Author Archives: janndudley

Sometimes an estate goal is to effectively omit someone from the parade of beneficiaries. This type of disinheritance must be done properly to minimize the risk of litigation and maximize distributions to intended beneficiaries.

In 2010, California law added hoops to make disinheritance more difficult to withstand a contest. This law does require specific language in a bequest. California law presumes that direct heirs (children and spouses) will be provided for in one’s estate planning.  That said, California, unlike Napoleonic countries does not require this type of gift.

In California, one cannot simply omit them from their Will and/or Trust. … Read More

Wine Country has its beauty, including the many people who flock here to live. It is becoming more common for non-citizens to take up abodes here. This goes back to the founding of Sonoma heavily influenced by international residents. For those interested in a delightful historic recap consider viewing the documentary the Call of the Valley.

The question arises, how does living in the US impact the ability and strategies with estate planning? This is not an easy answer. Often factors relating to citizenship goals can drive a response. These couple with the laws of the citizenship country. For … Read More

The International Side of Estate Planning

Living in a tourist mecca attracts a worldwide community of residents. Often parents relocate from another area to be near their family here in wine country. How they do it has implications for many things, including their estates.

In the realm of estate planning, this means that issues abound relating to the interplay of domestic and international inheritance laws. To the re-locatee, these questions seem simple. To the planner, they are anything but often requiring in depth consideration of the client’s goals, assets, location and legal parameters.

Generally speaking, there are two types of succession law structures, civil and common … Read More

Delaware Statutory Trusts

A tool in California that asset protection lawyers use is a Delaware Statutory Trust, otherwise known as a DST. The mechanics are rather simple and set forth in the Delaware Statutory Trust Act. One erects the business structure with the appropriate documentary filings including the naming of non-California agents to act on behalf of the trust. These things together act to limit liability by having the official actors out of state. The out-of-state defendant is harder to involve in a California lawsuit.

The benefits include circumventing the standard California business tax and asset protection. In addition, a DST may be … Read More

Proposition 19 Impacts Family Winery Legacy

A recent legacy case illustrates how Proposition 19 impacts grandparents wishing to leave their family vineyard property to their granddaughter.

Change in the Law
Effective February 16, 2021, Prop. 19 modified the reassessment exclusion for parents and grandparents wishing to pass down their property to their children or grandchildren who were not going to live there, leaving certain estates vulnerable.

What About the Exclusion Limits?
Prior to Prop. 19, primary residences of unlimited value could be transferred avoiding reassessment up to an additional $1 million of assessed value. This also had zero requirement that the child lives at that property. … Read More

Proposition 19 & Entities

Prop 19 & Entities: Legal Update and Estate Planning Strategy

One of the major exclusions from property reassessment is the exclusion of real property that is owned by a legal entity, such as a corporation, partnership, or LLC, as provided in Revenue & Taxation Code section 64. In a nutshell, it provides that when realty is owned by a legal entity, certain changes in the ownership of the entity do not constate sale of the realty itself, unless a new person or entity gains control of the entity. For example, if real property is owned by a corporation, shares of … Read More