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Irvine Legal Blog

What is inheritance theft? How can you spot it or prevent it?

We have talked about inheritance theft or inheritance “hijacking” before. But many people are unsure as to what exactly constitutes theft when it comes to an inheritance.

Not everyone has been in a position to inherit a large estate or large sum of money. So much of what is acceptable and what is not remains murky. Until it happens to you. 

Handling estate disputes in Irvine

Unfortunately, some California family members have disputes and arguments with each other over the estates that have been left behind by their deceased loved ones. When these issues arise, it is important for you to act to protect your interests.

There are numerous allegations that can be made in will contests and other estate disputes. Some people may argue for a will to be declared invalid because of alleged financial exploitation of the elderly decedent. Others might argue that the testator was incapacitated when changes to a will were made or that the testator was coerced into making the alterations.

Investigation underway into music deal with Prince's estate

California residents might like to know about the latest issues involving the late singer Prince's estate. The pop star owned the rights to his works, which passed to his estate after he died. His discography includes several best-selling albums as well as unreleased songs. A deal for $31 million was made with Universal Music Group, but this agreement was rescinded in July 2017.

Warner Bros. Records released 18 Prince albums, and the deal with UMG was canceled because of possible infringement with the rights of Warner Bros. Records. However, UMG does now control worldwide merchandise and publishing for the late singer.

The duties of a trustee in California

When people set up trusts, they name trustees who will be responsible for administering the trust according to its terms. It is important for California trustees to understand their duties and to execute them correctly. Trustees who do not believe that they will be able to effectively fulfill their legally required duties on their own might want to consider getting professional help or stepping down so someone else can assume the role.

Trustees act as the managers of the assets that are held in the trusts. They are responsible for handling the assets and managing them to preserve the trusts. They are also responsible for filing trust tax documents and distributing the assets according to the trusts' provisions.

Three ways to avoid inheritance disputes

It is not uncommon for those who stand to receive less than what they were expecting from a loved one’s estate to threaten legal action to contest the validity of a will. These actions, (commonly known as will contests) are akin to a civil lawsuit where the testator’s intent is reviewed.  The awards stemming from such an action may result in a will being amended and property being redistributed.

 But just like most civil lawsuits, will contests are not resolved overnight. In fact, a settlement realized within 12 months after a suit is filed is considered fast. Contested matters that reach a judge’s verdict could take two years to decide.

Residential landlords must be proficient and detailed for success

When you are a landlord you have a tough job. You work to make a living. The work you do is also extremely important to your tenants. You provide them when a home. Their living situation is co-dependent on your success. It is a job that takes a lot of thought, time, patience and commitment. You expect your tenants to follow the rules. You look for people that will treat you and the property with respect. Tenants count on you to do the same.

There are advantages to being a landlord. You get to make an income. It’s possible that you can benefit from tax advantages. If you own the property, it is possible that your property may appreciate in value. There are of course disadvantages as well. You may be liable for certain issues and have unexpected expenses. You have to work with tenants that may cause problems, and your income relies on keeping the property filled.

Single beneficiary will inherit Carrie Fisher's vast estate

Media sources confirmed on July 10 that a single beneficiary is set to inherit Carrie Fisher's multi-million dollar estate in California. Court documents indicate that the late actress's only child, Billie Lourd, will inherit the estate and most of Fisher's belongings. According to court records, the 24-year-old Lourd will also control the rights to her mother's public image. 

Different types of guardianships

Among the least pleasant topics for California residents looking to draft a valid will and testament is that of guardianship for their minor children. Some parents may rely on the law to ensure that children enter the custody of their trusted next of kin, but even this is no guarantee that guardianships of both children and their inheritance will end up with preferred individuals. Understanding California law on guardianships and why each is necessary for the parents of minors can help protect heirs from asset disputes and other probate issues.

An estate guardianship is essential for minors who directly receive significant assets in their name. This person will be charged with carrying out orders from either the court or a valid will to invest assets, administer any disbursements and protect property. If an estate guardian is not named in the will, or the named party is unable or unwilling to serve and has no backup, the court has discretion to choose a guardian.

Mistakes to avoid when writing a will

It isn't uncommon for California residents to write their own wills. However, there are several mistakes that people tend to make when doing so without the help of an attorney. For instance, it may be possible for individuals to forget to include their family members as part of the document. While a person can give money or other assets to whoever he or she wants, close family members have the right to challenge a will.

Those who are planning on giving money to minors should avoid making a direct transfer. When this happens, a court appointed guardian must safeguard the money until the child turns 18. However, the estate has no control over the appointment, and the estate must pay for the services provided by the guardian.

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