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Crossover Issues in Estate Planning and Family Law

This book, in a single volume, addresses what family law and estate planning attorneys need to know about each other’s disciplines. Address your clients’ needs and avoid malpractice by knowing how family law and estate planning rules intersect at critical points in your clients’ lives.

This book, in a single volume, addresses the overlapping family law and estate planning issues your clients may face. Address their needs and avoid malpractice by knowing how family law and estate planning rules intersect at critical points in your clients’ lives.

  • Permissible subjects of premarital and preregistration agreements
  • Characterization of assets and transmutation
  • Estate planning actions prohibited or permitted during dissolution
  • Family law concepts applicable to decedents’ estates
  • Retirement benefits and other deferred compensation
  • Incapacity issues in family law and probate proceedings
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Print ES34230

approx. 540 pages, looseleaf, updated 8/19


$ 325.00

This book, in a single volume, addresses the overlapping family law and estate planning issues your clients may face. Address their needs and avoid malpractice by knowing how family law and estate planning rules intersect at critical points in your clients’ lives.

  • Permissible subjects of premarital and preregistration agreements
  • Characterization of assets and transmutation
  • Estate planning actions prohibited or permitted during dissolution
  • Family law concepts applicable to decedents’ estates
  • Retirement benefits and other deferred compensation
  • Incapacity issues in family law and probate proceedings


Introduction: Issues in Estate Planning and Family Law

Sherrol L. Cassedy

    • A.  Why This Book  1.1
    • B.  Different Stages in Client’s Life  1.2
    • C.  Different Relationship With Client  1.3
    • D.  Different Perspectives on Death and Divorce  1.4
    • A.  Dual Representation and Conflict of Interest  1.6
    • B.  Standard of Care  1.7
    • C.  Client Relations  1.8
    • A.  Marriage  1.9
      • 1.  Same Rights and Obligations for Same-Sex Married Couples  1.10
        • a.  Hollingsworth v Perry  1.11
        • b.  U.S. v Windsor  1.12
      • 2.  Obergefell and Former Nonrecognition States  1.13
    • B.  Registered Domestic Partnership
      • 1.  Broad Rights and Obligations for RDPs in California  1.14
      • 2.  Nonrecognition of RDPs on Federal Level  1.15
    • A.  “Parent” and “Child” Defined  1.16
      • 1.  Parent-Child Relationship in Probate Code  1.17
      • 2.  Parentage Presumptions in Family Code  1.18
      • 3.  Parentage Presumptions Apply to RDPs  1.19


Premarital and Preregistration Agreements

Nordin F. Blacker

Virginia Palmer

    • A.  Premarital or Preregistration Agreement  2.2
    • B.  Cohabitation (Marvin) Agreement  2.3
    • C.  Agreement to Treat Unmarried or Unregistered Parties as Though Married or Registered  2.4
    • D.  Law That Applies in Absence of Any Agreement  2.5
    • A.  Purposes of Premarital or Preregistration Agreement  2.6
      • 1.  To Provide Rules for Characterizing Property  2.7
      • 2.  To Waive or Limit Spousal or Registered Domestic Partnership Support  2.8
      • 3.  For Estate Planning  2.9
      • 4.  For Protection From Creditors  2.10
    • B.  When Is Agreement Needed?  2.11
    • C.  Who Is the Client?  2.12
    • D.  Ethical Rules of Professional Conduct to Consider  2.13
    • E.  Who Drafts Agreement: Family Law Attorney or Estate Planning Attorney?  2.14
    • F.  Are Parties Not U.S. Citizens, Not California Residents, or Not Fluent in English?  2.15
    • G.  Should Mediator Be Involved?  2.16
    • H.  Has There Been an Informal Ceremony or a Wedding Ceremony Outside California?  2.17
    • I.  Has Enough Time Been Allowed to Draft and Negotiate Final Agreement?  2.18
    • J.  What Safeguards Might Be Recommended in Executing Agreement?  2.19
    • A.  Permissible Subjects  2.21
    • B.  Impermissible Intent and Impermissible Subjects
      • 1.  Provisions About Children, Religion, and Personal Behavior  2.22
      • 2.  Provisions for Payment to Spouse or RDP in Event of Dissolution  2.23
    • C.  Statutory Requirements for Enforceability
      • 1.  Spousal or RDP Support Provisions (Fam C §1612(c))  2.24
      • 2.  Enforceability of Premarital or Preregistration Agreement (Fam C §1615)  2.25
        • a.  Agreement Must Be Executed Voluntarily  2.26
          • (1)  Seven-Day Requirement  2.27
          • (2)  Waiver of Independent Counsel  2.28
          • (3)  Explanation of Relinquished Rights if Party Is Unrepresented  2.29
          • (4)  Suggested Content for Waiver Clause  2.30
          • (5)  Three Documents Required if Party Is Unrepresented  2.31
        • b.  Unconscionability
          • (1)  Lack of Fair, Reasonable, and Full Disclosure  2.32
            • (a)  Attachments  2.33
            • (b)  Income Information  2.34
            • (c)  Value of Assets  2.35
          • (2)  Waiver of Disclosure  2.36
        • c.  Burden of Proof  2.37
    • A.  Statement of Intent to Marry or Register  2.38
    • B.  Characterization Issues  2.39
      • 1.  Transmutations  2.40
        • a.  Sharing Wealth Through Transmutations  2.41
        • b.  Conditional Transmutations Not Permitted  2.42
        • c.  Provisions Regarding Writings and Actions Not Intended to Evidence Transmutation  2.43
        • d.  Provision Defining Which Transmutations Will Not Require Express Writing  2.44
      • 2.  Business Interests, Intangible Assets, and Intellectual Property Rights
        • a.  Interest in Separate Property Business or Profession: Waiver of Rights  2.45
        • b.  Intangible Business or Professional Practice Assets and Intellectual Property Rights  2.46
        • c.  Form: Intellectual Property Rights Remain Separate Property  2.46A
        • d.  Goodwill  2.47
      • 3.  Compensation
        • a.  Default Rule: Community Property  2.48
        • b.  Form: Earnings Remain Separate Property  2.48A
      • 4.  Debts and Obligations
        • a.  Debts  2.49
        • b.  Obligations to Former Spouse or RDP and Children of Prior Marriage or RDPship  2.50
    • C.  Waivers
      • 1.  Provisions Regarding Spousal or RDP Support (Fam C §1612(c))
        • a.  Waiver of Spousal or RDP Support  2.51
        • b.  Limitation of Spousal or RDP Support  2.52
      • 2.  Waiver of Rights of Surviving Spouse or RDP (Prob C §§140–147)  2.53
        • a.  Rights of Surviving Spouse or RDP That May Be Waived  2.54
        • b.  Drafting Considerations  2.55
      • 3.  Waiver of Reimbursement Rights (Fam C §2640)  2.56
      • 4.  Waiver of Marvin Rights  2.57
        • a.  Waiver of Marvin Rights Effective Even if Intended Marriage or Registration Does Not Occur  2.58
        • b.  Cohabiting Partners Who Do Not Intend to Marry or Register  2.59
        • c.  Noncohabiting Partners  2.60
      • 5.  Waiver of Retirement Plan Benefits by Surviving Spouse  2.61
    • D.  Parental Obligations  2.62
    • E.  Estate Planning Provisions  2.63
      • 1.  Contract to Make Will, Devise, or Other Instrument  2.64
      • 2.  Provisions for New Spouse or Partner and Children From Previous Relationship  2.65
      • 3.  Requirement That Parties Be Married or Registered at Time of First Death  2.66
    • F.  Provisions Effective on Dissolution: Date of Separation  2.67
    • G.  Special Provisions for Domestic Partners Who Plan to Register  2.68
    • H.  No-Contest Clause  2.69
    • A.  Provide Notice to Creditors  2.70
    • B.  Conform Postmarriage or Postregistration Actions  2.71


