What happens during a reading of a will?

Probate Lawyer Sacramento, CA

A last will and testament is a special legal document that has been created by a person who wishes to detail their estate and what happens to it upon their death. Their will should name their beneficiaries, how the beneficiaries will get the assets, and when they will get the assets. It should also name an executor. This person will be in charge of ensuring the beneficiary receives their assets, as well as, other tasks. If someone has recently died, also known as the decedent, you might wonder whether or not you are named in their will, who the beneficiaries are, who the executor is, and whether the will has been probated. All of these questions are valid and can be answered by a probate lawyer. It also will help to understand what a reading of the will is.

The Reading of a Will

In popular films, the reading of a will may involve a lot of action and drama; however, this is a fictional scenario. In reality, the reading of a will often goes on behind closed doors and usually in law firm offices. There is no state that has laws regarding a will needing to be read aloud to anyone, at anytime.

Who Should Receive a Copy of a Will

Typically, it will be up to an estate lawyer or executor of the will to determine who is entitled to a copy of the last will and testament. Once this is determined, they should send a copy via mail to the recipient. In general, the first people to receive a copy will be the beneficiaries and the executor.

If the decedent also had a living trust, in addition to a pour over will, the laws of the state will determine who gets a copy of the will. For example, if the decedent named the same person to act as the trustee and executor of the pour over will, they will receive a copy. If the trustee and executor are different people, they will receive only the copy of the legal document which they have been named in. It is certainly possible that an accountant or other party involved in the estate will also receive a copy of the will or trust.

When a Person Has Been Disinherited in a Will

It is possible that a disinherited person could challenge the validity of the current will that has been filed at the probate court. If any current beneficiaries are concerned about a disinherited person contesting the will, their estate planning lawyer might choose to send a copy of the will prior to probating the estate. This would limit the time in which they could file a will contest. That said, the estate planning lawyer is not legally required to do so, but it is often the best practice as it forces the person who has been disinherited to choose whether or not to pursue a will contest.

Once all relevant parties have received a copy of the will, they will have the opportunity to review the document and proceed with the probate process as they see fit.

Don’t Forget: A Will is  Public Record

No matter who you are, if there is a will, it is required to be made public unless very specific circumstances apply. In general once a will has been submitted to probate, anyone can access it. If you are concerned about whether or not you are included in a will, you can do a search online or go to the courthouse in which the will may have been filed. If you cannot find anything, but are sure you were named in an estate plan, at some point, you might want to consult a probate lawyer Sacramento, CA offers at Yee Law Group.

What is probate and what are some reasons to avoid it?

Probate Lawyer Folsom, CA

Probate is the legal process that has been designed by the court system and is required to utilize in the event of a person’s death – and who has no will or only a will. Probate can last between 3 months and 3 years with the average completion time being six months. Although it can be done on your own, it often requires the assistance of a lawyer. A general procedure of the steps of probate are as follows:

  1. The will is filed with the probate court. (It becomes public record) If there is no will, the state takes over and will appoint an administrator to probate the estate.
  2. An inventory of the property will take place.
  3. The property is appraised.
  4. All debts are paid off; including any taxes owed.
  5. The court validates the will.
  6. Any expenses related to probate are paid off.
  7. The remaining estate is distributed to the beneficiaries.

This process can be straightforward or rife with obstacles depending on the circumstances of the situation. It can be avoided by having all of your assets placed into a trust. A will would be needed still for any property that was not placed in the trust, and this ‘pour-over will’ still goes through probate.

Reasons to Avoid Probate

If you ever discussed probate with someone, you might have been told to avoid it if you can. The following are a few common reasons to avoid probate.

The Probate Process Can Be Slow

Probate is often very tedious and tends to require several months of time because it is controlled by the court system. If the estate is complex, or there is a will contest, the process will be significantly hindered.

Probate is Often Expensive

Although the costs of probate vary by state, they are often expensive. First, the court will take a portion of the estate. This could be as high as 10 percent. Money may also be needed for lawyers, to protect the interests; of minor heirs, conduct other parts of the probate process. If probate is avoided, this money might go directly to the heirs.

