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Los Angeles Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Marrriott heir claims he's been cut off for divorcing

Nearly everyone here in Southern California has stayed at a Marriott hotel at some point. The Marriott company is the world's largest publicly-traded hotel chain. However, all is not well with the family behind it.

John Marriott III is alleging that his father has forced him out of the business and has taken away his trust fund and essentially disowned him. He says that these actions were taken because he divorced his wife two years ago. The Marriotts are Mormons. That's a religion in which divorce is strongly discouraged.

Consider these things as you choose a guardian

As we grow older, there comes a time when it is wise to consider giving another person the authority to make important legal and financial decisions on our behalf. These individuals may have a variety of duties, depending on the needs of the person they serve, and may go by a number of titles denoting their specific obligations and privileges. For the sake of brevity, we'll address legal guardianship.

When you begin considering who should serve as your guardian, it is important to understand the kind of person who is likely to serve you well. Should you allow emotional factors or pre-existing relationships to carry too much weight as you consider your options, you may choose a guardian who does not fully meet your needs, or who may use your resources unfairly.

Secure and appraise art collections during the probate process

If you are an estate administrator tasked with the probate of an estate involving a large, expensive art collection, there are certain things that must be done in order to preserve harmony among the beneficiaries.

Paintings, sculptures and other artwork can have great sentimental as well as financial value. While not negating any of the sentimental value for the beneficiaries, estate administrators must concern themselves primarily with the market value of the collection as a whole and for each individual piece as well.

Keeping your estate plan current is essential

Having an estate plan is wise for those who want to ensure that their wishes for the dispensation of their assets are carried out after their death. With an estate plan, you can also designate who will make decisions regarding legal, financial and health matters for you if you are unable to do these things for yourself.

Business owners should have a particular interest in having an estate plan in place in order to ensure that their business transfers to the person(s) they choose after death and that it continues to run as they would like regardless of what happens to them.

Should I use an attorney when making a will?

When you begin considering making a will, you may consider a number of different ways to go about it. Some people choose to simply make wills on their own, many of which meet the requirements needed to hold up in court. However, involving an attorney has a number of benefits you may have yet to consider.

A will can only provide guidance in the areas where you make your wishes known. The reasons you have for creating a will may be perfectly good reasons, but they may also completely ignore areas of interest that you simply don't know about. Enlisting help from an attorney ensures that you'll have professional guidance through all of the areas where a will is generally useful, including issues you might otherwise miss entirely.

Potential problems for those executing powers of attorney

A loved one named you as the agent (also known as an attorney-in-fact) for his or her power of attorney (POA). Now the time has come for you to act on your designated responsibilities.

When the person is no longer able to take care of his or her affairs, this role is crucial. That's why it's essential to get an agent's permission before you make that designation and ensure that they understand the responsibilities involved.

Understand the challenges of serving as an executor

When creating an estate plan, there will come a point when you need to think long and hard about whom you name as the executor. While you may have many options, you need to make a final decision at some point.

The first thing you should do is consider the many steps that the executor will need to take upon your passing. Once you do this, you may find that some people are better suited for this task than others.

How can you prevent battles over your estate plan?

Recently, we discussed no contest clauses in wills. We noted that when people are found to have a legitimate reason to believe that all or part of a will should be contested, they can challenge it without fear of losing whatever inheritance they were given.

If you want to help ensure that your family and others don't contest your will, a no contest clause can provide a deterrent. Many people don't want to risk being left out of an estate altogether, which could happen if their contest isn't deemed to be legitimate.

What are your options when you inherit a home?

Your great aunt died, and you learn that because you were always her favorite, she left you her home. That may sound like an unexpected bit of good fortune amid the grief of losing a loved one. However, home ownership isn't all it's cracked up to be -- particularly if the house is old, in disrepair and/or simply not where you want to live.

Before you decide what to do, take a look at the property, particularly if you haven't seen it in some time. It may no longer be the anything like your childhood memories of it. Then, you need to consider your options.

5 considerations if you're the executor of an estate

Being the executor of a loved one's estate is no easy task and it's a very big responsibility. These responsibilities could feel overwhelming to the average California resident, especially if you've never served as an executor before.

Consider the following if you've been tasked with being the administrator or executor for a deceased loved one's estate.

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