Issues During Marriage, Registered Domestic Partnership, and Cohabitation

Richard A. Burger

Ronald S. Granberg

Jenny Wald

    • A.  Estate Planning Attorney  3.2
    • B.  Family Law Attorney  3.3
    • A.  Agreements
      • 1.  Postmarital Agreement  3.4
      • 2.  Postregistration Domestic Partnership Agreement  3.5
      • 3.  Transmutation Agreement  3.6
      • 4.  Marvin Agreement  3.7
    • B.  Different Rules Applicable to Different Agreements  3.8
      • 1.  Fiduciary Duties  3.9
      • 2.  Fam C §1615 Requirements  3.10
      • 3.  Waiver of Spousal Support  3.11
    • C.  Estate Plan  3.12
    • A.  Dual Representation
      • 1.  Informed Written Consent  3.13
      • 2.  Practical Considerations  3.14
    • B.  Dealing With Unrepresented Party  3.15
    • C.  Confidential Communications  3.16
    • D.  Spousal Privileges  3.17
    • E.  Duty of Loyalty  3.18
    • F.  Duty of Competence  3.19
      • 1.  Importance of Knowledge of Basic Family Law Concepts  3.20
      • 2.  Importance of Knowledge of Basic Estate Planning Concepts  3.21
    • G.  Duty to Communicate With Client  3.22
    • A.  Fiduciary Duties of Spouses  3.23
      • 1.  Fam C §§720–721  3.24
        • a.  Exceptions to Applicability of Fam C §721 Fiduciary Duties  3.25
        • b.  Rebuttable Presumption of Undue Influence if Unfair Advantage  3.26
        • c.  Burden of Proof; Standard of Proof  3.27
        • d.  Remedy for Breach of Fam C §721  3.28
      • 2.  Fam C §1100: Fiduciary Duties Regarding Community Property  3.29
        • a.  No Unauthorized Gifts, Sales, Conveyances, or Encumbrances  3.30
        • b.  Duration of Duty  3.31
        • c.  Remedies for Breach of Fam C §1100 Fiduciary Duty  3.32
        • d.  Procedure for Action  3.33
    • B.  Characterization of Assets  3.34
      • 1.  Characterization by Date of Acquisition
        • a.  When Property Is Acquired  3.35
          • (1)  Inception-of-Title Rule  3.36
          • (2)  Payments for Services Rendered  3.37
          • (3)  Specific Kinds of Assets  3.38
            • (a)  Cause of Action  3.39
            • (b)  Disability Pay  3.40
        • b.  Before Marriage or Registration of Domestic Partnership  3.41
        • c.  During Marriage or RDPship
          • (1)  General Community Property Presumption for Property Acquired During Marriage (Fam C §760)  3.42
          • (2)  Methods of Rebutting General Community Property Presumption in Fam C §760  3.43
            • (a)  Direct Tracing  3.44
            • (b)  Family Expense Tracing  3.45
            • (c)  Burden of Proof and Standard of Proof to Overcome Presumption  3.46
          • (3)  When Title Presumption (Evid C §662) Conflicts With Transmutation Statutes  3.47
          • (4)  Separate Property Acquired During Marriage
            • (a)  Under California Law  3.48
            • (b)  Under Federal Law  3.49
          • (5)  Quasi-Community Property  3.50
            • (a)  Definition Under Fam C §125  3.51
            • (b)  Definition Under Prob C §66  3.52
            • (c)  When Quasi-Community Property Rights Can Arise for RDPs  3.53
            • (d)  Quasi-Marital Property Distinguished From Quasi-Community Property  3.54
        • d.  After Date of Separation  3.55
      • 2.  Characterization by Title
        • a.  Form of Title Presumption
          • (1)  Owner of Legal Title Presumed to Be Owner of Full Beneficial Title (Evid C §662)  3.56
          • (2)  Rebuttal Requires Clear and Convincing Proof  3.57
          • (3)  When Title Presumption (Evid C §662) Conflicts With Presumption of Undue Influence (Fam C §721(b)) in Interspousal or Interpartnership Transfers  3.58
        • b.  Joint Title Community Property Presumption  3.59
        • c.  Married Woman Presumption for Property Acquired Before January 1, 1975  3.60
      • 3.  Apportionment and Reimbursement Rights if Commingled Assets
        • a.  Community Property Interest Based on Funds Used for One Spouse or RDP’s Separate Property  3.61
        • b.  Community Property Interest Based on Spouse or RDP’s Efforts Devoted to Separate Property  3.62
          • (1)  Methods of Apportionment  3.63
          • (2)  Choice of Method and Allocation in Discretion of Court  3.64
    • C.  Transmutation  3.65
      • 1.  Requirements
        • a.  Writing That Includes Express Declaration  3.66
          • (1)  Language Insufficient to Effect Transmutation  3.67
          • (2)  Language Sufficient to Effect Transmutation  3.68
        • b.  Recording  3.69
      • 2.  Limitations  3.70
      • 3.  Special Rules  3.71
      • 4.  Burden of Proof and Other Evidentiary Issues  3.72
    • D.  Liability for Debts  3.73
      • 1.  When Debt Is “Incurred”  3.74
      • 2.  When Liability Is Determined  3.75
      • 3.  Liability of Nondebtor Spouse or RDP’s Separate Property for Necessaries of Life  3.76
      • 4.  Liability for Injury or Damage to Person or Property of Third Party  3.77
        • a.  Satisfaction of Obligation  3.78
        • b.  Negligence Versus Criminal or Intentional Act  3.79
      • 5.  Reimbursement Rights for Debts Paid
        • a.  Fam C §920 General Provision  3.80
        • b.  Specific Family Code Provisions  3.81
        • c.  Exercising Right to Reimbursement  3.82
    • A.  Different Perspectives of the Family Law Attorney and the Estate Planner  3.84
      • 1.  Estate Planner’s Perspective  3.85
      • 2.  Family Law Attorney’s Perspective  3.86
    • B.  Importance of Gathering Complete Information  3.87
    • C.  Characterization and Transmutation Issues
      • 1.  Property Characterization  3.88
      • 2.  Property Transmutations  3.89
      • 3.  Problems Facing Drafting Attorney  3.90
        • a.  Risks of Drafting Postmarital or Postregistration Agreements  3.91
        • b.  Risks of Drafting Transmutations  3.92
      • 4.  Quasi-Community Property  3.93
        • a.  Importance of Who Acquired Property and Who Dies First  3.94
        • b.  Difference in Tax Basis Adjustment of Community Property Compared to Quasi-Community Property  3.95
        • c.  Advantages and Disadvantages of Transmuting Quasi-Community Property to Community Property  3.96
      • 5.  Using Aggregate Community Property Agreement Instead of Transmutation Agreement
        • a.  The Problem: Trust Allocations and Non-Trust Assets  3.97
        • b.  Aggregate Division Versus Item-by-Item Division of Community Property  3.98
        • c.  Aggregate Agreement Is Not Transmutation  3.99
        • d.  Is Written Aggregate Agreement Necessary?  3.100
        • e.  Aggregate Agreement May Not Be Helpful With ERISA Plans or for RDPs  3.101
      • 6.  Special Tax Problems for RDPs Who Transmute Property  3.102
      • 7.  Importance of Characterization When Providing for Children
        • a.  Testamentary Gifts to Children  3.103
        • b.  Inter Vivos Gifts to Children  3.104
    • D.  Reimbursement Rights Under Fam C §2640
      • 1.  Enforceable Only as Part of Division of Community Estate  3.105
      • 2.  Why Fam C §2640 Reimbursement Rights Should Be Considered When Drafting Agreements and Estate Plans  3.106
      • 3.  Practice Suggestions  3.107
    • E.  Retirement Plan and Other Deferred Compensation Benefits  3.108
    • F.  Waiver of Rights Under Probate Code  3.109
      • 1.  Rights That May Be Waived Under Prob C §141  3.110
      • 2.  Enforceability of Prob C §141 Waiver  3.111
      • 3.  Drafting Considerations
        • a.  Danger of Waiving All Prob C §141 Rights  3.112
        • b.  Effect of Waiver of Interest in Nonprobate Property  3.113
    • A.  Reasons Couples Do Not Marry or Register as Domestic Partners  3.114
    • B.  Recognition of Marvin Agreement as Enforceable Contract  3.115
    • C.  Proper Subjects for Agreements  3.116
    • D.  Consideration  3.117
      • 1.  Services Severable From Sexual Relations  3.118
      • 2.  Services Inextricably Intertwined With Sexual Relations  3.119
      • 3.  Cohabitation and Other Factors  3.120
    • E.  Marvin Action
      • 1.  When Does Cause of Action Arise? Statute of Limitations  3.121
      • 2.  Possible Causes of Action  3.122
      • 3.  Proper Court  3.123
      • 4.  Burden of Proof  3.124
      • 5.  Remedy for Breach of Agreement  3.125


