The Split Roll Initiative on the November 2020 Ballot

by Sophia Y. Cizmarik
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

In 1978 California voters approved Proposition 13, a landmark measure that set—and has kept—property taxes at a low rate. This November’s ballot includes a proposition known as the “split roll” initiative that would make significant changes to Proposition 13.

Currently, California treats commercial and residential properties almost identically when it comes to property taxes. A homeowner and a business owner pay taxes on the value of the property based on its fair market value when it was acquired,

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Estate Planning 101: Back to Basics

by Sophia Y. Cizmarik
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

The COVID-19 pandemic has focused us all on necessities and on trying to prepare for an uncertain future. This article outlines why an estate plan is one of those necessities.

I Don’t Have an Estate Plan; What Would Happen if I Died?

It’s important to have an estate plan for several reasons.  During your life, you want to ensure that you control your assets and that if you are ever incapacitated,

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The Tale of Choupette the Cat and Other Common Issues in Trust and Estate Litigation

by Danielle F. Diebert
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

When Karl Lagerfeld passed away in February of 2019 in France, many speculated that his cat, Choupette, was well provided for as part of his estimated $150 million estate. This pampered feline was much loved by Mr. Lagerfeld during his life, and appeared in photoshoots and featured in many high-end fashion magazines. However, over a year after Mr. Lagerfeld’s death, certain media outlets have reported that the administrator of Mr. Lagerfeld’s estate has “disappeared.” Based on these reports,

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With Right of Survivorship - or Perhaps Not?

by Carlena L. Tapella
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

In advising clients regarding the rights afforded to joint tenants on a bank account, most practitioners would say that the agreement with the financial institution generally would control, with the surviving joint tenant succeeding to the funds remaining in the account on the death of the other joint tenant. California’s Multiple-Party Accounts Law (Prob. Code, §§ 5100, et seq.) governs ownership of accounts with multiple parties and the disposition of those accounts upon the death of one of the parties to the account.

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Guess What? The Laws HAVE Changed – Avoiding a Conduit Trust Catastrophe after the SECURE Act

by Allison M. Pedrazzi
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Like most estate planners, we always remind clients that tax and estate planning laws are subject to change and frequently do. As busy practitioners, it is impossible for us to reach out to every client when a change might affect him or her, so we remind all clients to come back to see us if they have questions or are concerned about how recent developments affect their plans (and in any event, at least every three to five years).

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Shall We Check His Text Messages? The Growing Trend of Creating Wills in the Digital Age

by Carlena L. Tapella

Co-Authors: Thomas W. Shaver, Esq., John M. Andersen, Esq., and Agnieszka K. Adams

California Trusts and Estates Quarterly

This article was first published in Volume 26, Issue 1, 2020 of the California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, reprinted by permission.

In 2018, the Michigan Court of Appeals determined that an electronic note a decedent typed into his cell phone qualified as his last will and testament under Michigan law.

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Dead Men Tell No Tales and Other Issues with Contracts to Make a Will

by Danielle F. Diebert
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

First, what is a contract to make a will?

A contract to make a will is exactly as it sounds.  It is an agreement to provide for a person as part of a decedent’s will.  The terms of the agreement could be as simple as a promise to provide services in exchange for a specific cash gift as part of a decedent’s will.  For example, Elizabeth may promise to provide caregiving and household services to William in exchange for William’s promise to provide her with $250,000 upon his death. 

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When Do You NOT have the Right to Remain Silent? Conservatorship Proceedings and Equal Protection Clause Claims

by Allison M. Pedrazzi
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Thanks to Law and Order, we’re all familiar with the beginning of a person’s Miranda Warning: “You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”  What many may not know, however, is that this is a right only afforded to those involved in criminal proceedings.  In civil cases, there is no constitutional right to refuse to testify.  Historically, this has been intended to ensure that our criminal justice system—which can deprive a person of their freedom,

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Casebriefs – How Recent Decisions Could Impact You

by Allison M. Pedrazzi
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

In our monthly department meetings, the trusts and estates group at Weintraub keeps current by reviewing recent cases and discussing how they could affect our practice. See below for some highlights from the past few months:

Pena v. Dey – When is Self-Help Enforceable?

(Filed August 30, 2019)

The gist:

James Robert Anderson established a living trust in 2004, which he amended in 2008. He was diagnosed with abdominal cancer and brain cancer in 2011.

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There's No Place Like Home - Heightened Evidentiary Standard for Moving Conservatees from Their Personal Residence

by Carlena L. Tapella
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Frequently when a conservatorship proceeding is commenced, the proposed conservatee is residing in his or her personal residence. Having a conservatorship established can be a distressing experience for a conservatee who has awareness of the effect of such a proceeding. One primary concern may be whether there is going to be a change to living arrangements with which the conservatee has been familiar, sometimes for decades. Naturally, it is commonplace for a conservatee to express that they “don’t want to go to a care home.” In recognition of the need to affirmatively preserve the right of conservatees to remain in their own personal residence,

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