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Informative & Helpful Legal Articles
Below you will find articles on various legal topics to help you better understand your position, your options, or just to be better informed. None of these articles are intended to be legal advice, please consult your attorney for advice about your unique situation.
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Business Structure Essentials–Incorporating a Business in CaliforniaMany businesses in California reach a point where it is good practice to consider forming a separate entity to operate the business. The first question to be answered is whether the structure should be a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation, of which there are several types.
Estate Planning Essentials — Using Revocable Trusts to Avoid Probate in CaliforniaEstate Planning is one of those topics that most people do not like to think about. It makes them think about their mortality and what the future holds. So individuals who either live in or own significant property in California are often surprised to discover that once they pass away their estates are usually subject to the probate process. A probate is a court proceeding where the probate court essentially steps into the shoes of the deceased person, gathers up the assets in that person’s estate, and then distributes those assets to the persons who are supposed to receive them.
Revocable Trusts, Living Trusts, and Family Trusts: What’s the Difference?It’s common to see estate planning trusts described as a revocable trust, living trust, or family trust. These three terms describe the same thing. Each of these terms is commonly used, and each term describes a certain aspect of the most common kind of trust used today for estate planning. This article will simply use the word “trust” to talk about each of these trusts; keep in mind that there are many different kinds of trusts, each designed to accomplish different purposes.
The Outside General Counsel: A Higher Level of Legal Services for BusinessMany small and medium-sized businesses find themselves “out in the cold” when it comes to working with a business lawyer. Most of the time, it doesn’t make much sense for a small business to have an attorney on staff full-time. Attorneys are expensive, and most smaller businesses don’t have enough legal work to keep one busy full-time. The unfortunate result of this, however, is that many smaller businesses don’t get legal help when they actually do need it—before making important decisions that could have costly consequences.
Use Joint Tenancy to Pass Property to Your Children and Avoid ProbateAvoiding Probate is a major consideration that people must consider when discussing the passing of assets from one generation to the next, particularly due to tax consequences and Liability issues. Periodically, grown children of seniors will suggest that the parent add the children’s names to the title on the parent’s home. The idea is that the children would become joint tenants with the parent so that the home won’t have to go through probate when the parent passes away.
Using Online Services to Draft your Legal Documents: What They Don’t Want You to KnowMany times individuals looking to incorporate, draft trusts, form contracts, or buy and sell products and services will try to avoid hiring an attorney to help them with these projects. Countless millions of dollars have been spent, both online and in traditional media, to try to convince consumers that it’s quicker, cheaper, and easier to simply sign on to an online service, draft up the necessary documents, print them, and sign them. It’s an appealing message, especially in difficult economic times. Cut out the lawyer, save a bunch of money, and get the same results. The problem with the message, however, is that all too often it’s simply not true.
What to Look for When Choosing a Bankruptcy Firm: Avoiding Bankruptcy MillsWe recently met with a client who was finishing up a Chapter 7 bankruptcy she and her husband had started with another attorney. As the client was getting close to finishing this proceeding, her husband was sued, maliciously, by an ex-spouse who sought punitive damages against him in retaliation for him seeking to enforce a child-support order. Because punitive damages are often not dischargeable in a bankruptcy, this lawsuit threw a wrench into the works of the Chapter 7 they were almost ready to complete.
Why Living Trusts Work Even When No Legal Transfer of Ownership Takes PlaceMany years ago, the law held that any trust that had the same person as grantor, trustee, and beneficiary was void, because it was just a paper transaction and didn’t really affect the rights and responsibilities of any parties to the so-called trust. This principle was known as the “merger rule.” However, this rule has since been superseded, and is no longer in effect, provided the trust is properly drafted.
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About Morris Law Group
Attorney David R. Morris is a Certified Specialist in Estates, Trusts, and Probate, certified by the State Bar of California. Certified Specialists undergo rigorous peer review, testing, and education to certify that they are experts in their subject matter areas. Fewer than two percent of attorneys in California become Certified Specialists in any area of law—the designation serves as an indication that the attorney is skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable in the specialty area.
With offices in Sacramento and El Dorado Hills, Morris Law Group provides innovative, cost effective solutions for clients seeking to resolve and avoid problems related to their families and livelihoods. We serve individuals and business clients in the communities of El Dorado Hills, Sacramento, West Sacramento, South Sacramento, Midtown Sacramento, Natomas, Folsom, Granite Bay, Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights, Carmichael, Roseville, Cameron Park, Shingle Springs and Placerville.