to be more control over the distribution of the IRA proceeds.

5 tips to prevent a mechanic's lien on your construction project

You have a lot to worry about overseeing a construction project. The last thing you need is to end up with a mechanic's lien on your property. A mechanic's lien is a claim against your property for an unpaid invoice to a contractor, material supplier, subcontractor, or laborer. A lien can happen if your general contractor fails to pay one of the other providers. Here are five tips to help you prevent a mechanic's lien. 

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The Heritage Law Group
96 N 3rd St
#260
San Jose, CA 95112

Phone: 669-244-3552
Fax: 408-993-2101
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