Probate is Public

Probate is a public process. Any documents and information that are used in the process will become a part of the public records. This means all assets, debts, wishes, and distributions can be viewed by any public member on request. For example, if you are left a significant amount of jewelry, this will be publically available.

What You Can Do to Avoid Probate

The easiest way to avoid probate is to ask a lawyer to draft a living trust. A living trust is private, offers a number of ways to save money, and tends to be more practical for estates that contain real estate and many assets. If your estate is valued less than $50,000, the probate process may be expedited and slightly different than the steps above. In any case, it is recommended that you speak with a probate lawyer Folsom, CA relies on at Yee Law Group about your estate planning objectives and concerns.


Estate Lawyer

This topic comes up more often than one would think in the business law realm of practice. It is so often the case that a potential new client comes into the office devastated because their business partner is just not working and they want out. So, what do they do?

The answer to that question is fairly complicated, but certain things can be done early on in a business to avoid potential headaches and problems in the future. Many people seeking to dissolve their business come in not having set up any formal documents related to the business from the get-go of the company. I cannot re-urge enough how important it is to discuss and draft a formal operating agreement that deals with all issues related to the running of the company and that includes what happens if the members of the company want to get out of the company. This step is so simple but can save so much time, frustration, and headaches in the end if you want to remove yourself from the business.

A good business lawyer can be very helpful in aiding you and your new business in drafting this agreement. An attorney knows exactly what needs to be included and can help guide you in knowing what you should be thinking about with the company. For example, many people who are in business with only one other person do not discuss or make a decision on what happens when decisions result in a tie. It is so much easier to decide what to do when you and your business partner can’t agree when the relationship is on a high and not at its most acrimonious.

Even if you are not parting ways on poor terms, events in life happen and you may need to get out of the business for a myriad of reasons. Still, problems can arise when your business partner envisions running a business on their own and being the only one placed in a financial risk situation. Having a clearly outlined method of getting out of the business is the best possible scenario. Sitting down at the very beginning of a business and having a somewhat uncomfortable discussion with your business partner(s) is one of the most valuable things you can do for your business. Further, this discussion really protects you in the long run.

There are several things that you need to be considering in an exit strategy that is found in the company’s operating agreement. You need to consider how you will be valuing the business as the time you plan on exiting, when that valuation date is set, what notice terms need to be given to the other partners in order to trigger your right to exit the business, how the appraisal will be conducted and how you will be paid out for your portion of the business. There are several other things to consider in this situation but these are just a few things that are incredibly important for any new business owner to consider up front, prior to starting a business.

A business divorce can be messy just like a regular divorce between a husband wife. However, it can be alleviated if certain steps are taken early on in the business relationship. If you are contemplating starting a business, even a solo business where you don’t have a partner, contact a divorce attorney Arlington, TX trusts immediately and get the proper protections put in place for you and your business.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Brandy Austin Law Firm for their insight into family law and divorcing a business partner.

Do I Need an Estate Plan if I am a Millennial?

Estate Lawyer

Estate planning is a process most often associated with older Americans. Planning for end-of-life care, sorting out financial priorities and generally preparing for one’s legal future are not tasks commonly associated with younger adults. However, estate planning is a largely misunderstood process. There are a host of legal tools available to adults of every age designed to ensure that one’s wishes are respected in case one becomes unexpectedly injured, ill or passes away. Although these subjects may be uncomfortable to contemplate, it is critically important that every individual who has reached the age of 18 considers at least a few essential planning tools. This process remains relevant even for millennials who have yet to have children or amass any significant assets.

Universally Relevant Estate Planning Tools

Even if you do not have any property yet to speak of, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney about drafting two fundamentally important estate planning documents as soon as you have become a legal adult. First, you will need to draft a health care directive and second, you will need to designate a power of attorney for medical decisions.