Issues at Dissolution or Legal Separation

Christopher M. Moore

    • A.  Actions Covered in This Chapter  4.1
      • 1.  Dissolution  4.2
      • 2.  Summary Dissolution  4.3
      • 3.  Legal Separation  4.4
    • B.  Dissolution Team  4.5
    • A.  Duty to Avoid Conflict of Interest  4.6
    • B.  Duty of Confidentiality  4.7
    • C.  Duty of Loyalty  4.8
    • D.  Duty to Act Competently  4.9
    • A.  Need for Interim Estate Plan  4.11
    • B.  Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROs)  4.12
      • 1.  What Estate Planner Should Know  4.13
      • 2.  Chart: Estate Planning Actions Prohibited and Actions Permitted  4.14
      • 3.  Punishment for Violation of ATROs  4.15
    • C.  Estate Planning Actions to Consider Before ATROs Are in Effect  4.16
      • 1.  Revoking Will and Revocable Trust; Creating New Will  4.17
      • 2.  Severing Joint Tenancy  4.18
      • 3.  Changing Beneficiaries  4.19
      • 4.  Withdrawing Funds to Pay Attorney Retainer Fee  4.20
      • 5.  Revoking Advance Health Care Directive and Durable Power of Attorney; Executing New Ones  4.21
        • a.  Advance Health Care Directive  4.22
        • b.  Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Management  4.23
    • D.  Estate Planning Actions to Consider Under ATROs After Dissolution or Legal Separation Action Commenced  4.24
      • 1.  Actions Permitted Without Restriction  4.25
        • a.  Wills and Trusts  4.26
          • (1)  Drafting Suggestions
            • (a)  Disinherit Spouse or RDP  4.27
            • (b)  Avoid Language Indicating Property Is Transferred to Newly Created Trust  4.28
            • (c)  Address Possibility of Reconciliation  4.29
          • (2)  Inform Client About Assets Not Governed by Will or Trust  4.30
        • b.  Other Actions Permissible if “in the Usual Course of Business or for the Necessities of Life”  4.31
        • c.  Advance Health Care Directive and Durable Power of Attorney  4.32
      • 2.  Actions Permitted on Notice Filed and Served on Spouse or RDP  4.33
        • a.  Revocation of Nonprobate Transfers  4.34
          • (1)  Definition of Nonprobate Transfer  4.35
          • (2)  Revocation Permitted, but Not Creation or Certain Modifications of Nonprobate Transfers  4.36
          • (3)  Property Held in Revocable Trust  4.37
            • (a)  If Trust Allows Revocation by Either Party  4.38
            • (b)  If Trust Requires Joint Revocation and Spouse or RDP Does Not Cooperate  4.39
            • (c)  Form: Notice of Intention to Revoke Trust  4.40
          • (4)  Retirement Account Death Benefits  4.41
            • (a)  Qualified Plans  4.42
            • (b)  Nonqualified Plans  4.43
            • (c)  Interim or Provisional Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)  4.44
        • b.  Unilateral Severance of Survivorship Rights  4.45
          • (1)  Deciding Whether Rights of Survivorship Should Be Severed  4.46
          • (2)  Eliminating Right of Survivorship Is Not Transferring or Disposing of Property  4.47
          • (3)  How to Sever Right of Survivorship  4.48
          • (4)  Form: Notice of Intent to Sever Joint Tenancy  4.49
      • 3.  Actions Permitted Only With Consent of Other Party or Court Order; Actions Strictly Prohibited  4.50
      • 4.  Form: Client Letter; Summary of Possible Estate Plan Changes During Dissolution or Legal Separation Proceeding  4.51
    • A.  Reasons to Bifurcate Status  4.53
    • B.  Other Issues That May Be Bifurcated  4.54
    • C.  Importance of Bifurcation Issues
      • 1.  For Family Law Attorney  4.55
      • 2.  For Estate Planning Attorney  4.56
    • D.  Conditions in Judgment Terminating Marital or RDPship Status
      • 1.  Purpose of Conditions  4.57
      • 2.  Chart: Family Code §2337(c) Conditions  4.58
      • 3.  Understanding Consequences of Conditions  4.59
        • a.  Nonparticipant’s Interest in Retirement and Deferred Compensation Benefits  4.60
        • b.  Health Insurance Coverage  4.61
        • c.  Family Allowance and Probate Homestead
          • (1)  What Are Rights to Family Allowance and Probate Homestead?  4.62
          • (2)  After Termination of Status, Former Spouse or RDP Does Not Qualify  4.63
        • d.  Questionable Effectiveness of Statutory Protections on Bifurcation  4.64
        • e.  Problems if Moving Party Dies While Residing in Foreign Jurisdiction  4.65
      • 4.  Requirements of Fam C §2337(d) for Retirement or Pension Plans  4.66
    • A.  Jurisdiction
      • 1.  Jurisdiction Depends on Type of Proceeding  4.67
      • 2.  Jurisdiction in Dissolution Proceedings
        • a.  Bifurcation and Termination of Marital or RDPship Status: Family Court Retains Jurisdiction  4.68
        • b.  No Termination of Marital or RDPship Status: Probate Court Has Jurisdiction  4.69
        • c.  No Bifurcation, but Rights Adjudicated or Case Submitted Before Death  4.70
    • B.  Specific Issues Affected by Determination of Jurisdiction
      • 1.  Presumptions About Characterization of Property  4.71
      • 2.  Joint Tenancy Property and Community Property With Right of Survivorship
        • a.  If Judgment Terminating Marital or RDPship Status  4.72
        • b.  If No Judgment Terminating Marital or RDPship Status  4.73
      • 3.  Reimbursement Rights  4.74
      • 4.  Loss of Health Insurance Benefits  4.75
      • 5.  Family Allowance and Probate Homestead  4.76
    • A.  Community Property Presumption Applies  4.77
    • B.  Division of Assets and Debts: Basic Rules
      • 1.  Equal Division  4.78
      • 2.  Quasi-Community Property  4.79
      • 3.  Exceptions to Equal Division Rule  4.80
        • a.  Property Settlement Agreement  4.81
        • b.  Other Exceptions  4.82
        • c.  Federal Preemption  4.83
      • 4.  Methods of Division  4.84
      • 5.  Retirement Benefits and Other Deferred Compensation  4.85
      • 6.  Debts  4.86
        • a.  Assignment Based on When Debt Was Incurred  4.87
        • b.  Assignment Based on Purpose for Which Debt Incurred  4.88
        • c.  Reimbursement for Debts Paid From Separate Property  4.89
      • 7.  Separate Property  4.90
      • 8.  Reimbursement Rules
        • a.  Separate Property Contributions to Acquisition of Community Property  4.91
        • b.  Community Property Contributions to Education or Training  4.92
  • VII.  Apportionment Rules: Community Property Contributions to Separate Property Business  4.92A
    • A.  Spousal or RDP Support  4.93
    • B.  Negotiating and Drafting Judgment
      • 1.  Estate Planner’s Role in Drafting and Implementing Judgment  4.94
      • 2.  Life Insurance: Addressing Estate Tax Consequences
        • a.  The Problem  4.95
        • b.  Solutions  4.96
      • 3.  Transfers to Someone Other Than Spouse: Possible Tax Consequences
        • a.  Gift Taxes  4.97
        • b.  Recognition of Gain or Loss  4.98
      • 4.  Existing Irrevocable Trusts  4.99
      • 5.  Trusts Required by Judgment  4.100
      • 6.  Custodial Accounts Under California Uniform Transfers to Minors Act  4.101
      • 7.  Liability for Debts: Third Party Rights and Reimbursement Rights  4.102
        • a.  Obligation Incurred by Both Spouses  4.103
        • b.  Obligation Incurred by One Spouse  4.104
        • c.  Bankruptcy  4.105
        • d.  Fraudulent Transfers  4.106
    • A.  Judgment of Dissolution  4.107
      • 1.  Nonprobate Transfers Automatically Revoked; Exceptions  4.108
      • 2.  Joint Tenancies and Community Property With Right of Survivorship Automatically Severed  4.109
      • 3.  Wills Automatically Revoked  4.110
      • 4.  Tax Consequences
        • a.  For Married Couples  4.111
        • b.  For RDPs  4.112
    • B.  Judgment of Legal Separation  4.113
    • C.  Effect of Judgment on Powers of Attorney  4.114
    • D.  Effect of Judgment on Health Care Coverage  4.115
      • 1.  Possible Federal and State Protections  4.116
      • 2.  COBRA  4.117
      • 3.  Legal Separation and Health Care Coverage  4.118
    • A.  Notice to Insurer of Judgment Requiring Maintenance of Insurance  4.120
    • B.  Real Property Transfers; Retitling Other Assets  4.121
    • C.  Retirement Plan Transfers and Beneficiary Changes  4.122
      • 1.  Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)  4.123
      • 2.  Qualified Retirement Plans
        • a.  Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)  4.124
        • b.  Penalty-Free Distributions Before Age 59½ Under QDRO  4.125
    • A.  Review Judgment  4.127
    • B.  Ascertain Whether All Transfers Under Judgment Have Been Completed  4.128
    • C.  Provide for Child Support Owed by Client  4.129


