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Ann Saponara
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How Much Does Probate Cost?

HOW MUCH DOES PROBATE COST IN CALIFORNIA? Attorney & Personal Representative Compensation For Ordinary Services  The personal representative and the attorney are each allowed compensation for their services.  Unless the Will makes special provision for compensation, “ordinary” services is fixed by California statute and is based upon the overall value of the estate.  This value Read More

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TIPS FOR TESTIFYING IN A DEPOSITION OR IN COURT

TIPS WHEN HAVING YOUR DEPOSITION TAKEN OR WHEN TESTIFYING IN COURT Always tell the truth. Understand the question.  If you do not understand it or if the question is confusing, say so. Listen to the question and take a moment to consider your answer, and make sure you are answering only the question asked. Do not get angry. If shown a document, Read More

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Groucho Marx’s estate planning mishaps

Groucho Marx was a great character.  Here in Fremont, his movies are still shown at the Niles Essanay Museum on Saturday nights (https://www.nilesfilmmuseum.org).  Less happy & lesser known is that Groucho Marx got caught up in a conservatorship proceeding in probate court when he became older. Conservatorships, sometimes also called guardianship proceedings, can happen not just Read More

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Aren’t I Covered by a ‘Transfer on Death’ Designation on My Accounts?

Not necessarily.  A trust is a better way to control who gets what when you pass away.  A ‘Transfer on Death’ (called a “TOD”) or a ‘Payable on Death’ (“POD”) designation on your checking, savings and brokerage accounts is a good idea if you do not have a trust but having a trust is an Read More

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If My Spouse & I Set Up a Trust Years Ago To Avoid Estate Taxes, Should We Revisit That?

Yes, you should.  Many people who established trusts before 2010 have what is called an “A/B Trust” and they do not realize they want to switch to more flexible revocable trust that is less cumbersome on the suriving spouse to adminster.  A/B trusts require the surviving spouse to split the trust into two when first Read More

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Is a Will Good Enough?

Yes, if you have assets that do not exceed $150,000.  But if you have assets that exceed that, your estate will have to be probated.  Probate Court is time consuming and expensive.  It serves an important role in our society of distributing an estate’s assets but most people would like to avoid it if they can.  And your heirs can if Read More

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