Almost half of all Americans under the age of 30 do not save for retirement.  Further, there appears to be a disparity between what many millennials believe to be good financial planning, and what they practice.  According to a Wells Fargo Millennial Study conducted early in 2016:   85% of millennials say that saving for…

As this dismal election season slouches towards Gomorrah, we examine the candidates’ positions on two issues familiar to San Francisco Bay Area trust and probate attorneys—the federal estate tax and the “step up” basis rule for capital gains. The federal estate tax is a tax levied upon a person’s estate at their death.  (Some states…

Many baby boomers—the 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964—have retired or are heading toward retirement, with roughly 10,000 retiring every day.  Are they prepared?  Based on savings statistics and actuarial charts, the answer is a resounding no.  Insufficient savings and a lack of planning paint a gloomy picture for many retirees.  This means…

On April 21, 2016, Prince was found dead at his Paisley Park complex in Minnesota from an accidental overdose. With no recognized Will or established Trust, Prince left behind an estate valued between $100 – $300 million.  This estimate does not include: current and future income, including royalties from music sales after Prince’s death tickets sales…

What To Do To Make Your Passing Financially Sound Clients typically consider their estate planning at three predictable junctures in their lives: when they first have children and are concerned about who will raise them if “something happens” when their children are grown and need to be named as successor trustees when they are old,…

California’s Welfare & Institutions Code provides a series of remedies for financial abuse of those age 65 or older.  For years, financial elder abuse has been plead in investor arbitration claims against brokers and investment advisors.  Nevertheless, arbitration decisions rarely cite California’s financial elder abuse statutes as a basis for an award.  A recent arbitration…

With over 300 million guns in the hands of private citizens in America, it’s not surprising that California trustees often find themselves in the possession of firearms belonging to a deceased settlor, with the responsibility to safeguard them pending the transfer to the beneficiaries. Who’s Responsible? Anyone, including a fiduciary, can be liable for transferring…

Edge #1 The current litigation involving billionaire media magnate Sumner Redstone illustrates the point.  Mr. Redstone, age 93, owns about 80 percent of CBS and Viacom—reportedly a $40 billion media empire.  In November 2015, Mr. Redstone’s former “companion,” Manuela Herzer, challenged Mr. Redstone’s mental capacity in Los Angeles Superior Court.  Ms. Herzer alleged that Mr….

Earlier this year, FINRA released its annual Examination Priorities Letter, which offers its members a glimpse into what they can expect from examinations during the coming year. Click here for a link to the letter itself.  For firms and individuals who are members of FINRA, this annual letter can also be a guide to the…

Litigation is expensive. Although every case is different, it is not uncommon for a case that runs through trial to cost each side hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.  As a result, a litigant should always evaluate whether he or she may have a right to recover their attorney’s fees if a case…

One of the unique aspects of trust, estate, and conservatorship litigation is the fiduciary duties that one party often owes to an opposing party. These arcane terms —“fiduciary” and “fiduciary duty”— are rarely heard in everyday conversation, and yet as soon as one has the misfortune of being involved in a trust or will dispute,…

Many estate and trust litigation cases could be avoided if non-professional trustees understood the benefits of preparing a trust accounting. The Role of Trustee Trustees must make the beneficiaries aware of the existence of the trust, keep them informed of the administration, and respond to their reasonable requests for information.  The duty to account is more…

In the midst of a trust contest or other trust-related litigation, it’s easy for trustees to forget that their duties to the contesting beneficiaries continue notwithstanding the ongoing litigation.  A trustee might assume his or her position and immediately face litigation (a demand for an accounting, an emergency conservatorship, or a challenge to the trust,…

We are pleased to report a victory for one of our national broker-dealer clients in a recent decision by a panel of FINRA arbitrators in Los Angeles. Gordon Young and Graham Douds of Barr & Young arbitrated the case. In a rare 10-page reasoned opinion, the panel of three public arbitrators denied all claims alleged…

When we represent trustees, and particularly when some aspect of the trust administration may be disputed, we often advise them to manage the beneficiaries’ expectations about when they will receive their inheritance.  Many people, having heard that living trusts avoid probate, assume that a trust administration is simple, and that the trust property somehow passes…

Most people know that a defendant in a criminal case has a Constitutional right to an attorney.  Our clients are often surprised to learn that certain individuals have the right to an attorney in various “protective proceedings” under the Probate Code.  Subject to the discretion of the court, minor children in guardianship proceedings and conservatees…

A party that loses at trial in a trust or estate dispute generally has a right to appeal.  California Probate Code Sections 1300-1304 enumerate the appealable orders in proceedings governed by the Probate Code.  These sections include specific appealable orders in conservatorship, trust, and estate disputes. The time to appeal is governed by California Rule…

Although most trust, estate, and elder abuse cases eventually settle, we prepare each case as if it will go to trial.  All of the stages previously described in this series (from initial research through discovery and expert witness depositions) have the same objective — presenting the best possible case at trial. Trust and estate cases…

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