The term "undue influence" refers to influence strong enough to abolish the free will of a person. Sadly, the undue influence over older and disabled persons is a growing problem in California and throughout the greater U.S., one that results in millions of dollars in losses to the estates of those affected. If one can prove undue influence is the reason for the transfer of assets, the amendment of an estate planning document or the extension of gifts, a judge may declare a will or trust invalid and withdraw the gifts or conveyance. For this reason, it is essential that you recognize the marks of undue influence so you can protect your loved one and your family before the influence results in substantial loss.
We represent numerous executors and estate administrators here at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo in California. Virtually all of them ask us questions about their duties and how to perform them.
Trustees have a duty to remain impartial and to administer the trust in a way that is wholly beneficial to the trustee and its beneficiaries. If your California trustee breaches his or her duty in any way, you have the option to relieve him or her from his or her role. Unfortunately, however, it is difficult to remove a trustee without just cause, unless, of course, the trustee manages your own trust. FindLaw details five grounds on which you can remove the trustee of a deceased's or incapacitated loved one's estate.
Last week we discussed the fact that when you assume the responsibilities of becoming the executor of someone’s California estate, one of your duties will be to pay the taxes owed by both the deceased person and the estate itself. This week we turn to the additional duties you likewise will need to perform.
As you likely already know, when you make a Last Will and Testament in California, in addition to naming the heirs who you want to receive your property upon your death, you also appoint an executor to carry out your wishes when the time comes. You can choose whomever you wish to act in this capacity, but before appointing someone as your executor, you should carefully consider his or her ability to do the job.
For California residents who are dealing with matters of an estate for perhaps the first time, there are a lot of good questions you likely have. Today, we'll focus on trusts, and what their benefits can be for you and your estate.
If you are like many people in California and across the United States, you created your last will and testament while you were of sound mind and body. When writing your will, you determine who you want to have your possessions and finances upon your passing. In some cases, however, there may be people who try to influence you to make drastic changes in your will, especially as you grow older. This is referred to as undue influence, and it can invalidate a will if it is found you were not making the changes and decisions on your own accord.
One reason that someone in California may have to challenge a will signed by a deceased family member is because the relative believes the will was signed or composed under undue influence. We want our loved ones to work out their estate planning with an informed and clear mind. However, this is not always the case.
Being the beneficiary of a trust set up by someone in Woodland Hills may seem like a frustrating proposition. After all, even when you are entitled to a distribution from the trust's assets, such payments often seem to be at the discretion of the trustee. Many have asked us here at The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo exactly how much control does a trustee have over distributions. Say, for example, that you are due a distribution from the trust, yet the trustee contacts you stating that their is an issue in the trust's management affecting your interests, and that the only way you will get what is coming to you is by absolving him or her of liability for it. Can he or she do that?
For many in Woodland Hills, their greatest fear may be having to be placed under the care of another. Second to that may be the concern that if they do become incapable of caring for themselves, that the person assigned as their guardian or conservator is selected solely at the discretion of the court. While it is true that California law does state that the court does have the ultimate authority to determine who should be the conservator of a person and his or her estate, it does also make room for special considerations to be given to a conservatee and his or her family.