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Lost Will in California Probate

Unfortunately a lot of people misplace their will, and/or trust, before they die.  They know it’s important and thus hire a California estate planning attorney to draft the necessary documents.  After they sign their documents their lawyer often gives them the original to put in a safe place. Then what…. Well, that’s the $64,000 question of course.  Put it in a safe or fire box? Put it in the bank safe deposit box? Leave it with the lawyer?  Give it a friend? There are so many options and thus so many possibilities of where the document might be after death. If you can’t find a loved one’s will here are some thoughts: 1) Check the real estate records to see if the house is in a trust.  An attorney, with access to title records, can look into this for you. 2) Contact loca
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The ABC’s of ABC… TRUSTS in California

Estate planning attorneys love acronyms.   Or maybe I should say WJLT… we just love them.  AB, ABC, ABCD, Q-TIP, Q-DOT, GRAT, GRUT, CRUT, CRAT, ILIT, GRIT, FLiP, and I could go on and on.  However, the ABC trust is a standard estate planning device and is really pretty simple. In the simplest terms an ABC trust is a trust that divides into 3 shares at the first spouse’s death. Can you guess what the shares are often called?  Yes, “A Trust,” “B Trust,” and “C Trust.”  Or sometimes “Trust A,” “Trust B,” and “Trust C.”  Or sometimes “Survivors Trust,” “BY-Pass Trust” and “Family Trust.” The A Trust is completely revocable and amendable by the surviving spouse typically. It’s THEIR money. The B Trust is IRREVOCABLE (it can NOT be changed) and
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Selecting an estate lawyer

I am helping a friend of a friend who needs an attorney in the Long Island, New York area. I contacted a law school classmate, who is in that area, to see if he knew someone out there. That is always my first move when I need to help someone find counsel in another area; contact trusted friends. However, in this case he can’t help me so what do I do next?  Frankly I probably try to find someone like me.  Small firm, experienced, highly credentialed and friendly. I start with a web search. I go to websites like avvo.com and lawyers.com which are highly reputable lawyer websites. I look for highly rated attorneys in, or near, that area.  On Avvo.com I like for an attorney who is rated “10.0″ like I am as it’s their highest rating.  On lawyers.com I look for an attorney who is
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Talking about Death

I did get an A in Professor Kriswell’s pysch class in college but I am certainly no psychologist.  However, after 18 years of doing estate planning I am pretty familiar with the topic of death and dying. I am familiar with common thought patterns, common thoughts and also the divergence of thoughts on the topics of death and dying.  Though a lot of people have similar views there are a lot of people with wide ranges of ideas and thoughts. I am extra introspective today as I deal with a close friend who is dying. Talking to him about his impending death makes one think even deeper about this already deep topic. Being able to talk to an estate planning attorney about death and dying is good. It helps make your estate plan, your trust, your wills, your powers of attorney, and the rest
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