How to Know You Selected the Right Trust Administration Attorney 

 

Trust administration is the management of property after the settlor’s death according to the trust document’s terms and for the benefit of the beneficiaries. It can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and confusing. That’s why an experienced trust administration attorney is recommended to help trustees navigate the process and understand their obligations. 

Here at the Law Offices of David W. Knecht, we have extensive experience in assisting with the administration of trusts. Read on to learn about some of the most important characteristics of a good trust administration attorney!

  • Thoroughly explains your duties as trustee: The main challenge for a trustee is that they have ethical responsibilities in handling another’s financial affairs, but they often are first-time trustees and do not know what is required and expected of them. In the worst case scenario, an inexperienced trustee will end up personally liable for mistakes. The best way to prevent that from happening and to achieve success with the trust is to have an experienced trust administration attorney thoroughly explain your obligations and duties.

 

  • Guides you through the entire process: Trust administration involves a range of estate planning tasks, including providing required notices to beneficiaries, handling tax issues, protecting assets and facilitating their proper distribution, managing debts and liabilities, etc. An experienced attorney will be able to answer your trust administration questions, review your specific situation, and help you throughout the entire process.   

 

  • Clarity: Trust administration leaves a lot on a trustee’s plate. The last thing you need is an attorney who uses technical and confusing “legalese” that simply adds to your stress. An experienced attorney will be able to simplify the trust administration process for you and explain your responsibilities and goals in a clear, straightforward way.  

 

  • Responds to you quickly: Besides being able to communicate clearly, a great trust administration attorney will also make himself available to promptly respond to you, answer your questions, and assist you with your needs.  

 

  • Comfort and trust: An attorney-client relationship, like any relationship, needs to feel comfortable. Through the often stressful and emotionally-taxing trust administration process, you need to feel comfortable sharing all important information about the trust, asking the questions on your mind, and seeking help during the administration of the trust whenever needed. 

For trustees beginning the process of administering a trust, let an attorney who knows what he’s doing help you with the next steps. Contact David Knecht Law today to schedule a consultation and learn more! 

3 Qualities of a Capable Probate Lawyer

 

The American Bar Association defines probate as “the court-supervised legal procedure that determines the validity of your will.” When an individual dies, their will is filed with the court and the probate process begins. During this process, the estate’s property, debts, and claims are inventoried, appraised, and eventually distributed to beneficiaries according to the will. 

This process can be time-consuming, complicated, and overwhelming, especially when dealing with the recent loss of a loved one. A qualified probate attorney can help you through it all. Read on to learn about some of the most essential qualities that you should look for when selecting a probate attorney. 

 

  • Knowledge and Experience:

A probate attorney should be well-versed in the complex laws and court procedures that are involved in the probate process. You’ll particularly want to work with an attorney who understands California probate law and who has kept up-to-date on the most recent changes to the state’s statutes and case law developments. 

You’ll also want to find a probate lawyer with plenty of experience. Never select a probate lawyer who is just starting out. Look for an attorney who has practiced California probate law extensively and who understands the nuances of your local court, so that you can be sure you have a qualified person handling your case.  

 

  • Effective Communication:

Every lawyer needs effective communication skills. This is particularly true for probate lawyers because the job requires clear communication with a number of people, including the executor, the court, and the client. 

What this means is that you’ll want to find a lawyer who can not only advocate well for you in front of a judge or an executor, but who can also help you understand the probate process. Estate planning can be complicated. The best probate lawyers can answer all your questions and explain the probate process to you in the most simple and straightforward way possible. 

 

  • Empathy 

Losing a loved one is difficult. While you might not want to even think about estate planning and probate while you’re dealing with such loss, these issues need to be resolved quickly and effectively. 

Because of the sensitive nature of the probate process, it’s important for the lawyer handling the case to be compassionate and empathetic towards their client. The best kind of lawyer will be sensitive to their client’s needs, alleviate the stress of handling the deceased individual’s estate, and quickly resolve any problems that arise during the probate process.

With the professional advice and assistance of a California probate attorney, you can ensure your loved one’s estate is properly taken care of. Contact David Knecht Law today to schedule a consultation!    

 

3 Things to Look for When Selecting an Attorney to Prepare Your Living Trust 

A living trust is an estate planning document created and legally in existence during the grantor’s lifetime. The main advantage of a living trust is that it does not have to go through the standard probate process, so your funds and assets can be distributed more quickly when you die or become incapacitated than they would be able to with a standard will. 