Issues on Death of Spouse or Registered Domestic Partner

Jeremy Crickard

Jeffrey Jaech

Howard S. Klein

    • A.  Probate Code Governs Decedent’s Estate  5.2
    • B.  Application of Family Law Concepts to Decedent’s Estate  5.3
      • 1.  Equal Application to RDPships  5.4
      • 2.  Characterization of Property and Debts  5.5
        • a.  Community Property  5.6
        • b.  Community Property With Right of Survivorship  5.7
        • c.  Quasi-Community Property  5.8
        • d.  Separate Property  5.9
        • e.  Case Examples  5.10
      • 3.  Transmutation  5.11
      • 4.  Equal Division  5.12
      • 5.  Reimbursement for Satisfaction of Debt  5.13
      • 6.  Gifts of Community Property Without Consent  5.14
    • A.  Estate Planning Documents and Documents of Title  5.16
    • B.  Family Law Documents  5.17
      • 1.  Judgments  5.18
      • 2.  Marital or Domestic Partnership Agreements, Transmutation Agreements, Marvin Agreements  5.19
    • A.  Significance of Characterization of Assets That Decedent Controls
      • 1.  Community Property  5.20
      • 2.  Quasi-Community Property  5.21
      • 3.  Separate Property  5.22
    • B.  Beneficiaries and Heirs
      • 1.  Surviving Spouse or RDP  5.23
      • 2.  Legally Separated Spouses  5.23A
      • 3.  Putative Spouse  5.24
      • 4.  Care Custodian
        • a.  General Rule: Care Custodian Is Disqualified Person  5.25
        • b.  Shield From Disqualification for Spouse, RDP, or Cohabitant of Transferor  5.26
      • 5.  Beneficiaries Under Decedent’s Will
        • a.  Revocation of Bequest to Former Spouse or RDP  5.27
        • b.  Widow’s Election  5.28
        • c.  Surviving Spouse’s Right to California Real Property of Nondomiciliary Decedent  5.29
      • 6.  Beneficiaries Under Decedent’s Trust
        • a.  No Probate; Use of Marital Deduction and Applicable Exclusion Amount  5.30
        • b.  Portability of Applicable Exclusion Amount  5.30A
        • c.  Survivor’s Trust  5.31
        • d.  Bypass Trust  5.32
        • e.  Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) Trust  5.33
      • 7.  Beneficiaries of Nonprobate Transfers; Community Property With Right of Survivorship  5.34
      • 8.  Omitted Spouse or RDP  5.35
      • 9.  Heirs Under Rules of Intestate Succession
        • a.  General Rules  5.36
        • b.  Intestate Decedent With Predeceased Spouse or RDP  5.37
    • C.  Right to Share in Decedent’s Estate Other Than as Beneficiary or Heir  5.38
    • A.  Probate Administration
      • 1.  What Is Probate?  5.40
      • 2.  When Formal Probate Administration of Deceased Spouse or RDP’s Estate Is Required  5.41
      • 3.  When Formal Probate Administration of Deceased Spouse or RDP’s Estate May Be Elected  5.42
    • B.  Nonprobate Transfers
      • 1.  What Is a Nonprobate Transfer?  5.43
      • 2.  Who May Inherit  5.44
      • 3.  Nonprobate Transfers of Community Property  5.45
        • a.  Requirement of Written Consent  5.46
        • b.  Revocation of Consent  5.47
          • (1)  Method of Revocation  5.48
          • (2)  Effect of Revocation  5.49
      • 4.  Nonprobate Transfers to Former Spouse or RDP  5.50
        • a.  Failure of Nonprobate Transfer After Dissolution or Annulment; Exceptions  5.51
        • b.  Severance of Joint Tenancy and Community Property With Right of Survivorship After Dissolution or Annulment; Exceptions  5.52
        • c.  Further Exceptions to Failure of Nonprobate Transfers and Creation of Joint Tenancies  5.53
    • C.  Property Passing Under Decedent’s Trust  5.54
      • 1.  Right of Non-Trustee Surviving Spouse or RDP to Obtain Copy of Trust Instrument  5.55
      • 2.  Heggstad Petitions  5.56
        • a.  Requirements for Successful Heggstad Petition  5.57
        • b.  Procedure  5.58
    • D.  Property Passing to Surviving Spouse or RDP Without Administration  5.59
      • 1.  Right of Surviving Spouse or RDP to Dispose of Community and Quasi-Community Property  5.60
      • 2.  Spousal or RDP Property Petition (Prob C §13650)  5.61
      • 3.  Right of Surviving Spouse or RDP to Collect Salary or Compensation Owed Decedent  5.62
      • 4.  Election to Transfer Survivor’s Community and Quasi-Community Property to Trustee  5.63
    • E.  Three Summary Administration Procedures for Collection or Transfer of Small Estate Without Administration  5.64
      • 1.  Purpose and Use  5.65
      • 2.  Who May Inherit; Procedures Not Exclusive to Surviving Spouse or RDP  5.66
      • 3.  Degree of Court Involvement  5.67
      • 4.  Assets Excluded From Value Limitations  5.68
    • F.  Asserting Surviving Spouse or RDP Property Rights: Potential Problem Areas
      • 1.  When Surviving Spouse or RDP Is Not on Title  5.69
      • 2.  When Nonprobate Transfer of Community Property Has Occurred; Right to Set Aside  5.70
      • 3.  When Life Insurance Proceeds Paid to Another  5.71
        • a.  Characterization of Life Insurance Policy and Proceeds  5.72
        • b.  Federal Preemption of Certain Life Insurance Policies  5.73
        • c.  Procedure to Claim Interest
          • (1)  Notice of Adverse Claim  5.74
          • (2)  Action on Adverse Claim  5.75
      • 4.  When Quasi-Community Property Is Devised; Restoration by Transferee  5.76
      • 5.  When Community Property Is Held in Joint Tenancy  5.77
      • 6.  When Survivor Contests Deceased Spouse or RDP’s Testamentary Instruments  5.78
    • A.  Formal Probate Required  5.80
    • B.  Possession of Property  5.81
    • C.  Probate Homestead  5.82
    • D.  Family Allowance  5.83
    • E.  Probate Set-Asides  5.84
    • A.  Action Against Estate for Violation of Fiduciary Duties Between Spouses or RDPs  5.85
      • 1.  Remedies for Breach of Fiduciary Duties  5.86
      • 2.  Procedure  5.87
        • a.  When Survivor-Creditor’s Claim Must Be Filed  5.88
        • b.  Prob C §850 Petition  5.89
    • B.  Action to Set Aside Nonprobate Transfer of Community Property on Death  5.90
    • C.  Overview of Probate Claims Procedure and Law  5.91
      • 1.  Definition of “Claim”  5.92
      • 2.  Probate Estate Creditors’ Claims Procedure  5.93
      • 3.  If Action Against Decedent Pending at Time of Death  5.94
      • 4.  Trust Creditors’ Claims Procedure  5.95
      • 5.  In the Absence of Formal Creditors’ Claims Procedure
        • a.  Statutes of Limitations  5.96
        • b.  Distributee Liability  5.97
      • 6.  No-Contest Clauses  5.98
      • 7.  Claimant Serving as Fiduciary  5.99
      • 8.  Creditor’s Right to Petition for Probate  5.100
    • D.  Community Property Laws and Creditors’ Rights  5.101
      • 1.  Claims Against Decedent’s Estate and Against Surviving Spouse or RDP
        • a.  Formal Probate  5.102
          • (1)  Allocation of Debts  5.103
          • (2)  Court Order Implementing Allocation  5.104
          • (3)  If Surviving Spouse or RDP Elects to Probate Both Halves of Community Property  5.105
        • b.  Summary Administration Proceeding for Property Passing to Surviving Spouse or RDP  5.106
        • c.  Trust Administration
          • (1)  If Trustee of Decedent’s Revocable Trust Elects Creditors’ Claims Procedure  5.107
          • (2)  Allocation of Debts; Order Implementing Allocation  5.108
        • d.  If No Formal Probate, Summary Administration, or Elective Trust Claims Procedure  5.109
        • e.  No Liability of Surviving Former Spouse or RDP  5.110
      • 2.  Claims of Spouse or RDP or Former Spouse or RDP  5.111
        • a.  Claims Based on Contract
          • (1)  Marital or RDPship Property Agreements and Contracts Generally  5.112
          • (2)  Promise or Agreement to Provide Disposition Under Will or Trust  5.113
          • (3)  Marvin Claims of Cohabitants  5.114
        • b.  Claims Based on Spousal or RDP Support and Child Support Orders and Agreements
          • (1)  When Annuity, Life Insurance, or Trust Included in Dissolution Judgment for Support  5.115
          • (2)  Spousal or RDP Support  5.116
            • (a)  After Death: Support Under Agreement or Accrued Under Judgment  5.117
            • (b)  Remedies
              • (i)  Formal Probate Proceeding  5.118
              • (ii)  If No Formal Probate Proceeding: Civil Action  5.119
              • (iii)  Caution Regarding No-Contest Clauses  5.120
          • (3)  Child Support  5.121
        • c.  Claims Based on Right to Reimbursement  5.122


Retirement Benefits and Other Deferred Compensation

James M. Crawford, Jr.

