California Estate Planning Blog

December 12, 2013 | Comments: 0

Business Law

Business law is an expansive niche that governs multiple areas. One of the first things every business owner should do is become familiar with laws pertaining to their industry to ensure they remain in compliance.

In recent years, business law has become more complex; particularly in the areas of privacy, fraud, and Internet marketing. Companies that conduct business online need to pay particular attention laws enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, as well as Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, and international trade laws.

Every business is unique, so it's wise to consult with a business attorney to guide you through the process. Not only can lawyers ensure your company complies with state and federal laws, they can aid in establishing strategies to protect company assets.

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November 11, 2013 | Comments: 0

Probate Court

Probate court is primarily recognized for overseeing settlement proceedings of decedents' estates. However, this court also handles legal issues pertaining to minor aged children, the elderly, and individuals with psychiatric or intellectual disabilities.

The role of probate court is to protect the rights of individuals and ensure probate laws are followed during estate reconciliation. Although probated estates can be settled without hiring a lawyer, most people find the process confusing and overwhelming and prefer to work with a law firm.

Probate is required to ensure decedents' Wills are valid and to record transfer of property to designated beneficiaries. There are two types of probate processes. When a Will is recorded with the court it is known as testate. If a Will is not provided, the process is referred to as intestate.

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October 15, 2013 | Comments: 0

Estate Attorney

People often feel they don't need to hire an estate attorney and try to handle matters on their own. While it can be tempting to go it alone, it's advisable to consider the ramifications if estate planning documents aren't properly executed.

The cost to hire an estate attorney is far less than the cost to settle probated estates. Furthermore, lawyers can advise of strategies to protect assets during your lifetime. For instance, people can prepare power of attorney forms to authorize another person to handle personal, financial, business, or medical affairs if they are unable to do so.

Numerous life events impact estate planning. Things such as having children, owning a family business, or owning real estate in another state require different types of strategies.

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September 11, 2013 | Comments: 0


When it comes time to prepare Wills, people often make an array of excuses to put it off. They think it takes too long or is too costly or that they don't own anything of value so there's no point.

The truth of the matter is executing legal Wills ensures your estate is settled according to your wishes. The document also aids in expediting the probate process and is necessary for establishing legal guardianship for minor children.

Probate is required to reconcile estates regardless of how much or little a person owns. The process is needed to officially record the decedent's death and legally transfer property to heirs.

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August 15, 2013 | Comments: 0

Attorney California

Trying to find a good attorney in California can feel like locating a needle in a haystack. With more than 160,000 practicing lawyers it's helpful to know where to find one that's suitable for your needs.

Five common ways to locate an attorney in California are personal referrals, lawyer referral services, legal aid agencies, prepaid legal services, and attorney-client matching services.

Personal referrals can be very beneficial and reduce time spent finding a lawyer. Almost everyone has needed legal help at some point. Also, a lot of people know lawyers who can refer colleagues that specialize in the type of legal work needed. Ask family members, friends, co-workers, and colleagues for a recommendation.

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July 14, 2013 | Comments: 0

Deed of Trust

A deed of trust is a legal document needed to record real estate used as collateral to secure financing. The deed is filed through county recorder's office and creates a first lien on the property. Once the loan is paid in full the lien is removed and the deed is no longer needed.

A little know secret is deed of trust makes an excellent investment product that provides consistent cash flow and high returns. Those in the know often integrate trust deed investing with retirement planning to diversify their portfolio.

Becoming a trust deed investor typically involves locating private money lenders. However, you can also be a private financier by lending money to a person who buys real estate. Novice investors are usually more comfortable working with an established private lender or mortgage broker who possesses a proven track record in deed investing practices.

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June 17, 2013 | Comments: 0

Child Trust Fund

A child trust fund can be established to set aside funds for college tuition, living expenses, healthcare costs, and to pass along family inheritance. Since there are various types of trusts it is recommended to consult with a lawyer to discuss overall goals and tax advantages.

Prior to arranging a child trust fund to fund college expenses it's important to become familiar with the gift tax exclusion for educational tuition. To qualify for the exclusion tuition has to be paid directly to the school.

Furthermore, the school must be recognized as a qualified education organization. This encompasses both private and public institutions that offer formal education. Most often trust funds are arranged to cover college tuition, but can also include private schools, preparatory schools, and trade schools.

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May 10, 2013

Business Succession Planning

Business owners who fail to engage in business succession could find themselves in a dire situation if emergencies arise. This strategy is especially important to sole proprietors and small business owners because it authorizes a person to take control and keep the company afloat.

Setting up a business succession plan isn't difficult, but does necessitate making smart decisions. The type of plan that is put into place depends upon certain factors such as choosing a successor and determining the company's value.

Every major corporation has contingency plans in place to ensure operations can continue regardless of what happens. Just as CEOs designate key personnel to assume their duties, small business owners ought to do the same.

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April 11, 2013

Strategic Planning

People who engage in strategic planning put together a portfolio of services that protect assets and transfer wealth at the end of life. Taking time to plan ahead can reduce estate taxes and ensure heirs receive inheritance without having to endure probate.

If you're like most, you feel overwhelmed by the task of strategic income planning. While it does require effort, the process can be simplified by working with an estate planning law firm, such as Craton and Switzer.

Experts can explain the pros and cons of available strategies; prepare legal documents; and walk you through the entire process. Strategic planning generally involves developing retirement plans and estate planning services to protect personal and business assets.

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March 13, 2013

Revocable Trust

Arranging a revocable trust is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to protect assets. By transferring ownership of property to a trust the estate bypasses the probate process and assets can be gifted to beneficiaries soon after death.

Most people prefer a revocable trust because the terms can be changed when needed. Trusts need to be modified when life situations change. For instance, modifications would be required if a person sells real estate that was placed in the trust or purchases assets after the trust is established.

Anyone who owns real estate or other forms of titled property they want to pass along to heirs should consider setting up a trust. Married couples often title real estate using joint tenants of survivorship so their partner will automatically inherit it upon death.

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