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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Estate Administration and Probate Archives

Ca couple discovers marriage never recorded 48 years later

A couple from Redlands, California, recently made an interesting discovery about the marriage that they thought they had shared for nearly half a century. As the two were preparing their wills and collecting estate planning documents, they could not find their marriage license from their nuptials in 1964. After contacting the county for a copy, they realized that the pastor who conducted the wedding had never filed the license with the county office, meaning that the two had never actually been legally married.

Ease family tension and avoid probate with an estate plan

A recent article about California estate law and probate highlighted the importance of estate planning for a number of reasons, whether or not a person has substantial assets. While most people may be uncomfortable thinking, and even planning, for their death and the distribution of their property, they should take the time to address these issues. Avoiding probate, saving many thousands of dollars and preventing family tumult are several reasons why a person should have a current estate plan.

Hopper's child gets large portion of his estate through a trust

California movie fans mourned the 2010 death of iconic actor Dennis Hopper. Since his passing, however, various issues have clouded the administration of his estate. Hopper was married five times throughout his life and was in the process of divorcing his fifth wife at the time of his death.

Michael Jackson's children's trust funds still unsettled

California residents and readers of this blog have probably seen coverage of the controversy surrounding the estate of Michael Jackson. Three years after his death, however, much more remains to be done in the probate of his estate.

Battle over Kinkade estate hinges on validity of will

Readers of the blog and California residents have probably seen the coverage of the fight between the girlfriend and estranged wife of deceased painter Thomas Kinkade. The two women are both claiming their supposed rights to their share of the famous artist's estate, and the winner may be decided by the court's decision on the validity of a handwritten will brought forth by Kinkade's live-in girlfriend.

Does state law unjustly punish estate administration challengers?

For many people, avoiding probate is a good idea. A recent controversy about state laws now provides yet another reason for doing so through careful estate planning. A recent article about California estate administration laws brought up an interesting Catch-22 in the process of administering a disabled or elderly person's estate. In California, unlike most other states, the law allows attorneys who are appointed by the court as trustees of the estate to bill hours spent defending their fees against when the amount of the fees is challenged. The rule has been applied even when the fees are challenged by the beneficiary of the estate. State lawmakers have now assigned a task force to investigate and, if necessary, change California estate administration law.

Parental legislation could affect estate planning in California

A new bill being considered by the California State Legislature could produce some interesting side effects in the area of wills, trusts and probate administration. The bill, however, is primarily concerned with family law matters and seeks to eliminate the legal mandate that a judge consider no greater than two people to be the legal parents of a child.

Thomas Kinkade estate controversy proceeds in probate court

The controversy surrounding the estate of painter Thomas Kinkade, including his palatial mansion in Monte Sereno, California, will continue as the court begins probate proceedings early next month. Among the issues at the heart of the controversy are the validity of claims made by Kinkade's live-in girlfriend and the documents that she claims express Kinkade's desires for the division of his property. The case provides for excellent celebrity drama, but also serves as a cautionary tale for those who may not recognize the advantages of avoiding probate.

Michael Jackson still makes money, 18 months after his death

The death of Michael Jackson may have been a huge loss to the music world, but not even death could stop him, or his estate, from making money. Through clever estate administration, Jackson and his lawyers were able to secure a solid financial future for Jackson's mother and children. Now, approximately 18 months after his death, the King of Pop is continuing to provide for his family.

In Jobs we trust: What we can learn from Steve Jobs' estate

Many people seem to believe that the term "estate planning" doesn't apply to them. To those people, only the rich and famous need to worry about intricacies of estate planning, because only they have estates worth making a plan for. That's simply not true. Average Americans from California to New York can profit by thinking ahead toward avoiding probate. One way to do that is to establish a trust.

My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.

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