R. Ann Fallon

Michael J. Low

    • A.  California Law
      • 1.  “Default” Provisions of Family, Probate, and Tax Codes  6.3
      • 2.  Statutes Governing Public Employee Benefits  6.4
    • B.  Federal Law and Preemption
      • 1.  ERISA
        • a.  ERISA’s Broad Application to Private Plans; Preemption  6.5
        • b.  ERISA Pension Plans and Welfare Plans Distinguished  6.6
        • c.  Issues to Resolve in Determining Whether Plan Is Subject to ERISA or Other Law
          • (1)  Issues Summarized  6.7
          • (2)  Determining if Employee Benefit Plan Is Involved  6.8
          • (3)  Determining if Plan Is Subject to ERISA  6.9
          • (4)  Determining if ERISA Provisions Apply to Plan and Affect Intended Property Disposition  6.10
          • (5)  Determining if Other Preemptive Federal Law Applies  6.11
        • d.  Qualified Plans Under Tax Code; Significance to ERISA  6.12
        • e.  Nonqualified Plans
          • (1)  General Characteristics  6.13
          • (2)  Nonqualified Employee Plans Having Rules Similar to Qualified Plan Rules
            • (a)  Tax-Sheltered Annuities (403(b) Plans)  6.14
            • (b)  SEP and SIMPLE Plans
              • (i)  SEP or SEP-IRA Plans  6.15
              • (ii)  SIMPLE Plans or SIMPLE 401(k) Plans  6.16
      • 2.  Other Federal Laws
        • a.  Tax Law Governing IRAs, Stock Options, and Certain Other Retirement Plans
          • (1)  IRAs  6.17
          • (2)  Stock Options  6.18
          • (3)  Nonelecting Church Retirement Plans  6.19
          • (4)  Tribal Retirement Plans  6.20
          • (5)  Excess Benefit Retirement Plans  6.21
        • b.  Statutes Governing Military and Other Federal Employees
          • (1)  Military Servicemembers  6.22
          • (2)  Federal Civil Service and Railroad Employees
            • (a)  Civil Service Retirement System Benefits  6.23
            • (b)  Federal Employees’ Retirement System Benefits  6.24
            • (c)  Railroad Retirement Act Benefits  6.25
        • c.  Bankruptcy Code Provisions Affecting Retirement Benefits  6.26
        • d.  Law Governing Social Security Benefits  6.26A
    • C.  Sister-State Law; Foreign Law and Treaties
      • 1.  Sister-State Law  6.27
      • 2.  Foreign Law and Treaties  6.28
    • A.  Considerations for Specific Benefits, Plans, and Accounts
      • 1.  ERISA Benefits
        • a.  No Premarital Consent to Waive QJSA or QPSA in Qualified Retirement Plans  6.29
        • b.  Waiver of Welfare Plan Benefits Distinguished  6.30
        • c.  Potential Assignment-of-Income Issue  6.31
      • 2.  Nonqualified Plans
        • a.  Effect of Certain Benefit Transfers  6.32
        • b.  Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans Subject to IRC §457  6.33
      • 3.  IRAs  6.34
      • 4.  Stock Options  6.35
      • 5.  Government Benefits
        • a.  Federal
          • (1)  Military Benefits  6.36
          • (2)  Civil Service and Railroad Retirement Benefits
            • (a)  Civil Service Retirement Benefits  6.37
            • (b)  Railroad Retirement Benefits  6.38
        • b.  California
          • (1)  CalPERS and CalSTRS Benefits
            • (a)  CalPERS Benefits
              • (i)  Death Benefit Payments in General  6.39
              • (ii)  Additional Death and Survivor Benefits  6.40
            • (b)  CalSTRS Benefits
              • (i)  Retirement Benefits in General; Preretirement Death Benefits  6.41
              • (ii)  Modification of Monthly Survivor Benefit on Retirement  6.42
          • (2)  County Benefits  6.43
    • B.  Effect of Windsor and Obergefell on Benefits of Registered Domestic Partners  6.44
    • C.  Special Issues Raised by California Law
      • 1.  Parties’ Relationship May Heighten Scrutiny of Transactions  6.45
      • 2.  Transmutation of Property  6.46
    • A.  Specific Benefits, Plans, and Accounts
      • 1.  Survivor and Death Benefits Under ERISA-Related Plans
        • a.  ERISA-Covered Funded Pension Plans  6.47
        • b.  ERISA-Covered Funded Profit-Sharing Plans  6.48
        • c.  Nonqualified Plans  6.49
        • d.  Welfare Plans  6.50
      • 2.  IRAs  6.51
      • 3.  Stock Options  6.52
      • 4.  Nonelecting Church Retirement Plans and Tribal Government Retirement Plans  6.53
      • 5.  Excess Benefit Retirement Plans  6.54
      • 6.  Government Benefits
        • a.  Federal
          • (1)  Military Benefits  6.55
          • (2)  Civil Service and Railroad Retirement Benefits
            • (a)  Civil Service Retirement Benefits  6.56
            • (b)  Railroad Retirement Benefits  6.57
        • b.  California
          • (1)  CalPERS and CalSTRS Benefits  6.58
            • (a)  CalPERS
              • (i)  Members Not Yet Eligible to Retire  6.59
              • (ii)  Members Eligible to Retire But Had Not Retired at Death  6.60
              • (iii)  Members Retired at Death  6.61
            • (b)  CalSTRS  6.62
          • (2)  County Benefits  6.63
    • B.  “Default” Retirement Provisions Affecting Benefits  6.64
    • A.  Pre-ATRO Period  6.65
    • B.  Specific Benefits, Plans, and Accounts
      • 1.  Survivor Benefits and Beneficiary Rights Under ERISA-Qualified Plans
        • a.  Funded Retirement Plans Subject to Preemptive ERISA Law  6.66
        • b.  QPSA and QJSA Benefits
          • (1)  QPSA Benefit  6.67
          • (2)  QJSA Benefit  6.68
          • (3)  Required Minimum Distributions and Pay or Nonpay Status Issues  6.69
          • (4)  Benefit Disclaimers by Beneficiary  6.70
          • (5)  Benefit Allocations and Distributions in Contemplation of Dissolution
            • (a)  Beneficiary Designation by QDRO  6.71
            • (b)  Avoiding Use of QDRO  6.72
            • (c)  Abuses of QDRO  6.73
          • (6)  Plan Funding Liabilities; Involvement of Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation  6.74
          • (7)  Prohibited Plan Transactions That May Affect Benefits  6.75
      • 2.  Nonqualified Deferred Compensation and Plan Benefits
        • a.  Nonqualified Deferred Compensation  6.76
        • b.  Nonqualified (Unfunded) Retirement Plan Benefits  6.77
      • 3.  Church, Government, and Tribal Plan Benefits  6.78
      • 4.  Welfare Plan Benefits (Funded or Unfunded)  6.79
      • 5.  Tax Considerations
        • a.  Effects of Windsor on Division of Retirement Assets Between Same-Sex Couples  6.80
        • b.  Recovery of Basis  6.81
        • c.  Differences in Income Tax and FICA Treatment of Benefits  6.82
        • d.  Community Property and Assignment-of-Income Doctrine  6.83
        • e.  Particular Benefits and Other Assets
          • (1)  Stock Options
            • (a)  Incentive Stock Options (ISOs)  6.84
            • (b)  Nonqualified Stock Options  6.85
          • (2)  Spouse and Nonspouse Trusts  6.86
        • f.  Rollover Issues and Mandatory Withholding  6.87
        • g.  IRS Levy and Bankruptcy Protection  6.88
        • h.  Abusive Tax Shelters; Listed Transactions  6.89
      • 6.  Government Benefits
        • a.  Federal
          • (1)  Military Retirement Benefits  6.90
          • (2)  Civil Service Benefits  6.91
        • b.  California
          • (1)  CalPERS and CalSTRS Benefits  6.92
            • (a)  CalPERS Benefits  6.93
            • (b)  CalSTRS Benefits  6.94
          • (2)  County Benefits  6.95
    • A.  Considerations in View of Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROs) and Fiduciary Duty Law
      • 1.  Effect of ATROs on Particular Beneficiaries
        • a.  Default Beneficiaries of Nonprobate Transfer Assets  6.96
        • b.  Changing Beneficiaries; Survivor Benefits  6.97
      • 2.  Fiduciary Duty  6.98
    • B.  Effect of ERISA Preemption; Need for Consideration of ATROs  6.99
    • C.  Trusts  6.100
    • D.  Additional Considerations for Specific Benefits or Other Deferred Compensation Assets
      • 1.  CalPERS, CalSTRS, and County Benefits  6.101
      • 2.  Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) Benefits  6.102
    • A.  Bifurcation of Case and Revocation of Nonprobate Transfers Under California Law
      • 1.  Bifurcation of Case to Terminate Marital Status and Related Conditions to Protect Retirement Benefits  6.103
      • 2.  Revocation of Certain Nonprobate Transfers  6.104
    • B.  ERISA and Other Federal Benefit Considerations
      • 1.  Effect of Terminating Marital Status on Nonemployee’s Right to Obtain Survivor Benefits  6.105
      • 2.  Issues if Employee Spouse Later Remarries  6.106
      • 3.  Use of QDRO for Payment of Benefits
        • a.  Role of QDRO  6.107
        • b.  QDROs for Nonqualified Plans and Life Insurance?  6.108
      • 4.  Garnishment Restrictions on Benefits  6.109
    • C.  Federal Tax Considerations
      • 1.  Income in Respect of Decedent and Estate Tax  6.110
      • 2.  Protecting Innocent Spouse From IRS Levy  6.111
      • 3.  RDPs and Marital Interest QDROs  6.112
      • 4.  IRA-Related Tax Issues
        • a.  Nontaxable Division of IRA Versus Maintenance of Nonowner as Beneficiary  6.113
        • b.  Tax Liabilities  6.114
        • c.  Effect of Required Minimum Distribution Rules  6.115
    • D.  Bankruptcy  6.116
    • E.  Additional Considerations for Specific Benefits or Other Deferred Compensation Assets
      • 1.  CalPERS and CalSTRS Benefits  6.117
      • 2.  Federal Civil Service Benefits  6.118
    • A.  California’s Requirement That Court Address Benefits in Dissolution Judgment  6.119
    • B.  Dividing Benefits Under ERISA
      • 1.  Need for Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)  6.120
      • 2.  Benefits Under Qualified Plans
        • a.  Consideration of Tax Basis in Valuing Benefits
          • (1)  Recipient of Plan Benefits Carries Over Basis  6.121
          • (2)  Understanding Basis in Retirement Plan Benefits  6.122
        • b.  Application of Express Trusts to Benefits  6.123
    • C.  Nonqualified Deferred Compensation  6.124
    • D.  Employment-Related Life insurance  6.125
    • E.  Tax Considerations for Particular Benefits
      • 1.  Stock Options
        • a.  Nonqualified Stock Options  6.126
        • b.  Incentive Stock Options  6.127
      • 2.  IRAs
        • a.  Transfer by Divorce Instrument Is Nontaxable  6.128
        • b.  Additional Tax on Early Distributions  6.129
        • c.  Self-Directed IRAs  6.130
    • F.  Benefits Under Government Plans
      • 1.  Federal Plans  6.131
      • 2.  Military Servicemembers  6.131A
      • 3.  Civil Service Retirement System Benefits and Federal Employees’ Retirement System Benefits  6.131B
      • 4.  Railroad Retirement Benefits Act  6.131C
      • 5.  California Plans
        • a.  Effect of One Party’s Entitlement to Social Security Benefits  6.131D
        • b.  CalPERS
          • (1)  Order for Award of Benefits to Spouse or RDP  6.132
          • (2)  Waiver or Change of Benefits  6.133
        • c.  CalSTRS  6.134
    • G.  Sister-State Recognition of Judgment Dividing Benefits  6.135
    • A.  Specific Benefits
      • 1.  Funded ERISA Retirement Plan Benefits
        • a.  Issues Summarized  6.136
        • b.  Testamentary Dispositions  6.137
      • 2.  Federal Civil Service Benefits  6.138
    • B.  Other Issues Under California Law  6.139


