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FINRA Proposes New Rules Designed To Protect Elderly Investors

February 21st, 2017

The Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) has recently submitted to the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission a rule change proposal designed to provide more protection for elderly investors. As recently reported by the Investment News, the new rules modify FINRA’s rules that require its members to maintain the confidentiality of their customer’s financial information.  According to FINRA, the new rules are…

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Regulators Crackdown On RIAs Employing Advisors Previously Barred By FINRA

November 20th, 2017

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) oversees broker-dealers and their licensed registered representatives.  FINRA rules surrounding U-4 and U-5 filings require FINRA members to report customer complaints, regulatory investigations and, under some circumstances, conduct outside of the workplace.  FINRA mandated reporting provides important information primarily to three constituencies:  (1) investors who seek information about their investment advisors; (2) prospective employers…

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Probate Code 15305: Support Creditor’s Claim Against a Spendthrift Trust

February 21st, 2017

Many California living trusts contain a “spendthrift clause”— a clause designed to protect trust assets from claims made by a beneficiary’s creditors.  Spendthrift provisions commonly include a “shutdown clause,” which stops payments to a beneficiary during any time that the trust could be subject to creditors’ claims.  A recent decision held that under California Probate…

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Exclusion of Expert Report That Exceeds Scope of Evidence Code §730 Appointment

February 21st, 2017

This article discusses three ways to attack the report of an Evidence Code §730 expert when the expert’s report goes beyond the scope of the expert’s §730 appointment. California probate court judges frequently appoint “730 experts” in conservatorship and trust proceedings.  A 730 expert is an expert appointed by the court under California Evidence Code…

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Mental Capacity: A Double-Edged Sword (Cont.)

February 21st, 2017

In early June, we published an article outlining the legal case of Mr. Redstone, age 93, who owns about 80 percent of CBS and Viacom—reportedly a $40 billion media empire.  In that article, we described how mental capacity claims can be a double-edged sword, with contradicting claims being made by his business partner, Mr. Dauman,…

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My Inheritance Was Adeemed! (Or What Happens When Your Dad Leaves You His House, But Sells It Before He Dies)

February 21st, 2017

In plain language, ademption is what occurs in the situation described in the title of this article:  A will leaves a particular piece of real or personal property (e.g., a house, car, dog, watch) to a specific individual, but the item is not in the decedent’s estate at his death.  (Perhaps the decedent crashed the…

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Probate Code 16004.5: Release of Trustee’s Liability

February 21st, 2017

At the conclusion of a trust administration, trustees sometimes ask beneficiaries to acknowledge receipt of their final distribution and release the trustee of liability.  While seeking a release is permitted under California Probate Code Section 16004.5, the release must be given voluntarily by the beneficiary.  This article discusses Section 16004.5 in the context of Bellows…

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A Trustee’s Reasonable Reserve

February 21st, 2017

In a trust administration, a “reserve” is money the trustee retains for a period of time after the trustee believes the trust administration is complete. The key here is the world believes, because sometimes, when it seems all the work is done—property sold, tax returns filed, taxes paid, creditors’ claims extinguished, and beneficiaries’ gifts distributed—things…

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Death of a Conservatee

February 21st, 2017

A general conservatorship usually continues until the conserved person (called the “conservatee”) dies. Courts and conservatorship attorneys avoid the term “permanent conservatorship” because it suggests that the conservatee will never regain their independence. However, in most cases—particularly those involving elderly conservatees—that’s exactly what happens. The article addresses the termination of conservatorships upon the death of…

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Millennials – Saving by the Numbers

November 20th, 2017

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…

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Trump v. Clinton on Estate Taxes

November 20th, 2017

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…

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Baby Boomers – By the Numbers, Retirement Looks Bleak

November 20th, 2017

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…

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Prince’s Estate Dispute

November 20th, 2017

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…

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Your Final Estate Plan

February 21st, 2017

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,…

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Financial Elder Abuse In California Securities Arbitrations

November 20th, 2017

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…

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How to Transfer Firearms to Trust Beneficiaries

November 20th, 2017

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…

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We often warn clients that mental capacity is a double-edged sword

November 20th, 2017

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….

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FINRA’s 2016 Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter—Emphasis on Culture

November 20th, 2017

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…

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