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.
Less than a year after the sudden death of Alan Thicke, the popular actor's two sons are embroiled in a legal battle with Thicke's widow over his living trust and the terms of his prenuptial agreement with his third wife. The 69-year-old, perhaps remembered by most people as the affable dad on the 1980s comedy Growing Pains, suffered a ruptured aorta while he was playing ice hockey in Burbank last December.
Many of our readers recall the bitter dispute between Casey Kasem's wife and his adult children in the year prior to his death. The former American Top 40 host was suffering from Lewy body dementia, among other medical conditions.
A debilitating injury or illness can occur at any time, even to young and seemingly-healthy people. When people are no longer able to look after their own interests, whether due to dementia or some other condition, and they don't have an estate plan designating someone to do so in their stead, it may be necessary to set up a conservatorship.
In California, married couples have what's known as a spousal fiduciary duty to one another under the state's Family Code. According to the code, the marital relationship "imposes the duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take unfair advantage of the other."
When a family member dies, even the closest of siblings can become estranged, especially when money or property is at stake. Probate issues have a way of bringing out siblings' stubbornness and reviving contentious emotional discussions as well. Because most siblings don't find themselves involved in probate litigation until they reach their 50s or 60s means that there's a lot of emotional baggage.
If you have a responsibility for someone's estate, whether that person is still alive or has passed away, you are likely a fiduciary. A fiduciary's specific title may be power of attorney, trustee, executor, conservator or agent.
Choosing someone to manage a trust is one of the most significant estate planning decisions you'll make. This is particularly true if you've set up a trust to provide for family members, both while you're still alive and after you're gone.
The duty of a trustee is to manage the assets in a trust in accordance with the terms designated for the benefit of the trust's beneficiaries.
A recent blog touched on the topic of getting a parent to accept that he or she can no longer live alone and requires the care assisted living can provide. This entry will delve deeper into the topic while detailing how adult children can get an accurate - yet informal -assessment and evaluation of their parent's cognitive state.