While it’s possible to make your own living trust, hiring an estate planning attorney will help ensure that your loved ones and property are protected. Read on to discover what qualities to look for when hiring an attorney to create your living trust:

 

  • Experience: 

When looking for a qualified attorney to assist you with your living trust, it’s very important to look for a law firm that has extensive experience in estate planning. Because some of the legal issues in estate planning vary by state and even by county, it’s also important to find a firm with experience serving clients in your area. 

Spend some time looking for an attorney with local experience who is familiar with constructing and implementing living trusts for people in situations similar to your own. 

 

  • Trust: 

When selecting an attorney to prepare your living trust, it’s also important to ask yourself the following questions: Do I feel comfortable with this person? Can I see myself working closely with this attorney? Do I trust this attorney enough to share my personal information? 

Keep in mind that you’ll be sharing intimate details about your life and your family with your estate planning attorney. It becomes one of the most personal professional relationships that you have. You will want to feel comfortable with this person, and you will want someone who can answer all your questions and provide you the personalized attention that you need. 

 

 

  • Reasonable Fees:

Legal fees are another crucial consideration when you’re selecting an attorney to prepare your living trust. It’s often worth it to pay to have the peace of mind that a qualified and professional estate planning attorney brings when you’re setting up a living trust. However, make sure that you have an understanding of what the cost will be for your particular case. A good attorney will be clear about their billing practices, and they will let you know what you will be charged for and if any additional costs come up. 

Your estate planning attorney is the person who helps you make sure that your loved ones and property are taken care of. Make sure that it’s someone you can feel confident in. 

Contact David Knecht Law today to schedule a consultation to discuss whether a living trust is right for you! 

 

Emergency Rules for Solano Superior Court during COVID-19 Pandemic

This article will summarize a few of the emergency rules for Solano Superior Court that have been enacted to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.  For a list of all the rules go to https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/ and click on Emergency Operations Documents.  

 

  • Do I Need to Wear A Mask to Court to Protect from Covid-19?

 

The mask rule currently in place in Solano County Superior Court.  The full information can be found here.  https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/materials/SSC_EO/Face_Mask_Order.pdf

  • Who needs to wear a mask?

Anyone over three years old needs to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth. 

 

  • What about a person who has a disability?

 

The mask rule does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.  It doesn’t apply to anyone with a medical condition or disability for whom wearing a mask is not recommended by a healthcare professional.  The mask rule doesn’t apply to anyone exempted by federal, state, or local law or regulation.  

 

  •  How does a Court Hearing with Zoom Work?

The guidelines for Zoom hearings in the Solano Superior Court can be found here.  https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/materials/SSC_EO/Solano_Guidelines_for_Zoom_07-10-20.pdf

 

  •  What should I wear to a zoom hearing for court?

 

The guidelines indicate that you should dress as if you were appearing in court in person. 

 

  • When can I speak on a zoom court hearing?

 

You  will be place on mute when you enter the hearing.  You should wait until the judge call on you and then you should announce your name when you begin speaking.  

 

  •  Where can I find more information on whether my hearing has been continued?

You can find information on continued hearings on the court website at https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/.  

 

CUSTODY AND PARENTING IN SOLANO COUNTY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC Custody and Parenting in Solano County During The COVID-19 Pandemic

 

The Solano County Superior Court has issued recommendations for custody and parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article will summarize these recommendations as a helpful resource to parents who are navigating custody and parenting during these challenging times. For the complete list of recommendations, go to https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/materials/SSC_EO/Notice_to_Parents_Regarding_Custody_and_Parenting_Time_During_COVID-19_Pandemic.pdf

1. Vacation/Holidays Are As If Children Were Still Attending School.  

If schools are closed, parenting time shall continue as if children are still attending school and the closure of school for COVID-19 shall not be considered an extension of any break/vacation/weekend.  

 

  • COVID-19 Should Not Be the Sole Basis For Denying Time. 

 

Generally, COVID-19 should not be the sole reason to deny parenting time and the presumption is that parents are considered fit to make day-to-day decisions about the children, with the recommendation that parents follow state and local guidance on social distancing and sanitation. 

 

  •  Parenting Time in Public is Not Prohibited If Locations Are Permitted Under State Guidelines. 

 

If state guidelines allow for the public to be in a place, such as a public park, then parenting time in such places is not prohibited.  However, parents are encouraged to avoid locations such as parks and play equipment where virus transmission via contact would be risky.  If safe parenting time in public is not possible, then videoconferencing or telephone visits should be made available. 

2. Parties Should Work Collaboratively Where Supervised Parenting Time Is Not Available.

If a supervisor is not available due to COVID-19 or government orders for supervised parenting time, the parties should work together to make sure that the parenting time is effectuated in a way that is conducive to their children’s safety and well being, and parties may consider videoconferencing or telephone visits. 

