Choosing the Right Executor

Posted March 31, 2011 in Estate Planning, Probate by Michael Lonich.

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March 31, 2011
Choosing the Right Executor
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Recently, the New York Times published an interesting article advising individuals on how to choose the right executor for an estate. An executor is an individual responsible for an estate before the estate is closed (transferred to its beneficiaries).

The author indicates how estate planning in 2011 is particularly burdensome on executors because of the recent tax law changes President Obama signed in December of 2010.  In short, portability (the ability to pass the federal estate tax exclusion to a surviving spouse, described in a previous post), must be if at all exercised by the executor. This new responsibility coupled with the traditional responsibilities of an executor will  require an organized and honest individual who has the best interest of your beneficiaries at heart. The article continues with other practical considerations when choosing an executor including why a professional or a family member may be a more suitable executor, for the full New York Times article click here.

Additionally, it is a prudent idea for individuals to review their estate planning documents because of the recent estate planning changes in 2011. Currently the new tax laws affecting Estate Planning are only set to be active for 2011-2012.

If you are interested in learning more about Estate Planning, please contact San Jose Estate Planning Lawyers at Lonich & Patton, LLP. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Does Your Loved One Need a Conservator?

Posted March 29, 2011 in Estate Planning by Michael Lonich.

A conservator is a person appointed by the court to manage the health care and/or financial matters of an adult (the conservatee) who is found to lack the legal capacity to care for themselves.  A conservatee does not lose all of his or her rights.  The conservatee retains the right to be treated with understanding and respect, have his or her wishes considered, and to be well cared for.  In addition, conservatees retain the right to ask a judge to end or change the conservatorship.

There are two types of conservatorships:  conservator of the person and conservator of the estate.  A conservator of the person arranges for the conservatee’s care and protection and decides where the conservatee will live.  The conservator of the person is also in charge of health care, food, personal care, and housekeeping.  However, a conservator cannot move the conservatee out-of-state.  In addition, the conservator cannot put the conservatee in a mental health treatment facility.  A conservator may be able to move the conservatee into a special residential care facility provided certain protocol is met.

A conservator of the estate is responsible for managing the conservatee’s finances, protecting his or her income and property, compiling a list of everything in the estate, making a plan to make sure the conservatee’s needs are met, paying the conservatee’s bills, and other duties.  A conservator must remember to keep his or her own assets separate from the conservatee’s assets.

For more information on conservatorships, please visit Lonich & Patton.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Divorcing and Thinking about Adopting a Baby as a Single Parent?

Posted March 25, 2011 in Family Law by Lonich and Patton.

An article recently published in the Huffington Post discusses a new trend emerging in Hollywood:  recently divorced celebrities adopting babies.  The list of Hollywood’s recently divorced mothers with newly adopted children is growing.  Madonna adopted a child after her split from Guy Ritchie.  Sandra Bullock also adopted a child after she divorced Jesse James.  Most recently, reports circulated that suggest that Eva Longoria is looking to adopt a child after her divorce from Tony Parker is finalized.

While this trend may be growing, particularly within the celebrity community, the Huffington Post article tries to make a point: while adoption is a wonderful thing, adoption immediately following a divorce may pose a variety of difficult challenges . As any divorced person could recount, divorce is a stressful, life-changing event.  Recently divorced individuals must cope with a new lifestyle while dealing with raw emotions.  As cute as babies can be, they need ample amounts of love, attention, and patience.  As many new divorcees are running low on emotional stamina, it may be difficult for them to cope with the demanding needs of a newly adopted child.

For more information about California divorce, please contact us.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Source:

The Huffington Post


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Why You Should Get Clean: Your History of Drug or Alcohol Abuse Can Affect Your Child Custody or Visitation Rights

Posted March 24, 2011 in Family Law by Mitchell Ehrlich.

California family law requires that before child custody and visitation orders are made, a judge must take into consideration what is in the child’s best interest.  When a judge is considering what is in the child’s best interest, he or she may look at any factors that are relevant.  In addition, the judge must consider the child’s health, safety, welfare, history of physical abuse, and either parent’s habitual drug use.  If you are a parent with a substance abuse problem, it is very important that you obtain treatment for this problem so that you can provide a safe and stable environment for your children.

Before a court considers allegations accusing a parent of drug or alcohol abuse, the court may require “independent corroboration.”  This means the court may want to see written reports from law enforcement, courts, probation departments, social welfare agencies, or drug rehabilitation centers.  In addition, the court may order a parent seeking custody or visitation to undergo drug or alcohol testing.  The court may also require the parent who is tested to cover the costs of the testing.

Please contact us for more information about child custody and visitation rights and how issues of drug or alcohol abuse may affect those rights.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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New York Times Article Urges Aging Parents to Talk to Adult Children About the Potential Need for Financial Supervision

Posted March 22, 2011 in Estate Planning by Michael Lonich.

The New York Times published an interesting article advising aging parents to keep the lines of communication open with responsible, adult children.  The article points out that while it is extremely difficult for elderly parents struggling with memory loss or the onset of dementia to give up autonomy, it is important that responsible children step in to help care for their parent’s financial responsibilities.

While initiating a conversation about your parent’s possible future need for financial supervision is a challenge, the New York Times author suggests opening the dialogue in the doctor’s office.  Your family physician may be a supportive moderator of the conversation as he or she is likely aware of the dynamics of the situation.  For the full New York Times article, please click here.

In addition to talking with your parents about financial supervision, it is highly recommended that aging parents update their necessary legal documents.  If your parents are in good mental health now, it is recommended that they start thinking about who would be a good person to appoint as a power of attorney.  A power of attorney is an individual chosen to represent someone in relation to health care and property matters.  The power of attorney can act to make important decisions for the individual they are representing when that individual is unable to make those decisions for him or herself.  When selecting someone to act as a power of attorney, a person should make sure the chosen representative is responsible, loyal, and consents to acting in this capacity.

If you are interested in learning more about a power of attorney, please contact San Jose estate planning lawyers at Lonich & Patton for more information.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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