An advance health care directive (commonly referred to as a living will) allows individuals to explain what kinds of medical care and interventions they would and would not like to receive in the event that they are incapacitated by injury or illness and cannot express these wishes for themselves. Designating a trusted person as power of attorney for medical decisions will allow a specific individual to make any additional medical decisions on an individual’s behalf that are not expressly addressed within the healthcare directive (also in the event that the patient cannot make these decisions due to injury or illness). Every adult should take time to ensure that these documents are properly drafted and enforceable. Otherwise, one’s wishes may not be honored at a truly critical future moment in time.

Other Potentially Relevant Estate Planning Considerations

It is also important to speak with an attorney about designating beneficiaries for any employer-sponsored or privately purchased retirement plans, life insurance policies, etc. And even if you have not yet acquired any valuable property, you may want to draft an enforceable will so that any sentimental property you own will be transferred in accordance with your wishes in the event of your death.

Estate Planning Assistance Is Available

If you have reached the age of 18, you could significantly benefit from exploring certain estate planning tools that remain available to you. Even if you have no property interests to speak of yet, you should consider speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney about health care directives and power of attorney designations. If you have minor children, naming a guardian in the event of your premature death is also an important step to consider with urgent focus. None of us truly knows when we may have need of our estate plans, yet such a time will occur for everyone. As a result, it is generally a good idea to craft an estate plan as early in your adulthood as you can and to work with an estate planning lawyer Allentown, PA relies on to update that plan whenever doing so becomes necessary and/or appropriate.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Klenk Law for their insight into estate planning and when to start creating you plan.

adults kitchen toasting new year estate planning

An Introduction to Estate Planning

No matter how much money or property you own, you have an estate. Some people may believe that estate planning is more suitable for those who have a large sum in the bank and several properties. However, this is not the case, as the intention of estate planning is not about how much you have, but ensuring your legacy is handled in the way you wish after death. Your estate entails everything you own, such as a home, vehicle, real estate, art collection, furniture, jewelry, and personal possessions. Regardless of how substantial or modest your estate, this will not go with you after you pass on. So, it can help out your family to have a plan already created for how you want these items and amounts to be distributed.

Q: What is the overall goal of estate planning?

A: Estate planning is a great way to leave behind instructions for what amount, and to whom you want your belongings to be distributed. To accomplish this, you can create an estate plan that includes who is to receive a portion of your assets, what exactly you want them to receive, and when you want them to receive it. So all in all, estate planning is providing directions in advance for what happens to your things after passing on.

Q: What usually is included within an estate plan?

A: There are so many factors to consider when establishing your estate plan. Many people confide with a lawyer who is familiar with family law for guidance. Not only must a person write an estate plan, but it must be signed and legally-binding. A lawyer can oversee this process to help prevent against any problems happening with your plan after death. A thorough estate plan often includes the following:

  • Directions for how to pass on your valuables
  • Preferences for health care if you become disabled or incapacitated, and are unable to communicate your wishes
  • Name of a guardian for minor children and pets
  • Provide support for loved ones with special needs, without impacting government benefit eligibility
  • Provide support for family members who may not be responsible with money, or who need protection from divorce or creditors in the future
  • Life insurance policy to support your family if you were to become disabled, injured, or come down with an extended illness
  • Include instructions for transferring your business after retirement, death or in the event of disability
  • Minimize or eliminate taxes, court fees, and other legal expenses

Q: Is writing an estate plan just a one-time thing?

A: Once a person creates an estate plan, it is important to keep updating it as life circumstances change. For example, an estate plan may need review after a divorce, marriage, children are born, more assets are accumulated, or relationship dynamics change. It is suggested that a person revisits their estate plan every few years, unless a major life change happens before that. It can help to have a lawyer review an estate plan as well, for suggestions and potential edits.

Contact Yee Law Group today!

Preventing Contract Misunderstandings

Business Contracts Lawyer Folsom, CA

When contract disputes arise due to a party not upholding his or her role in the agreement, it can result in costly and disruptive losses. What may have started off as a simple miscommunication, now may have turned into a very heated conflict. Those who are considering getting into a contractual agreement with another person may want to have a better understanding of how and why such contracts are established, before signing on the dotted line. Those who are interested in writing a contract may consult with an attorney prior to it being finalized, as a way to help ward off any potential future misunderstandings.