 

  •  Travel Should Be Limited 

 

Travel should be limited to essential activities, which include caring for minors, dependents and family members. 

 

  •  CDC Guidelines Should Be Followed During Exchanges

When children are being exchanged, all parties should follow the CDC guideline for limiting the spread of the virus.  This means making reasonable changes in light of the risk, which may be choosing an alternate place for exchanges with fewer people.  

 

  •  Be Aware of Other Needs for First Responders When Calling for Parenting Disputes

 

Parents are encouraged to consider the need for first responders to be available for emergencies and support related to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

 

  •  Communication and Transparency are Encouraged During the pandemic

 

Parents are encouraged to work together and talk about the precautions they are taking to protect their children.  However, a parent cannot deny parenting time to another parent who does not want to discuss safety measures or on the basis that one parent thinks the other is not taking enough precautions. 

3. Parents are Encouraged to Schedule Makeup Parenting Time

Parents are encouraged to collaborate to schedule make up parenting time for time that was missed due to COVID-19 or other government orders.  Parents should prioritize their children’s health and safety and work together to create a plan that promoted the best interests of their children.  

 

Divorce and Custody in the Times of Covid-19

The novel coronavirus has put a strain on families from emotional to financially, but no place has the impact been felt more powerfully than in homes and families across the nation.  If too much time together is making you feel like it’s time to end your marriage, you are not alone.  If you have already split up, then Covid may be putting pressure on how you interact with your ex and manage sharing children in the new normal.  This article will discuss some of the trends that may be impacting how you feel and talk about coping strategies for thriving emotionally during this time. 

 

  • Divorce Rates May Spike in the Wake of Covid

 

Divorce rates are likely to spike in the wake of Covid.  An article on Bloomberg.com reported that cities in China reported record highs in divorce filings in March when China started to open up.  See https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-31/divorces-spike-in-china-after-coronavirus-quarantines   A study in Washington demonstrated that couples often divorce when they are together for a long period of time. See https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-new-resilience/201609/back-vacation-and-now-more-likely-divorce.  Relationship experts and attorneys have speculated that divorce rates will in the aftermath of couples being forced to interact with each other and engage in different ways. 

How to cope:  If you are considering divorce, one powerful coping mechanism is to get more information.  Talk to a divorce attorney and find out what the financial and familial ramifications would be.  Knowledge is power and will help you handle the Covid stresses on marriage, whether you ultimately decide to stay together or to separate. 

 

 

  • Birthrates are Down 

 

You’d think that with a lot of time at home and not much to do that babies would be the business of the day, but not so, according to a recent article on Bloomberg.com.    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-29/coronavirus-pandemic-americans-aren-t-making-babies-in-crisis  Apparently, the financial stresses with Covid unemployment and economic strains and concerns about the future are forcing many couples to put family plans on hold.  For couples who need help conceiving, many fertility clinics were closed for several months during Covid lockdowns, which created a delay in treatments for infertile couples, and the economic impact may prevent some infertile couples from being able to afford treatments soon.

How to cope:  If Covid is impacting your family planning, you may want to confide in a friend or therapist.  For some, just voicing concerns about what is often a private matter between couples, can help alleviate some of the stress. 

 

  •  Covid May Impact Custody Arrangements 

 

Since Covid resulted in changes in work schedules and school schedules, you may be finding yourself at odds with your ex-spouse as these changes disrupt your custody patterns.  

How to cope:  The first step is to evaluate what the current situation is and how it can be better objectively.  Try to look at the situation as if you were a judge evaluating a request from one of the parties to modify the order relating to custody.  For some, you may be able to find a compromise position that will work in the new normal.  For others, the way to cope may be to seek legal counsel to advocate for you to change what was set in place before the world was disrupted.   

 

Conclusion:  If you are feeling stressed, you are not alone

If you are feeling anxiety or stress from the Covid world, you are not alone.  A study of people in Hong Kong in the wake of the 2002-03 SARS epidemic found that a year after the outbreak, SARS survivors still had elevated stress levels and worrying levels of psychological distress including depression and anxiety.  See https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200601-how-is-covid-19-is-affecting-relationships.  There are a myriad of mechanisms for finding peace in these difficult times:  reach out to a friend, get more connected with nature, find an outlet that you enjoy that can be done while distancing such as journaling, painting, cooking, etc.  If you feel like you need legal advice on divorce or custodial challenges, don’t hesitate to contact David Knecht, an experienced family law attorney who can advise you on your options and help you take action if that is the course that is right for you. 

