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.
Approximately half of all Americans have no estate plan -- not even a will. Many people understandably don't want to contemplate their own demise. Others assume that their family will sort things out once they're gone. Some think that they don't have enough assets to make it worthwhile.
Being named as the executor of someone's estate, or the trustee of a trust, can seem like an overwhelming responsibility. In order to avoid being overwhelmed, it is important to understand your duties as executor or trustee. While below are some of the basics concerning your new duties, the advice of legal counsel while managing an estate or a trust can be very beneficial.
Too often, people who don't have children don't have a will or other estate planning documents in place. However, in many cases, these are the people who need them the most. Even if you don't have children, you likely would prefer that other family members, favorite charities or even close friends get all of your money rather than have the government take a big chunk out of it, which could happen if you die without a will.
The estate of a Pacific Palisades man who died last summer without a will is making news. However, it's not because family members are battling with each other over his money (some $250,000 in cash alone) or other assets.