Articles and Publications
Things to Consider with a Power of Attorney
Burstein Law Firm founding partner Michael Burstein authored an article published in the July 2012 edition of ExpertBeacon titled, "Things to Consider with a Power of Attorney." The article discusses what you should and shouldn't do when dealing with a power of attorney. Attorney Burstein explained that you should understand what you are signing; how to select the most appropriate person; and how to decipher the different types of power of attorney. Further, Attorney Burstein detailed what not to do, including not to: sign anything unless you understand the legal documents; sign more than one power of attorney; select someone with financial problems, and lastly, never to sign without consulting an attorney.
Helping You through Probate
Michael Burstein, founding partner at Burstein Law, authored an article published on May 25, 2012 in Expert Beacon titled, "Helping You through Probate." This article examins the do's and don'ts of probate law. Attorney Burstein explained that it is important to first determine if there is a will or a trust and what assets the decedent had. Once an executor or administrator of the estate has been determined, it becomes their job to ensure that the estate's assets are distributed correctly. Attorney Burstein discusses that probate can be a tricky process depending on the value of the assets in the estate, the debts owed and the number of people involved.
Lifting the Curtain on Estate Planning
Michael Burstein, Burstein Law founding partner, authored an article published in the February 2, 2012 edition of the Daily Journal titled, "Lifting the curtain on estate planning." The article examines the causes of trust and estate litigation and outlines ways to contest a testamentary document. Attorney Burstein explains that when someone feels unfairly treated by the terms of a will or trust, they are likely to sue. Litigation can also arise when parents remarry, bringing up issues of which set of children should be favored by the will or trust. He stated that California also recently amended its laws regarding a bequest from a testator to caregiver, making it critical for attorneys to be familiar with Probate Code Sections 21350-21356. Wills and trusts can be challenged by showing lack of capacity, undue influence, duress, menace, fraud or mistake.
Burstein Law founding partner Michael Burstein authored an article published in the November 2011 edition of California Lawyer titled, "The Caregiver Statute." The article discusses the rules a testator must follow in order to legally make a bequest in a will or trust to a non-related caregiver. Prior law required a testator to obtain from a second attorney a "Certificate of Independent Review" when making a gift to a caregiver. Attorney Burstein explains that, "Without a certificate, it has been extremely difficult to validate a gift to a caregiver because the determination requires 'clear and convincing' evidence above and beyond the testimony of the drafting attorney and the benefited caregiver." Amendments to the Probate Code took effect in January 2011 that allow the attorney drafting the will or trust to execute the certificate of independent review, but can also possibly make previously executed certificates signed prior to these changes invalid.
Advance Health Care Directives
Under California law, you have the right to state your wishes regarding the types of health care you want (and the types you do not want). An “Advance Health Care Directive” lets your family, friends, and physician(s) know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or do not want at the end of life, your desire for diagnostic testing, surgical procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and organ donation.
IRA Legacy Trusts
Over sixty percent of inherited money is spent within less than three years. Until now, parents have generally left their tax deferred retirement accounts to their beneficiaries (usually their child or children) outright. There have not been any restrictions or parameters placed on the account. This frequently leads to unintended consequences, and can be avoided with an IRA Legacy Trust.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal instrument in which one person, the “Principal” delegates legal authority to another person, the “Agent” or “Attorney-in-Fact”. The Agent has the legal authority to make property, financial and other legal decisions on behalf of the Principal and in so doing, binds the Principal.
The Probate Process in California
While most people engage in Estate Planning to avoid probate, sometimes it is unavoidable! In California, the process has been created to be as efficient and fair as possible, transfer assets to heirs/beneficiaries and creditors, if any. However it is a time consuming and can be an expensive process.
Wills and Living Trusts
Wills and Living Trusts are the foundation of Estate Planning. That being said, it is often useful to understand what they accomplish and what they cannot do. It is always helpful to have an understanding of their characteristics and attributes.