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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Wills Archives

The importance of keeping your will up to date


People in California may have seen a recent editorial in Forbes about the common and potentially costly mistake many people make when it comes to estate planning and preparing a will. Many people relax after they have prepared and executed their will, but whether they know it or not, a simple change of circumstance could potentially render the best-laid plans null, or even direct that the assets go to the wrong person.

Gore Vidal leaves estate to Harvard, disinherits family


Californians may be familiar with the late author and noted liberal thinker Gore Vidal, who passed away last year and left his entire multi-million dollar estate to Harvard University, completely eschewing his family members and relatives by leaving them nothing. But now, Vidal's half-sister is challenging the validity of his will, claiming he was not of sound mind when he made the controversial will.

Rock icon Lou Reed leaves inheritance to loved ones


People in California and all over the United States mourned the death of rock-and-roll visionary Lou Reed, who died last month after a hard-fought bout with liver disease. Reed, who was best known as the front man for the legendary art-rock outfit The Velvet Underground, as well as his solo career, died peacefully and with his affairs settled.

Inheritance fights bring out worst in California families


Many families in California who have dealt firsthand with the death of a loved one may understand all too well the trouble that can arise when a family squabbles over inheritance. The situation can be a perfect storm of emotions. Relatives are dealing with funeral arrangements, worrying about the deceased's last will and testament, and of course, coping with the loss of a loved one and it can be simply too much for people to handle all at once. These are just some of the reasons why family arguments about inheritance can be so painful. People have been known to suffer serious health problems as a result of this stress, including heart attacks, nervous breakdowns and even strokes.

Marilyn Monroe photographer's will in tense challenge


People in California may have seen a recent news article about the man who was responsible for some of the most iconic fashion photography of the 1960's, and the fate of the fortune he allegedly left to his children. Bert Stern, the man who snapped some of the raciest photos of Marilyn Monroe only weeks before her death, left two competing wills, and a potential court battle between his three children and his wife at the time of his death. He died approximately three months ago, leaving quite a bit of uncertainty as to who will eventually inherit.

Disinheriting a family member can be a delicate balancing act


Problems can arise when a child or other family member in California is excluded from the will of a deceased loved one. This situation is becoming more and more commonplace in recent years, as more and more people in the "baby boomer" generation inherit money from their dying loved ones. A study has shown that baby boomers could inherit an estimated $8.4 trillion. With so much money changing hands, it's no wonder that some people are feeling deeply slighted when their loved one forgets them or intentionally excludes them from their will.

Same-sex marriage still up in the air

Same-sex couples and domestic partners in California may have something to worry about as they wait to hear how the Supreme Court's rulings may determine whether Proposition 8 will go into effect. In addition to this impending landmark decision, the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is under court scrutiny at the same time.

Murder victim's alleged lover challenges his estate

Last month the estate proceedings in the case of a murdered Silicon Valley mogul took another interesting twist, when the man's lover filed a petition seeking half of his estate. The Silicon Valley man was killed during a vicious home invasion last November, during which money and valuables were stolen and his wife was brutally beaten.

Deceased woman's donated clothes contain hidden treasure

People in California may have heard an interesting and amusing story about a woman who discovered a treasure trove of $100 bills in the pockets of the clothing of an 85-year-old woman who had recently died. The woman found some $30,000 in currency in the clothing, which had been given to her by family members of the deceased.

Court weighs in on James Brown's will and estate turmoil

California residents may have seen the recent headlines about the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and the turmoil surrounding his substantial estate since his death in 2006. Brown died at the age of 73 and left behind an estate purportedly worth anywhere between $5 million and $100 million. Up until late last month, his estate was the subject of numerous legal challenges from family members and people claiming to be family, but a court ruling may have finally settled the issue for good.

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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