Is the Britney Spears Conservatorship "Toxic"?

by Danielle F. Diebert
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Britney Spears says so.  After thirteen years of conservatorship, on June 23, 2021, Britney appeared remotely at her conservatorship hearing and relayed her emotional plea to the judge to terminate her conservatorship without the need for any further evaluation.

The June 23, 2021, Hearing: ”I’m [Not] A Slave 4 U”

At the hearing on June 23, 2021, and after years of relative silence, Britney expressed to the judge that she felt that the conservatorship was “abusive” and that she wanted her life back.  

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But I'm Too Young to Have a Will!

by Carlena L. Tapella
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Planning for the end of one’s life, or potential incapacity, is probably something an individual in their 20’s, 30’s, or even 40’s does not want to contemplate.  Even those in their later years might find it a difficult topic to discuss.  However, there are several important reasons why one should strongly consider having a Will prepared, and perhaps other estate planning documents, such as an Advance Health Care Directive or Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Management,

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Lest We Forget, Conservatees Have Personal Rights

by Carlena L. Tapella
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

Conservatorship proceedings are commenced for a variety of reasons, but the most common circumstance is when an elderly person requires assistance, either with their medical care, or their financial affairs, or both, and that individual does not have an alternative in place which would eliminate the need for a conservatorship.

The establishment of a conservatorship does not deprive a conservatee of all of their personal and legal rights.  Unless the court makes a specific determination otherwise,

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Election Results – What Could They Mean to You? Tax Updates for a Biden Presidency

by Sophia Y. Cizmarik
The Trusts & Estates Law Blog

2020 has been a year to remember for so many reasons: a global pandemic, the race to a vaccine, and an election with record-breaking voter turnout.

President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate Vice President-elect Kamala Harris campaigned on a platform of detailed proposals, including changes to certain areas of tax law. Here are some reforms that we might see during a Biden presidency, and the effects those changes might have:

Eliminating the step-up in tax basis

Biden has proposed that the current step-up in tax basis upon death be eliminated.

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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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