 

California Courts and Covid

In March 2020, the Governor issued an executive order giving authority to adopt emergency rules of court.  See https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200601-how-is-covid-19-is-affecting-relationships.  This article will discuss some of the changes that were adopted to allow California courts to respond to the Covid pandemic and provide information on the current :

 

  • In March 2020, time periods on hearings and trials were extended. 

 

The Judicial Council took action to extend the time periods on hearings and trials and to encourage the use of technology in the court. 

 

  • In April 2020, Temporary Emergency rules were adopted,

On April 6, 2020, the council voted remotely to approve 11 temporary emergency rules, including adoption of a COVID-bail schedule, staying eviction and foreclosure proceedings, extending statutes of limitations in civil actions, and extending timeframes for restraining orders. Two additional rules were added relating to electronic service and requests to modify child, spousal, partner, or family support. 

 

  •  In June 2020, Authority for bail schedules returned to local trial courts. 

On June 10, 2020, the council voted remotely to repeal emergency rule 4 relating to the COVID-bail schedule, returning the authority to set county bail schedules to local trial courts.

 

  • What were the limitations on evictions and foreclosures from the April 2020 Emergency Rule making.

Emergency rule 1 deals with unlawful detainer actions or “eviction actions,” and does not allow issuance of summons or entering of defaults in such actions unless the case involves public health and safety issues.  The trials have to be set 60 days after a request for trial. 

The second rule addresses judicial foreclosure actions, staying all pending actions other than those involving issues of public health and safety, tolling the statute of limitations on filing such actions, and extending the deadlines for election or exercise of rights relating to such actions.

 

  •  How have the April 2020 rules changed and where are we now?  

As of August 13, 2020 the Judicial Council repealed emergency orders suspending foreclosure and unlawful detainer actions in California’s courts, effective September 1, 2020.  See  https://www.courthousenews.com/california-court-administrator-repeals-emergency-bans-on-foreclosures-and-evictions/.  According to David Chiu, this is good news as it gives enough time for lawmakers to pass  a bill that provides protection from eviction.  Two bills are currently being debated in the Assembly and Senate.  One, Assembly Bill 1436, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB1436, would give tenants a period of time to earn money and pay it back, but would remove eviction as a remedy, but that measure is receiving some opposition from landlords who doesn’t feel that it gives them enough tools to avoid foreclosure since landlords would not be able to evict non-paying tenants until 2020.  Another bill, http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB1410, provides landlords will sellable tax credits to cover rent losses, but small landlords wouldn’t be unable to redeem the credits until 2024, which may mean too much stress on small landlords.  

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, the law is evolving, so seek legal advice.

With so much evolution in the law regarding landlords and tenants, many landlords or tenants facing eviction may need competent advice on what their rights are during the pandemic.  Contact an attorney for guidance on how to best proceed in the ever evolving landlord-tenant legal structure. 

 

How Hiring an Attorney Enhances The Success of Your Social Security Disability Appeal

When you have a social security disability hearing, it is not necessary that you hire an attorney. Nevertheless, attorneys have successfully assisted claimants win their cases before. Experience has shown that applicants who hire legal representation have a double chance of approval than those who are not represented. Normally, when your claim is rejected, as it happens in majority of cases, you have a right to appeal. The appeal goes before a judge who reviews your medical evidence, your own testimony as well as that given by others. This evidence should attest that you are a disabled person as defined by law. 

Obtaining and Assessing Medical Records

Judges reject claims on grounds that a claimant has presented incomplete records; the treatment history is inconsistent or has some gaps in between. Nonetheless, an attorney will help you in gathering concrete records for presentation to the court. You are supposed to request for these records, but attorneys know how to get them faster. The attorney is also aware of sections that need to be updated. Once he gets the records, he will review them carefully and decide whether they are sufficient for submission. This results in watertight evidence.

Opinions from Doctors

A disability attorney contacts the doctors or physicians who treated you and requests them to furnish him with their opinions in writing. This should touch on the subject of whether you are able to continue working or not. Based on the respect professionals accord each other, doctors will most likely respond to attorneys than they would to individuals. On the other hand, if your attorney deems your medical report to be insufficient, he can compel the Social Security Administration to arrange for a physical or psychological exam.

Getting You Ready for Questioning

All witnesses get nervous when put to the witness stand. The same can happen to you. Nervousness makes you confused. It is very easy to give contradictory remarks when you are in this state. Social security attorneys are familiar with the way hearings are conducted. Your own will prepare you to answer questions a judge is likely to ask. He will practice the questions and give you tips on how to give the required answers.  This boosts your confidence and reduces the likelihood of giving answers that could jeopardize your case.

