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Writing family members out of a will requires tact

A recent news story focused on a California woman who was preparing her will and deciding how to split her earthly possessions amongst her four children. Ultimately, she decided that she would exclude one of her children from receiving any inheritance. Of course, excluding a child from a will can sometimes be easier said than done.

Thomas Kinkade estate battle ends in silence

Our California readers may have read about what initially appeared to be an imminent and vicious court battle between the wife of deceased painter Thomas Kinkade and the woman who was his live-in girlfriend at the time of his death. Kinkade, whose paintings and licensing netted him millions of dollars, had not divorced his estranged wife, but also allegedly left most of his estate to his girlfriend in the form of two hand-scrawled wills of controversial origin.

Substitute teacher inherits astounding treasure of gold coins

Earlier this month a Nevada judge certified that a substitute teacher from California is the sole heir to an unexpected fortune. The fortune was left behind by a family member who was a reclusive retiree from Carson City. As the only traceable living heir, the woman will receive the entire proceeds of her deceased first cousin's estate.

Sherman Hemsley's body laid to rest after will contest

Blog readers may recall the story of deceased Hollywood sitcom star Sherman Hemsley's estate and the legal challenge from his brother that kept his body above ground for more than three months after his death. Finally, an El Paso, Texas, judge has ruled that Hemsley's will was valid, meaning that Hemsley can finally be buried in accordance with his written wishes.

Whitney Houston's estate settled after family squabble

Californians may have seen that deceased pop star Whitney Houston's estate has finally been settled. Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and singer Bobby Brown, will receive three sizeable installments from the estate as she hits certain age milestones.

Sherman Hemsley's death spurs will contest

California residents may be interested to know that the court battle over the final wishes of Hollywood personality and beloved actor Sherman Hemsley took a rather bizarre twist as a judge ordered a man claiming to be the actor's brother to undergo a DNA test. Hemsley succumbed to lung cancer in July of this year. Currently, his body remains at a funeral home as the dispute over his will continues.

Jackson family upset over administration of Michael's estate

It probably comes as no surprise to Californians that the controversy over Michael Jackson's estate remains in the headlines. The latest news comes in the form of a statement by the attorney representing Janet Jackson and other family members, alleging that the executor of Jackson's estate has damaged family relationships and created discord amongst family factions that are currently disagreeing about the handling of the estate. Jackson's last will and testament continues to be at the center of the argument, and questions as to its validity have not, and according to the statement, will not, go away.

'Living wills' for banks bear semblance to personal version

A living will is a somewhat novel concept for a corporation. The idea appears to be borrowed from personal living wills, which direct the chosen proxy and other parties to a person's health care wishes should they become incapacitated. In the same way that big bank 'living wills' are meant to prevent financial system turmoil, a personal living will can prevent turmoil and angst amongst family and loved ones in the Sacramento area.

ABA: Cheaper estate planning may lack proper requirements

During an economic downturn, people look for ways to save money. Sometimes the less expensive option turns out to cost more in the end. One technique of conserving cash that may lead to costly mistakes is pursuing the do-it-yourself approach instead of hiring professionals. This is especially true in legal areas, such as when people draft a will.

Consider the distribution of personal property in your will

Many California residents have prized personal possessions. These can include pieces from a hobby collection, such as antique china, coins or cars. Other items may have been handed down through family generations, such as a grandfather clock, a jewelry set or artwork. While some of these objects may have substantial monetary value, they likely also have a great deal of value for reasons personal to the owner.

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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