Incapacity Issues in Family Law and Probate Proceedings

Charles M. Riffle

Kathleen A. Durrans

Melissa R. Karlsten

    • A.  Court-Supervised Proceedings  7.2
    • B.  Proceeding for Particular Transaction Involving Community Property  7.3
      • 1.  Definitions  7.4
      • 2.  Examples of Particular Transactions  7.5
      • 3.  Court Actions That May Be Requested in Proceeding
        • a.  Authorize Particular Transaction  7.6
        • b.  Determine Character of Property  7.7
      • 4.  Required Allegations in Petition  7.8
      • 5.  Required Trust Provisions When Petition Includes Request to Authorize Creation of Trust  7.9
    • A.  Presumption of Capacity to Marry or Enter Into RDPship  7.10
    • B.  Judicial Determination Under Prob C §1901
      • 1.  Petition and Notice  7.11
      • 2.  Court-Appointed Counsel  7.12
      • 3.  Evidentiary Issues  7.13
    • A.  Standing; Limitations Periods  7.15
    • B.  Survival of Action  7.16
    • C.  Judgment of Nullity  7.17
    • A.  Enforcing Fiduciary Duties  7.19
    • B.  Right to Support of Conservatee Spouse or RDP  7.20
      • 1.  Petition and Notice  7.21
      • 2.  Production of Financial Information  7.22
      • 3.  Temporary Orders  7.23
      • 4.  Support Orders  7.24
      • 5.  Division of Community Property for Failure to Comply With Support Order  7.25
      • 6.  Characterization of Property as Part of Prob C §3080 Proceeding  7.26
    • C.  Right to Support of Spouse or RDP With Capacity  7.27
    • D.  Procedures for Transactions Requiring Joinder or Consent  7.28
      • 1.  Community Property Transactions  7.29
      • 2.  Satisfying Requirement of Joinder or Consent  7.30
        • a.  Authorization by Court Order  7.31
        • b.  Consent Without Court Authorization  7.32
    • A.  Conservator or Guardian Ad Litem May Commence Action on Behalf of Conservatee  7.33
      • 1.  When Guardian Ad Litem May Be Appropriate  7.34
      • 2.  Who May Petition for Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem  7.35
      • 3.  Procedure for Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem  7.36
    • B.  Conservatee’s Expressed Wishes for Dissolution Required to Commence Action  7.37
    • C.  Legal Separation as Alternative to Dissolution  7.38
      • 1.  Petition for Legal Separation Does Not Require Residency  7.39
      • 2.  Legal Separation as Protective Proceeding Requires Consent of Both Parties  7.40
    • D.  Dissolution or Legal Separation on Grounds of Permanent Incapacity  7.41
    • E.  Spouse or RDP With Capacity May Initiate Dissolution or Legal Separation Proceeding; Conservator’s Duty to Defend and Protect Conservatee  7.42
    • F.  Notification Required if Conservatee’s Spouse or RDP Initiates Action  7.43
    • G.  Changes in Conservatee’s Estate Plan Under Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROs)  7.44
      • 1.  Steps Required  7.45
      • 2.  Specific Types of Estate Planning Documents
        • a.  Creation of Will and Unfunded Revocable Trust  7.46
        • b.  Revocation of Existing Revocable Trust and Pour-Over Will
          • (1)  ATRO Provisions  7.47
          • (2)  Substituted Judgment Petition for Incapacitated Spouse or RDP  7.48
          • (3)  Request for Authority to Create New Will and Unfunded Revocable Trust  7.49
        • c.  Other Nonprobate Transfers  7.50
        • d.  Beneficiary Designations  7.51
      • 3.  Substituted Judgment Procedures
        • a.  Identify Who May File Petition  7.52
        • b.  Provide Notice  7.53
        • c.  Determine Grounds for Order  7.54
        • d.  Application of Prudent Person Standard  7.55
    • H.  Death of Spouse or RDP With Capacity While Action Pending  7.56
    • I.  Settlement of Family Law Action
      • 1.  Procedure  7.57
      • 2.  Possible Subjects of Settlement Agreement  7.58
    • J.  Issues When Incapacity Arises After Petition for Dissolution Filed
      • 1.  Proceeding Does Not Abate  7.59
      • 2.  Identifying Loss of Capacity to Continue Prosecuting Action
        • a.  Onset of Incapacity During Proceeding  7.60
        • b.  Standard for Determining Incapacity  7.61
      • 3.  Ethical Responsibilities; Actions to Take to Comply With Duties  7.62
      • 4.  Steps to Take After Conservator Is Appointed  7.63


Frequently Used Estate Planning Terms and Abbreviations

CEB Staff

  • I.  Estate Planning Documents
    • A.  Wills  8.1
    • B.  Trusts
      • 1.  Most Commonly Encountered Trusts  8.2
      • 2.  Other Trusts  8.3
    • C.  Health Care Directives and Powers of Attorney  8.4
    • D.  Nomination of Conservator and Guardian  8.5
  • II.  Estate and Trust Administration
    • A.  Decedent Estate Administration  8.6
    • B.  Trust Administration  8.7
  • III.  Tax Terms  8.8

Selected Developments

August 2019 Update

California Rules of Professional Conduct

The California Rules of Professional Conduct have been revised and renumbered, effective November 1, 2018. Note that the California Supreme Court denied the request to approve proposed Rule 1.14, regarding a lawyer’s obligations in representation of clients with diminished capacity. See §7.62.

Summarized below are other developments included in this update since publication of the 2018 update.

Chapter 1: Introduction: Issues in Estate Planning and Family Law

Parentage presumption. The Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) (Fam C §§7600–7730) has been amended to “[e]nsure that the parentage provisions of the Family Code treat same-sex parents equally, including the conclusive marital presumption of parentage in Section 7540 of the Family Code, and for parents who conceived children through assisted reproduction, to establish their parentage through a voluntary declaration of parentage” and to “[u]pdate the genetic testing provisions to match current scientific requirements, apply gender neutrality, and codify case law regarding the relevance of genetic testing in cases involving multiple claims of parentage.” Stats 2018, ch 876, §1(b). The amendments are effective January 1, 2019, but some amended sections—e.g., Fam C §7571, regarding voluntary declaration of parentage—will not become operative until January 1, 2020. Stats 2018, ch 876, §29. In the Probate Code, the treatment of same-sex and opposite-sex couples for parentage in intestate succession situations is also equalized. For example, “father” becomes “parent” and “paternity” becomes “parentage.” Prob C §6453. Clear and convincing evidence of parentage, for the purposes of establishing a parent and child relationship, may include genetic DNA evidence acquired during the parent’s lifetime if it was impossible for the parent to hold out the child as the parent’s own. Prob C §6453(b); Stats 2018, ch 116, effective January 1, 2019. See §§1.16–1.17.