Putting the Vocational Expert to Task

This is an expert hired to give evidence on whether you are impaired and cannot be able to work. If he confirms that you are capable of working, the judge will reject your claim. However, soon as the judge has completed his questioning, your attorney takes over. He asks questions that poke holes in the vocational expert’s testimony. 

 

Trust Auto Accident Attorneys to get you out of Misery

Auto accidents claim hundreds of lives every year. You could also be injured to an extent where you are hospitalized for a long time. Other people lose their source of livelihood and are forced to depend on their next of kin. An accident could leave you traumatized. Suddenly, you are faced with a huge hospital bill. This coupled with the fact that you were the family’s sole breadwinner can lead to a lot of emotional pressure. There is reprieve in the knowledge that you are entitled to some form of compensation. 

In order to wage a good fight for compensation, you need the help of auto accident attorneys. Here is a look at how an experienced lawyer can get you out of misery:

  • Legal assistance: An auto accident attorney is a professional who has gone to school and gained the relevant legal knowledge. Law is such a broad subject. Most attorneys prefer to specialize in respective areas such as divorce, personal injury and auto accidents. By engaging an accident attorney, you will get a chance to fight for your rights. The attorney will confront the insurance company as well as the vehicle owner. If no settlement can be arrived at, the attorney will push for the matter to go to court. Once the case is before a judge, your attorney can seek for compensation on your behalf.
  • Loss of income: When you are injured as a result of an auto accident, you may not be able to continue working as before. The injury requires medical attention. Upon leaving hospital, you have to stay at home in order to recuperate. All this time, your family will be deprived of an income which they rely on in order to survive. A good and experienced attorney will bring this to the attention of the judge and press for an adequate compensation. This is meant to cushion your family from the exposure of not having an income. It will also help keep all of you above the water.
  • Medical bills: Nowadays, most people use medical insurance to take care of their hospital visits. The nature of injuries sustained can deal a big blow to your cover or even exhaust it totally. Apart from the hospital fee, you have to pay doctors and finance the cost of drugs. Even after being discharged from hospital, you may require specialized care. All these should not have arisen had the person driving the car that hit you been extra careful. By extension, it is his/her responsibility to take care of you. With an attorney, you can claim a refund of what you have spent.
  • Suffering: Nothing can be equated to what you have been going through after the accident. You have been through a lot of pain, trauma and sometimes, feelings of hopelessness.  In order to help you get back on your feet, auto accident attorneys will see to it that the courts award you a reasonable settlement.

 

Why an Accident Attorney is Your Best Bet When Tackling Personal Injury Suits

Being involved in an auto accident is a harrowing experience. It leaves you with not only physical injuries but with mental trauma as well. Besides, there are hospital bills to pay which eats into your finances. If the injuries are serious, you could be out of work for weeks or even months. Some people may be quick to give you all manner of advice. There are those who will tell you to take whatever compensation the insurance company will offer. The best advice you should listen to is that from someone telling you to consult an accident attorney. Here’s why:

The Severity of The Accident

If the accident is a minor one, going to an attorney might not be necessary. You can negotiate between yourselves and agree. Such agreements can help resolve matters and end it there. However, where the accident is severe and you have had to be taken to hospital, you cannot just settle for any amount. You need the intervention of a legal expert.

Benefits Factor

A car accident attorney understands the legal aspects of personal injuries resulting from auto accidents. He can wriggle through the bottlenecks associated with insurers. You must always bear in mind the fact that insurance companies are out to make a profit. Much as they would be willing to compensate you, the amount may not be in proportion to the injuries sustained. With assistance from an attorney, you can get a fair amount. He will fight tooth and nail to see to it that you are adequately compensated.

The Contingency Element

Law firms normally charge their fees on a contingent basis. The attorneys who specialize in this area do not charge their clients any fees while the cases are in progress. However, they will wait until the aggressor or a court awards you compensation. Once the money is released, they take out a certain percentage to cover their legal and processing fees. This puts you at an advantage because the attorney will have a direct interest in your case.

Where You Are Accused of Responsibility

This can be very tricky for you. It is also ironic in the sense that you are the injured person yet the other party accuses you of being responsible. Before an insurance claim is paid, the company must first ascertain who was responsible. The severity of the accident does not matter. Without a lawyer to speak for you, chances of being compensated are almost nil.  That is why you need to speak to an attorney immediately after you have been involved in an accident.