Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TRUST AND YOUR PROPERTY – IN WHOSE NAME SHOULD THE HOMEOWNERS POLICY BE WRITTEN?


Lynn A. Dean
Estate Planning Attorney
Today, many families are learning that with a proper estate plan, they can use revocable trusts to avoid probate and pass property to their heirs. Probate is the legal process that distributes personal assets after someone dies. It can take months and be costly - fees are set by law.  A Trust provides assurance that probate will be avoided, provided that the property has transferred to the Trust with a quitclaim deed, recorded with the county.   Trusts are becoming increasingly popular, and we are always on the look-out for changes in law or matters that affect the estate plan.  Most recently, a homeowner’s personal line policy became an issue and was brought to our attention.  


The client had his estate plan created many years ago and all his property, including out of state rental property, had been transferred to the name of his Trust.  His property management company did not inform him that the tenant’s renter’s insurance had lapsed. Friends of the renters were staying at the home.  They had more friends over for a party and one of them was bitten by a dog, fainted and taken to the ER by ambulance. The victim of the dog bite is now suing the people that own the dog, the management company and the owner of the property.  Since our client’s property is in a Trust, the insurance company won’t cover the owner because they say the owner and the Trust are separate entities.  This is not something insurance agencies have advertised well. Agents don’t typically question the homeowner about the title being in a Trust upon renewal. This issue may go unnoticed until a claim is made. 


THE BOTTOM LINE is you must contact your insurance company to see what their recommendations are and what they require from you to insure both Trust and individual(s). Each company is unique.  Most insurance companies prefer to have the policy in the name of an individual (someone in the trust) and then to add the living trust as an additional insured. This method is preferred because insurance companies do not want to provide worldwide liability for a trust. By having the trust as additional insured it only provides liability at the location insured. It covers the interests of both the individual(s) and the Trust. In addition, you have not taken away needed liability coverage from the individuals or extended overly broad coverage to the Trust.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Estate Planning - What you don't know can hurt you!

Lynn A. Dean
Estate Planning Attorney
People tend to think estate planning is only for the elderly or for those who have accumulated wealth and assets.  This is far from the truth.  Take for example, a young couple with two young children where the parents are unexpectedly involved in a fatality.   They have no estate planning documents.  During a time of great tragedy, difficult decisions will need to be made but without any guidance.  Here are some outcomes: 
  1. LACK OF DIRECTION: If there are no advanced health care directives to tell the survivors their funeral wishes or whether they wanted to be organ donors, the family will have to make all the decisions in a time of crisis.
  2. UNCERTAINLY: If there is no designation of a guardian for the children, the person who gets to court first tells the judge who to pick.  There may be disputes within the family about this.   
  3. EXPENSE: Each parent’s estate will have to go through Probate doubling the expenses associated with probate costs. The children will require guardians. This is also a legal process done through the court system. Any monies left by the parents will go to the children, as a result of laws of intestate (without a will) succession.  The assets will be set aside for the children in blocked accounts, until the children turn 18. In order to access the funds for them, the guardians will need a court order (another legal process).

The purpose of Estate Planning is to provide a smooth, efficient and correct transition of an estate, big or small, at any age.  Take the time to plan and protect your family and your assets by contacting The Law Office of Lynn A. Dean.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lynn A. Dean Voted Best of the Best Attorney


The Roseville/Granite Bay Press Tribune announced last night that Lynn A. Dean, Estate Planning Attorney, was named “Best of The Best” from reader’s votes.  

Lynn Dean has specialized in Estate Planning and Elder Law since 1996.  A 1980 graduate of McGeorge School of Law, she established her own law firm in 1986.

With more than 30 years of experience and a capable team of professionals, Lynn has earned the confidence of many clients. She often addresses community groups on Estate Planning topics and is frequently appointed on conservatorship matters by the courts of both Placer and Sacramento counties. Lynn has been featured in the “Ask the Expert” column in the Sacramento Bee, and was voted Best of the Best by the readers of the Roseville Press Tribune in 2010. The readers of Style Magazine have voted her their favorite attorney in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

What compels people to nominate Lynn A. Dean as their favorite attorney year after year in readers’ surveys? 

“We pride ourselves in providing clients with focused attention that meet their personal needs, while protecting their financial interests,” explained Lynn.  “Estate Planning is becoming increasingly complex and a misstep could prove devastating.  We cut through the confusion   and counsel people through the process with compassion and expertise.”  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Estate Planning Will Save You Time and Money!



Estate Planning Will Save You Time and Money! This is the topic Lynn A. Dean, Estate Planning Attorney, will be presenting at The Terraces of Roseville, 707 Sunrise Ave, Roseville, CA on July 29 at 10:00 AM.  She will be discussing Trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney and Probate. This is an opportunity for guests to ask questions and receive helpful information.  Lynn Dean enjoys sharing her expertise on Estate Planning and Elder Law. She is frequently requested to speak around the community. For more information click here:  Speaking Engagements.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Probate - What you want to avoid

Lynn A. Dean,
Estate Planning Attorney
Probate is the legal process that distributes personal assets after someone dies. If there is a Will that describes specific assets, intended beneficiaries, and an executor who will make decisions on behalf of the deceased person, the job of the executor is to carry out the instructions contained in the Will. The executor is responsible for paying debts and distributing assets according to instructions detailed in the Will.

When there are no documents, such as a revocable trust, the estate cannot be managed either during life or at death without the assistance of the court system. The court process is time consuming and expensive.  Even when a couple is married, the spouse cannot act on behalf of the other spouse if there are no documents, unless the spouse’s name is on the asset. The estate will pass to the surviving children, but only through the probate process, which will take a minimum of 6 months.

At the Law Office of Lynn A. Dean, we can establish your estate plan so you can have peace of mind that your loved ones will not be spending time and money on Probate costs.  Probate fees are set by law and can include fees for: Executor, Attorney, Probate Referee, Court filing, fees, and certified documents.  Download our Probate fee sample by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Estate Administration - Each Situation is Unique

Lynn A. Dean
Estate Planning Attorney
People often express embarrassment not knowing the Q & A’s of their aging loved one’s estate.  The truth is most people are caught off guard, are bereaving or are detached from the intimate knowledge of their loved one’s daily life, financial matters or last wishes.  There isn't a book or resource we would recommend on this topic because each situation is unique.  A number of questions need to be answered, including: 
  • Does the person have a Trust or a Will? Did they designate beneficiaries on their accounts?
  • What are their debts? 
  • What are their assets?
If there is a death and you consult an attorney regarding trust administration, the attorney will provide you with a checklist of the things that need to be done. You and the attorney can decide who will take on the responsibility for each of the tasks. 

The administration of an estate through the probate process will take a minimum of six months and can take as long as several years, depending on the complexity. The administration of a trust is generally a shorter process, but there are specific notices that need to be sent to the beneficiaries, which allow them 120 days to contest the terms of the trust. The trustee still has to preserve the assets of the estate during that time period, which means the trustee is responsible for paying the bills. 

I am not trying to make it seem complicated, but there are a lot of things that happen during the administration of an estate. You will be best served by working with a team of professionals (an attorney, a CPA, and a financial planner), who can guide you through the process based upon their experience in these matters.