Adoption. In Estate of Obata (2018) 27 CA5th 730, the court found that the Japanese practice of yoshi-engumi constitutes a legal adoption under Prob C §§6450–6451; thus, the 1911 adoption severed the relationship between the decedents’ father and his biological parents, thereby precluding intestate inheritance by the descendants of his biological parents. See §1.17.

Registered domestic partners. New Rev & T C §62(q) excludes from the definition of “change of ownership” any transfer between local registered domestic partners occurring on or after January 1, 2000, to June 26, 2015. Local registered domestic partners may apply for reversal of reassessments in violation of this subsection. Stats 2018, ch 919, effective September 29, 2018. See §1.14. See also §4.112.

Chapter 2: Premarital and Preregistration Agreements

Fraudulent transfer. In Sturm v Moyer (2019) 32 CA5th 299, a case of first impression, the court held that the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA) (former CC §§3439–3439.12), the predecessor to the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (UVTA) (CC §§3439–3439.14), can apply to a premarital agreement in which the prospective spouses agree that on marriage, each spouse’s earnings, income, and other property acquired during marriage will be that spouse’s separate property. Whether the Act does apply depends on whether there was actual or constructive fraud under CC §3439.04, which is a factual question. See §§2.10, 2.48, 2.49. See also §3.71.

Chapter 3: Issues During Marriage, Registered Domestic Partnership, and Cohabitation

Joint title community property presumption. In Marriage of G.C. & R.W. (2018) 23 CA5th 1, involving the couple’s residence, the court held that reimbursement ordered for the separate property contribution under Fam C §2640 may not include an amount for appreciation of the property during marriage. The value of the appreciation is a community asset and must be divided equally on dissolution. See §3.59.

Methods of apportionment. In Marriage of Brooks (2019) 33 CA5th 576, the court held that the community was adequately compensated by husband’s salary during marriage, so husband’s business interest (and stock appreciation) remained separate property. See §3.63. See also §5.10.

Transmutation. A “trust transfer deed” that used the words “grant” and “gift” did not unambiguously indicate a change in character or ownership of real property and did not satisfy the express declaration requirement because it did not include an express statement specifying what interest in the property was granted to wife. Hence, the residence was not wife’s separate property. Marriage of Begian & Sarajian (2018) 31 CA5th 506. See §3.67.

On the other hand, in Marriage of Kushesh & Kushesh-Kaviani (2018) 27 CA5th 449, the court found that an interspousal transfer grant deed satisfied all transmutation elements, given that the “interspousal” deed “grant[ed]” or conveyed to wife an interest in a condominium “as her sole and separate property” in writing. On remand, the trial court must determine if the transfer gave wife an unfair advantage over husband. See §3.68. See also §2.40.

Liability for debts. In Marriage of Marshall (2018) 23 CA5th 477, the court held that a capital gains tax liability was a community debt to be divided between the parties in their dissolution action. The state court is not bound by the IRS or FTB “innocent spouse” determination. See §3.73.

Chapter 4: Issues at Dissolution or Legal Separation

Equal division of assets and debts. The general rule is that the trial court must value the community assets and liabilities “as near as practicable to the time of trial.” Fam C §2552(a). However, in Marriage of Oliverez (2019) 33 CA5th 298, the court of appeal found no abuse of discretion when the trial court set the property valuation date at the date of remand after appeal according to principles of equity. See §4.78.

Chapter 6: Retirement Benefits and Other Deferred Compensation

ERISA preemption. In Sveen v Melin (2019) ___ US ___, 138 S Ct 1815, the Supreme Court resolved a split of authority among the circuits over whether the contracts clause (US Const art I, §10, cl 1) prevents a revocation-on-divorce statute from applying to a preexisting agreement’s beneficiary designation (here, a life insurance policy) and following Lazar v Kroncke (9th Cir 2017) 862 F3d 1186 (applying Arizona law; when ERISA was inapplicable, state’s revocation-on-divorce statute was not preempted by federal law and former spouse not entitled as IRA beneficiary). See §6.137.

About the Authors

NORDIN F. BLACKER is the founding partner of Blacker, Sammis & Blacker, a family law firm in San Francisco. Mr. Blacker received his Bachelor of Science in Law degree from UCLA/USC in 1961 and his J.D. degree from the Law Center of the University of Southern California in 1963. Mr. Blacker is a family law specialist certified by the California State Bar. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1977, serving as the Northern California chapter’s president and treasurer, and the chairman of the National Council of Presidents. Mr. Blacker is a former United States Magistrate Judge, acting as a part-time judicial officer from 1971 to 1986. Mr. Blacker has been named in the publication Best Lawyers in America for more than 20 years. He has been on the Early Neutral Evaluation Panel of the Federal District Court since its inception. Mr. Blacker has also volunteered as a judge pro tempore and a Settlement Master in Santa Clara and San Francisco County Superior Courts and served as a privately retained judge tempore in various Bay Area counties.

RICHARD A. BURGER is a sole practitioner in Petaluma, specializing in estate planning and administration. He received his B.A. degree in 1979 from Sonoma State University and his J.D. degree in 1983 from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization and is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Mr. Burger is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar of California and served as editor of California Trusts and Estates Quarterly.

SHERROL L. CASSEDY is a certified family law specialist, who after 20 years of family law practice has since 2005 dedicated herself exclusively to mediation and private judging. She is the principal of Threshold Resources, devoted to marriage and divorce resolution, education, and ritual. Ms. Cassedy received her B.A. degree (with distinction) from Stanford University and her law degree (magna cum laude) from Georgetown University Law Center in 1983. Prior to commencing family law practice in 1985, she spent 2 years as counsel for the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues in the United States House of Representatives. Ms. Cassedy is an adjunct faculty member at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where she teaches Law and Ethics. She has also been a frequent lecturer on financial topics in family law, such as stock options, tracing, premarital agreements, and support. Ms. Cassedy developed and presented an intensive litigation training program for family lawyers in 1993, 1997, and 2003. She was selected for Best Lawyers in America, 2003, and was named the 2008 Fellow of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

JAMES M. CRAWFORD, JR., is an ERISA attorney with an extensive QDRO practice. He received his B.A. degree in 1968 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his J.D. degree in 1971 from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Mr. Crawford regularly assists family law and estate planning counsel with characterization, apportionment, and taxation issues regarding retirement benefits and other deferred compensation and in the preparation of division orders for both qualified and nonqualified retirement plans and other deferred compensation. In addition, Mr. Crawford counsels benefit plan administrators and employers (private industry, church, and governmental) in matters of employee plan administration and related fiduciary issues. A former litigator, he also provides expert witness testimony and litigation support in disputes involving employee benefits. Mr. Crawford coauthored the changes in Family Code §2337 (effective January 1, 2008) to better protect spousal rights to retirement and survivor benefits on a status bifurcation, and he advised the Judicial Council on the preparation of the related implementation forms. Mr. Crawford is a frequent author and speaker on employee benefits matters and has been a guest lecturer at such venues as the State Bar Institute, the ACFLS Spring Seminar, the Family Law Institute, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and McGeorge School of Law.

JEREMY CRICKARD is a partner in the family wealth and exempt organizations practice group of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, LLP, in Rancho Santa Fe and San Diego. His practice involves advising clients in all areas of estate planning, including family wealth and transfer tax planning, probate and trust administration, business succession planning, and charitable planned giving. Mr. Crickard received his undergraduate degree from Williams College and his legal education at the University of Michigan Law School. He is a current member of the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar of California and lectures regularly on estate planning, trust and estate administration, and transfer taxes. Mr. Crickard is also a member of the Trust and Probate Law Section of the San Diego Bar Association, the San Diego Bowl Game Committee, and the Development Committee of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego, for whom he formerly served as Treasurer.

KATHLEEN A. DURRANS is a member of the law firm of Aaron, Riechert, Carpol & Riffle, APC, in Redwood City. Her practice focuses on conservatorship administration and litigation, probate and trust administration and litigation, and estate planning. Ms. Durrans received her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Boston University in 1993 and her law degree from the University of San Francisco in 1999. She is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Ms. Durrans was the chair of the Women’s Lawyers section of the San Mateo County Bar Association and currently serves on its board. She is a coauthor of When Death and Divorce Collide, published in the Spring 2005 issue of the Trusts and Estates Quarterly.

R. ANN FALLON is a partner in the law firm of Whiting, Fallon & Ross in Walnut Creek, where she specializes in family law pension issues. She received her B.A. degree from Fordham University in 1970 and her J.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1983. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a certified family law specialist. She was the 2009 recipient of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists Hall of Fame award. Ms. Fallon has authored numerous articles on pension issues and is a co-drafter of legislation (Family Code §2337 modifications) and various Judicial Council forms (FL-347, 348, and 460). She is a frequent presenter in continuing legal education programs, a contributing author to California Marital Settlement and Other Family Law Agreements (3d ed Cal CEB), and a contributing editor of Dividing Pensions and Other Employee Benefits in California Divorces (Cal CEB).

