San Jose California Real Estate And Estate Planning Law Blog

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.

Trust dispute boils over in Tom Petty's estate

The death of rock legend Tom Petty two years ago has left several unresolved issues between Petty's widow and his two daughters from a prior relationship. The fighting between the daughters and their stepmother has spilled over in to litigation that is now pending before a California court.

There are a lot of issues in play. For instance, the stepmother accuses one of the daughters of making plans to use Mr. Petty's name and image in a way that she says her late husband would never approve. On the flip side, the daughters are accusing the widow of financial mismanagement.

Foreclosures continue to drop across the country

Since reaching a high point during last decade's Great Recession, the number of foreclosures across the country continues to decline. The rate of decline, however, does seem to be slowing down a bit.

At the peak of the last economic crisis, in 2010, there were over 2 million filings for foreclosure of a mortgage or, in the case of California, a deed of trust. This meant that home loans were failing at the rate of over 1.33%.

Guiding executors through estate administration

Even when everyone is getting along, being the executor of a California estate can be a challenging and time-consuming task.

As a previous post on this blog discussed, executors have a lot of important responsibilities that last from shortly after their loved one dies up to when property finally gets distributed to the heirs and the final tax returns get submitted.

Overview of the elective share in California

Like other states, California law gives special rights to a person's spouse when that person dies. The idea behind these laws is that a person's spouse ought have a right to a portion of the deceased person's estate, even if the person's spouse is not named in the deceased's estate planning documents.

Moreover, there is a strong legal assumption that someone who died would not want to cut his own widow out of the estate.

When might a subcontractor consider filing a mechanic’s lien?

If you are a subcontractor who has not been paid for work you provided, a mechanic’s lien can help you recover that money by placing a lien on the property where you provided the work. Once you do this, the property owner will not be able to sell or refinance the property until the debt is paid. A mechanic’s lien also allows you to go to court to have the property auctioned off, if necessary for the debt to be paid.

Although a mechanic's lien can help you recover the payment you deserve, you must follow appropriate steps within designated time frames. If a step or deadline is missed, you could lose all your mechanic’s lien rights.


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

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