"What is an Estate?" This question, while appearing simple on its face, generates a few other questions. The word is used in so many contexts - estate planning, estate trust, testate estate, intestate estate, estate accounts, estate homes, estate personal representatives, estate administrators and estate executors. So, let's start with its meaning within the context of a probate estate. An estate is testate if the person has a will at the time of death and intestate if the person died without a will.
The power of trustees should not be underestimated. It is said that power can be intoxicating. Some grow with its possibilities and some swell with pride and arrogance. Those who swell may act like potentates whose power can be exercised arbitrarily and without explanation. When queried for reasoning behind a decision, their answer might mimic a parent's answer to a young child's question - "Because I said so!" While this might end a parent-child discussion, it is offensive to an adult trust beneficiary whose parent invested love, thought, time and money in establishing a trust for the benefit of her children, not a trustee.
You're the beneficiary of a trust in California. You want to ensure that the distribution of trust assets is smooth and timely. And while the chances are good that distribution to beneficiaries will go off without a hitch, there is still potential trouble to look out for. What are the top five factors to keep in mind if you're the heir to an estate and are concerned about a bad trustee or possible trust litigation?
You learn that you have been named as a beneficiary of a trust. Many questions come to mind. What's next? What are my rights? It helps to start with a few basics about trust structures, their creation and their managers.
Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, made his professional debut at the age of 6 as a member of the musical group his older brothers started called the Jackson 5. He spent nearly his entire life in the public eye, and by the time he died in June 2009 at the age of 50, he was one of the most famous and successful recording artists of the 20th century. His album Thriller sold an astonishing 66 million copies and is said to be the best-selling album of all time. As proof of his enduring legacy, Jackson's estate earned $825 million in 2016 alone and more than $2 billion since his death 10 years ago.
Disinheritance is emotionally and financially troubling. It shatters long-held family expectations.