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January 2018 Archives

How will community property play into my divorce mediation?

One of the fist questions people having during a divorce is, "Will I lose everything?" Despite how movies and TV shows might depict asset division, divorce mediation will not lead to one spouse receiving the vast majority of marital property. Divorcing couples in San Francisco can expect to receive a roughly equal portion of their marital assets.

I'm a beneficiary, can I start trust litigation?

Living trusts can play an important role in estate planning. Either revocable or non-revocable, these trusts are created during a San Francisco person's lifetime and can help avoid probate, making the time following his or her death less stressful. Unfortunately, not all living trusts are sound in nature, and trust litigation may be necessary.

Do I need to create a QDRO during divorce mediation?

Qualified domestic relations orders are commonly used documents for divorcing San Francisco couples. These documents are typically used when dividing a marital retirement plan, and allows individuals to make withdrawals for the purpose of asset division without incurring related fees or penalties. Making withdrawals without a QDRO can be costly or may even lead to the wrong beneficiary of life insurance policies receiving funds. However, a federal appellate court recently determined that a man's divorce decree could be used in place of a QDRO, which could have certain implications for the future of divorce mediation.

Divorce mediation: Can my ex take my inheritance?

Inheritances are usually much more than just a chunk of change or some old furniture passed on after a person's death. To heirs, inheritances often have significant emotional and financial value and, for some, may be one of the few links a child has to a deceased parent. However, as San Francisco couples approach divorce mediation, some may begin to worry about how their inheritance will be handled.

On the need to update your will

If you are putting together your estate for the first time, then one of the first matters you should address is your will. Many people live most of their lives -- or even their entire lives -- without a will. In the absence of a will, a person's estate goes through the traditional probate process, and that can lead to many family members and beneficiaries losing out on critical assets that they may have deserved, or even been promised.

How to challenge a trust and what to expect

It sounds like it could have come from the pages of a John Grisham novel. Rather than leaving a will, the deceased, your grandfather, created a trust. As it turned out, this trust specified just two beneficiaries for his considerable estate. Your grandfather left you—his only living relative—$100,000. However, his live-in housekeeper of the last two years is set to receive $4.75 million and controlling interest in his business.