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December 2016 Archives

Understanding what happens in probate court

When Californians die, many will have large portions of their estates go through the probate process in order for their assets to be distributed and their debts to be repaid. The probate process may be fairly complex, but it involves some specific steps that will happen before the estates will be closed.

Special needs trust: Advantages and disadvantages

Many California couples have children with special needs and wonder how they can ensure that their children will be taken care of after they die. One option that is popular is a special needs trust. There are both advantages and disadvantages to these vehicles that should be considered.

Considering alternatives to tenancy in common

Some people in California may put off doing their estate planning. When they finally get around to making a will, they might simply write that they want their assets divided equally between their heirs. This can create a problem if the person owns a piece of property such as a ranch or a home. The heirs will become tenants in common. The type of ownership means that all owners must unanimously agree about what they want to do with the property.

Immigration status and inheritance

A married person in California may create an estate plan that transfers all or most of their assets to their surviving spouse. If a deceased person's surviving spouse is an undocumented immigrant, the estate plan can still function the same way. Undocumented immigrants in the United States can own real estate and other assets. In fact, 35 percent of undocumented or unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. own homes.

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