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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Saturday, June 18, 2022

What is Intestate Probate?


Intestate probate is the process that an estate has to go through when a person dies without leaving a valid will or living trust behind. After gathering the assets and paying the debts of the estate, the administrator will distribute the remaining assets according to the rules of intestate succession in California.

Often, the assets get distributed in a way the decedent might not have wanted. If you do not want this type of outcome for your estate, you will want to prepare a Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Is a Handwritten Trust Legal in California?


A handwritten will can be a valid document as long as the paperwork meets California’s requirements for validity, but you might wonder whether you can handwrite a living trust and whether it would hold up in court. You could technically create an oral trust, but that would create more problems than it is worth.
Read more . . .


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Do All Wills Go Through Probate in California?


No, not all wills have to go through probate in California, but all wills of individuals who lived in our state at the time of their death have to get filed with the court. The court in the county where the decedent lived will then decide whether the estate has to go through probate.

If you mistakenly conclude that the will of your close relative does not have to go through probate, but the will actually should have been probated, there can be negative and expensive repercussions. You should always consult with a California estate planning attorney for guidance about whether you need to take a will through probate.

Situations in Which Probate is Not Necessary

You do not have to go through probate if your deceased loved one had a living trust instead of a will.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Beneficiary Income Tax Planning


There is a common assumption that people who inherit through a trust do not have to pay any taxes, but that is not always correct. Because trust beneficiaries do have to pay taxes in certain situations, you will want to think about how to minimize the tax consequences for the beneficiaries of your trust.

A California estate planning attorney can help you explore your options for beneficiary income Read more . . .


Sunday, May 8, 2022

When is the Deadline to Object to the Will or Personal Representative?


California law contains time limits to contest a will or object to the appointment of a personal representative, as well as many other aspects of the administration of an estate. You need to know these deadlines if you plan to take any of these actions so that you do not lose the legal right to do so.

Contesting a will and challenging a personal representative are challenging tasks. Rather than trying to handle these situations by yourself like a DIY project, you might want to talk to a California estate planning attorney about acting on your behalf.

The Deadline to Object to a Will

You could file a will contest at any moment after the first will gets filed with the court but before the judge admits the first filed will to probate.
Read more . . .


Thursday, May 5, 2022

How a Special Needs Guardianship Protects Against Medicaid Issues


Many parents who have children with special needs are shocked when they discover that a parent can no longer manage the medical care, education, or financial matters of their child when the child turns 18. Also, you will not have the legal authority to access your child’s educational or medical records. You have limited legal options for handling the situation to protect your child.

A California estate planning attorney can answer your questions about how a special needs guardianship protects against Medicaid issues.

An Overview of Special Needs Guardianships

A guardianship of your child with special needs involves asking the court to appoint someone who will have the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the person with disabilities.
Read more . . .


Friday, April 15, 2022

How to Take the Car Keys Away From Unsafe Elderly California Drivers


Some people are able to drive safely well into their advanced years, but for some others, deteriorating eyesight, slowed processing time, the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, or some other facet of the aging process impacts their driving ability. Rather than wait for a tragedy to happen, there are things one can do to address this issue with their aging loved ones.

A California Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Nursing Home Ratings: How to Find a High-Quality Home


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created a Five-Star Quality Rating System “to help consumers, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily and to help identify areas about which you may want to ask questions.” The rating system was a wealth of information, but one can easily get lost in so much data.

A California long-term-care planning attorney can help you plan and prepare for the move into a long-term care facility. Now, let’s talk about using nursing home ratings: how to find a high-quality home.

The Rating System

The CMS nursing home rating system uses a simple five-star rating methodology.
Read more . . .


Saturday, April 9, 2022

What is the Difference Between an Executor and a Trustee?


The terminology in the administration of the estate of a deceased person can be confusing. Three of the principal terms one needs to understand are executor, trustee, and administrator. An administrator processes the estate of a person who dies without leaving a valid will or trust, a situation called dying intestate. An executor follows the instructions of a deceased person’s will. A trustee manages and distributes the assets of the decedent according to the terms of a living trust.
Read more . . .


Monday, March 21, 2022

Attorney Safeguarding Your Assets from Creditors & Lawsuits


You have worked hard to accumulate your assets and property. However, you could lose a substantial portion of your savings and assets because of a lawsuit. Even if you were not at fault, a jury could decide you are liable. If so, the party seeking compensation could pursue claims against your assets.

After your death, creditors could file claims against your estate.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Debunking 4 Myths About California Trusts


There is so much misinformation going around about trusts and other estate planning topics that we thought we would clear up a few things. You do not want to rely on what your friend’s uncle’s brother’s neighbor’s coworker’s golf buddy supposedly said about California trusts.
Read more . . .


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