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Gostanian Law Group, PC
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PROBATE ATTORNEYS IN NEWPORT BEACH SERVING ORANGE COUNTY AND SURROUNDING AREAS
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Newport Beach Estate Litigation Law Blog

Cities think about conservatorships for the homeless

A new bill was passed by the California legislature, and it affects California's homeless and mentally ill. Many of these people consist of the elderly population, but they can be of any age. Formerly known as SB1045, the law would permit Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco counties to opt into a five-year pilot program expanding the existing conservatorship rules to include people with both mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Some are in favor of the law, while others claim it is a violation of civil rights.

In theory, the conservatorship option for the homeless and mentally ill seems to be a great option. Once up and running, the conservatorship would provide specific individuals, including the homeless and mentally ill, with permanent housing and medical care. Each person would have the right to a public defender and due process, including the power to petition to end or contest the conservatorship or conservator. There are a variety of requirements that would qualify a person to gain access to the conservatorship.

Why avoid probate in California?

It goes without saying that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to build financial security over one's lifetime. This includes making wise decisions financially to ensure a surplus in the end, rather than a deficit. When a loved one, like a parent, passes away, their estate may have to go through the probate process. However, there may be some reasons why a person in California would want to avoid probate.

First, it is important to understand what probate is. Probate is the process of distributing and overseeing a loved one's property after he or she passes away. The purpose of probate is to identify the heirs of the deceased, pay any debts owed and to distribute the property according to the decedent's will or through the laws of intestate succession if the decedent did not have a will or trust at the time of their death.

Help is available to those setting up a conservatorship

When it comes to the ability to care for oneself, it's a multi-faceted issue. Those in California who have suffered a health issue may no longer be able to care for themselves or their estate in the way they once could. The body fails all of us, so conservatorships can be set up to help care for loved ones and to ensure that an estate is properly managed. Dealing with a loved one's new "normal" can be jarring at first, but if organized properly, it can be manageable by those around them.

Conservatorships are different from other methods of financial planning, as they are specifically meant for those who can no longer care for themselves or their estate. They are usually employed after a sudden event, like a life changing health event or accident, that renders a person suddenly unable to care for themselves. For those you care about, there are many facets to care that loved ones may need to address. Protecting the person's estate and working on behalf of their best interests is very important.

Recognizing signs of financial elder abuse

It's important to take care of the people we care about, family members and friends. When people in California get older, they don't always have the same capabilities to care for themselves as when they were younger. That is why it is important to be aware of our loved one's health and their abilities to care for themselves when they start getting older. If you are concerned a loved one could be suffering from financial elder abuse, read on.

Financial abuse of an elder is exactly what is sounds like, the illegal or improper use of an elderly person's assets. Several aspects of a person's financial assets could be manipulated without the elder's consent or knowledge. Bank accounts, estate plans, identify theft and phone or email scams could all be involved in financial elder abuse. Here are some signs to look out for if you suspect your loved one is suffering from financial elder abuse.

California court rules on trust after sibling dispute

In a recent California case that saw trust and probate litigation, six siblings named in a trust after their parents' deaths, couldn't agree on how to move forward. Five of the siblings were in agreement to leave the funds in the trust in hopes of appreciation. One sibling disagreed and wanted to be cashed out of the trust. How the court responded is certainly new precedent for these type of trust litigation cases.

Generally, liquidating a trust can be tricky because the valuation of assets and the distribution of those assets can have costs and barriers before completion. While it's tricky, it's not impossible. The California Court of Appeals heard this case in which one of the six siblings wasn't in agreement with how to proceed with the trust left to all 6 of them. The petition filed in trial court asked for the court to determine the 6th sibling's share, as appraisals and valuations for her share came in at various amounts, which isn't unusual for an asset such as a trust.

We are your resource if seeking methods to avoid probate

The word probate just sounds formidable. Whether you have been toying with the idea of getting involved in the probate process or have concerns about the way a trust or estate is being handled, you may have heard the word 'probate' thrown around by those involved. So what is probate and how can it be avoided?

Probate is the term given to the legal process in which a person's property is transferred to other people after their death. A good will or trust ordinarily will help those affected by a loved one's passing to avoid or minimize the probate process, as well as the occasional unpleasantness that accompanies it.

How to prove negligence on behalf of a trustee?

Trusts, wills and estate plans are often made up of family members, once designated by the head of the family who may or may not be able to intervene in the day-to-day of these accounts. There could be many reasons for setting up these estate plans, trusts or other form of financial management. It could be because the originator of the estate had a certain plan for their remaining finances. It could be for the tax breaks.

Whatever the motivation behind the trust or similar estate plan, it's possible that a player in the trust may not be acting accordingly. It's possible that a trustee could even be negligent in relation to how they access, manage, utilize or oversee the trust. A trustee is a person who is a recipient to the trusts' funds. They are generally asked to appropriate the trust funds in a certain or specific way.

California laws that help to protect seniors during probate

Our elders will need loved one's help and assistance at some point. It's important to be helpful during this process, rather than a hindrance. There are laws in place to protect seniors and their estate. Because financial elder abuse happens, these bills that have been signed into law, hope to prevent it.

Did you know that isolation is considered a form of abuse? Whether isolating children, adults or the elderly, we aren't meant to be kept in isolation against our will. In 2018, Senate Bill 1191 was signed into law; it gives law enforcement jurisdiction to step in in situations in which elder abuse and isolation is happening. It also gave more voice to the face that elder abuse isn't just frowned upon, it's a crime.

Recognizing the signs of undue influence

Undue influence is an unhealthy persuasion or influence that one person can have over other, substituting the will or judgement of the manipulator for that of the victim. Seniors who are especially trusting, lonely or dependent on others tend to be especially vulnerable to undue influence. Often the manipulator is a relative or close friend of the victim, and sometimes the manipulator is someone who has been granted conservatorship or power of attorney for the victim.

Undue influence is often a factor in financial, physical or sexual senior abuse, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA). Undue influence is also one of several legal grounds for contesting a will or trust.

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