RONALD S. GRANBERG is founding member of the Granberg Law Office in Salinas. Mr. Granberg received his B.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1970 and his J.D. degree from the Monterey College of Law in 1978. He is certified as a specialist in family law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Granberg is president of the Northern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, past president of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, past president of the Monterey County Bar Association, and a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Since 1978, Mr. Granberg has been a professor at the Monterey College of Law, where he serves as dean of community programs.

JEFFREY JAECH practices with Baker Manock & Jensen in Fresno. He is a graduate of Washington State University (1974) and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (1977). He is certified as a specialist in estate planning, probate, and trust law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Jaech served as a member and advisor to the California State Bar Trusts and Estates Section’s Executive Committee.

MELISSA R. KARLSTEN is licensed to practice law in the State of California and a shareholder of the law firm of Aaron, Riechert, Carpol & Riffle, APC. She has been practicing in the area of probate, estate planning, and trust law since 2002. She received her B.A. degree in English (cum laude) from Santa Clara University and her J.D. degree (cum laude) from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She was a member of the McAuliffe Honor Society and served as the technical editor for the University of San Francisco Law Review. Ms. Karlsten served as the president of the San Mateo County Bar Association Barristers Section in 2007. Ms. Karlsten currently serves as the treasurer of the San Mateo County Women Lawyers Section. She is a coauthor of the article When Death and Divorce Collide, published in the Spring 2005 issue of the Trusts and Estates Quarterly.

HOWARD S. KLEIN heads the probate department of Feinberg Mindel Brandt & Klein, LLP, in West Los Angeles. His practice emphasizes trust, estate, and conservatorship litigation and probate and family law crossover issues. Mr. Klein was elected to Phi Beta Kappa after his junior year at the University of California, Los Angeles, and graduated (summa cum laude) in 1958. He received his J.D. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law in 1961. He has authored or coauthored five crossover articles in the past 6 years, including the following articles in Los Angeles Lawyer, published by the Los Angeles County Bar Association: When Codes (Probate and Family) Collide: Crossover Issues at Marriage, Divorce and Death and Upon Incapacity (Apr. 2005); Under the Influence: Claims of Undue Influence Are Considered Under Different Standards in Family Law and Probate Matters (Sept. 2008); and Parting of the Ways: Clients Contemplating Divorce Need to Consider Revision of Their Estate Plans (June 2010). Mr. Klein is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization and is past chair of the Estate Planning Law Advisory Commission of the Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Klein also chaired the Trusts and Estates Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.

MICHAEL J. LOW is a partner with Janssen Doyle LLP in Orinda. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Mr. Low is a trial lawyer with a practice focused on civil tax controversies, criminal tax investigations, and litigation in state and federal courts involving trusts and estates, accounting, partnerships, executive compensation, and ERISA and non-ERISA plan benefits.

CHRISTOPHER M. MOORE is a principal of Moore, Bryan & Schroff in Torrance. His practice is limited to trusts and estates and family law. Mr. Moore received his B.A. degree from Stanford University and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. He is certified as a specialist in family law and in estate planning, trust and probate law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Moore is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He was a member of the executive committees of the State Bar Trust and Estate Law Section (2000–2006) and the Family Law Section (1998–2000). Mr. Moore speaks and writes frequently on trusts and estates and family law issues.

VIRGINIA PALMER is a partner with the law firm of Wendel Rosen Black & Dean in Oakland. She received her J.D. degree from Golden Gate University School of Law in 1980. She has particular expertise in estate planning for both married and unmarried couples (including domestic partners), premarital and postmarital agreements, representation of individual and professional fiduciaries in the administration of living trusts, and conservatorship. In addition, she serves as a judge pro tem in Alameda County Superior Court, and she acts as a court-appointed guardian ad litem for children and incapacitated adults. Ms. Palmer is a frequent lecturer on estate planning and other issues for domestic partners.

CHARLES M. RIFFLE is a member of the law firm of Aaron, Riechert, Carpol & Riffle, APC, in Redwood City. His practice focuses on probate litigation, estate planning and family law, emphasizing collaborative law. Mr. Riffle received both his bachelor’s (1969) and law (1972) degrees from the University of San Francisco. He is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Riffle was the former chair of both the family law and probate law sections of the San Mateo County Bar Association and served as president of the San Mateo County Bar Association in 1999. He was a coauthor of When Death and Divorce Collide, published in the Spring 2005 issue of the Trusts and Estates Quarterly.

JENNY WALD is a principal of the Law Offices of Jenny Wald in San Francisco. Her practice focuses exclusively on family law. Ms. Wald received her B.A. degree from Bowdoin College in 1989 and her J.D. degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 1997. Ms. Wald is certified as a specialist in family law. She has been an adjunct law professor at San Francisco Law School, where she has taught legal writing and community property. Ms. Wald has also authored briefs to the California Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court, which resulted in reported decisions on issues of first impression in three reported California cases: K.M. v E.G. (2005) 37 C4th 130; Marriage of De Guigne (2002) 97 CA4th 1353; and Guardianship of Olivia J. (2000) 84 CA4th 1146. In addition, Ms. Wald published an article on the seminal same-sex parentage decisions handed down by the California Supreme Court: Legitimate Parents: Construing California’s Uniform Parentage Act to Protect Children Born Into Nontraditional Families, 6 J Center for Fams Child & Cts (2005).

About the 2019 Update Authors

MEERA N. BALAT, update coauthor of chapter 7, is an associate attorney with Aaron, Riechert, Carpol & Riffle in Redwood City. Ms. Balat’s practice includes conservatorships, estate planning, trust administration, and probate. She received her B.S. from the University of California, San Diego, in 2014 and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2018. She is a member of the Trusts & Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association.

JEREMY CRICKARD is an original author and continuing update author of chapter 5. See biography in About the Authors section.

KATHLEEN A. DURRANS is an original author and continuing update author of chapter 7. See biography in About the Authors section.

MARA M. ERLACH, update coauthor of chapters 1, 2, and 3, is senior counsel with Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh LLP in San Francisco. Ms. Erlach specializes in estate planning, trust, and probate law. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1999 and her J.D. from the University of California, Davis, School of Law in 2002. She has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2013. She is a member of the San Francisco Estate Planning Council, the San Francisco Bar Association, and the Trusts & Estates Section of the California Lawyers Asscociation.

JEFFREY JAECH is an original author and continuing update author of chapter 5. See biography in About the Authors section.

MELISSA R. KARLSTEN is an original author and continuing update author of chapter 7. See biography in About the Authors section.

LAWRENCE E. LEONE, update coauthor of chapter 3, is certified as a specialist in family law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Leone maintains a sole law and mediation practice in Los Angeles. A former partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Trope and Trope, Mr. Leone has played prominent roles with the family law sections of the Los Angeles County and the Beverly Hills bar associations. He has written extensively for the annual Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Symposium and is an ongoing editorial consultant for the California Family Law Monthly. Mr. Leone has also served as a judge pro tem in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, as well as a family law mediator. He is a contributing author to the following publications: California Child Custody Litigation and Practice (Cal CEB), Dividing Pensions and Other Employee Benefits in California Divorces (Cal CEB), and Family Law Financial Discovery (Cal CEB). Mr. Leone earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his J.D. degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

EDWARD M. LYMAN, update coauthor of chapters 1, 2, and 5, is a sole practitioner in Santa Monica. He is a former plaintiff’s attorney whose practice now focuses on family law and civil litigation (trials and appeals). He received his B.S.C. from the University of Miami (Florida) in 2003 and his J.D. from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law, in 2006. He is a member of the State Bar of California, the Family Law Section of the California Lawyers Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Family Law Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, and the California Employment Lawyers Association.

CHRISTOPHER M. MOORE is the original author and continuing update author of chapter 4. See biography in About the Authors section.

RICHARD R. MUIR, update coauthor of chapter 6, practices family law as a sole practitioner in Upland with a focus on qualified domestic relation orders. He received his B.A. from Albion College (Michigan); his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1988; and his LL.M in Taxation from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1991. In addition, Mr. Muir is a certified public accountant and has authored chapters in Dividing Pensions and Other Employee Benefits in California Divorces (Cal CEB) on CalPERS, CalSTRS, the 1937 County Retirement Act Plans, and local city chartered plans. He is a member of the Family Law Section of the California Lawyers Association.

LOUISE NIXON, update coauthor of chapter 6, is the founder and president of the QDRO Benefits Law Group, APLC, in Pasadena. Her practice focuses exclusively on retirement benefits, specifically determining the community or marital interest in pension benefits earned through employment and drafting appropriate orders for the division and disposition of those interests. She frequently lectures on these topic throughout the state. Ms. Nixon received her B.A. from the University of California, Davis, in 1984, and her J.D. from the Whittier College School of Law in 1993. She is a member of the Family Law Section of the California Lawyers Association, the Orange County Bar Association, and the QDRONES, a national consortium of ERISA tax and family law specialists who focus on employee benefit issues at divorce.

CHARLES M. RIFFLE is an original author and continuing update author of chapter 7. See biography in About the Authors section.

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