Articles Posted in Wills

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Aretha Franklin and the Trouble with Handwritten Wills
When Aretha Franklin died in August of 2018, her family thought that she had died without a will, or as lawyers would say it, intestate. When a person dies without a will, the state has a built-in set of rules, called intestacy laws, that determine who will inherit that person’s estate.…
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Keeping Your Important Docs Safe From Fire
California’s recent fires in Butte County certainly got me thinking about my family’s important documents and how best to store them safely. It is so hard to imagine losing everything and having to rebuild from the ground up. Storing our most important documents in a firesafe box…
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Announcing my new book: Every Californian’s Guide to Estate Planning!
My new book, Every Californian’s Guide to Estate Planning is available now and I’m excited to share it with all of you. I wrote it because there isn’t a California-specific estate planning book out there, and we, as Californians, have some special things to deal with. In…
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Life/Death/Law Episode 3: The Practice of Generosity
What is estate planning, really? I know that most lawyers focus on reducing taxes, or the creation of documents, but when you get down to it, what you’re really doing when you make an estate plan is giving everything away, right? So, to me, understanding the practice of generosity and what…
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Single? No Estate Plan? Bad Idea
A few months ago, the New York Times published an article entitled, “Single? No Children? No Will? Big Mistake.” I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since. The author writes, “Certain people never reach one of those obvious points in their lives to write one. If…
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New Parents Need Basic Estate Planning
New parents face so many new challenges–from figuring out how car seats work to figuring out how babies work. I remember taking a deep breath as we opened the door of the hospital, loaded our daughter into the car (including several annoying moments in the parking lot trying to gently…
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Prince’s Sister Claims He Had No Will
Last week, the New York Times reported that Prince’s sister filed a Petition in probate court in Minnesota that stated that no Will had been found for Prince’s estate. The Petition asked the court to appoint a regional bank as the administrator of Prince’s estate, and…
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Keeping Families Out of Court: Trust and Estates Mediation
As an estate planner, I get calls often from disgruntled beneficiaries, concerned parents, frustrated Trustees, or distrustful siblings.  Death and money don’t always bring out the best in families. But despite countless books, movies and television shows, rushing to court isn’t…
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