What are the elements of a contract?

When a contract has been created, there are usually five elements that are present. The more clear and well-drafted the contract, the more likely all parties involved fully understand what is expected of them. The five elements of a contract are listed here:

  1. An offer or job has been made to another party
  2. This offer or job has been accepted by the other party
  3. Terms and other considerations are agreed upon by all parties
  4. Every party has an intention to create legal relations
  5. There is good faith that the contract terms shall be upheld

Does a contract always have to be in writing?

It is generally recommended that all contracts be in writing, but verbal agreements may also be considered binding by law. While oral contracts can be legally enforceable, it is still best to create a written document that is signed by all parties. This can help motivate each party to keep their end of the bargain and can be used as evidence in the event a dispute comes up. However, do keep in mind that depending on what the contract entails, a written contract may be required by law.

What solutions may be used for a breach of contract?

When one party fails to fulfill a portion or an entirety of responsibilities, there are several resolutions that may be used to amend the contract breach. Depending on the terms of the contract and resulting losses, these solutions may be used:

  1. Damages = the innocent party suffered damages or financial loss, in which a monetary amount is awarded as compensation.
  2. Specific Performance = an order made by the court that requires a party in the contract to complete a positive obligation under the contract.
  3. Injunction = The court may command a party to perform a negative obligation, in which they are ordered to do, or not to so something.
  4. Rescission = the court may set aside the contract, in which both parties are put back into a position they were prior to the agreement being established.

At what point during the contract creation should I reach out to an attorney?

It is not uncommon for the parties interested in making a contract together, to meet with an business contracts lawyer Folsom, CA trusts at the Yee Law Group to review the agreement. An attorney can evaluate the contract to determine if each party’s rights are protected, if there are loopholes, or whether certain terms need clarification.

What To Do About a Breach of Contract

Business Contracts Lawyer Sacramento, CA

By definition, a breach of contract is when a person fails to uphold his or her promises as reflected in the document. As an attorney knows all too well, sometimes contracts are not abided by from all parties involved. What may have started off as a well-intentioned document, could have ended with miscommunication and substantial loss. Here in the article below, we have talked further about how and why breaches in contracts happen.

Breach of Contract Examples

When a party fails to perform a job duty or act in a manner as listed in the signed agreement, then a breach of contract has occurred. This may happen for a variety of reasons. Perhaps this party did not fully understand his or her roles, was not able to fulfill responsibilities within the assigned time frame, or was intentionally negligent.

Material vs Immaterial Breach

Depending on the kind of damages or losses the at-fault party causes, the breach of contract may be considered material or immaterial. If a material breach happens, this means a duty that was essential to the purpose of the contract had not been fulfilled. An immaterial (or partial) breach happens when most of the responsibilities listed in the contract were not performed. The party who suffered losses as a result, can seek retribution for a partial breach but cannot outright terminate the agreement. After consulting with you, an attorney at [law firm name] can decide whether the breach was more-so material or immaterial regarding your contract.

Taking Legal Action

When the party who suffered loss wants to take legal action against the party at-fault for the breach, it must be proven that several factors applied to the agreement. An attorney can help you gather proof of the following elements:

  • A contract (whether verbal or written) existed
  • A contract was breached at least partially
  • A party involved in the contract had suffered damages and/or financial loss as a result of this breach

Breach of Contract Remedies

The party who suffered losses due to the breach, may receive financial compensation or remedies that make up for the damages. Remedies for a breach of contract may include specific performance, injunction, restitution or something else that matches the losses endured. An attorney can help fight for the resolutions that are most appropriate based on what responsibilities were not upheld by the at-fault party. Your business or financial stability should not have to suffer the consequences of another party not following what they had originally agreed upon.

A business contracts lawyer Sacramento, CA relies on at the Yee Law Group can meet with you and help you decide whether a breach of contract happened and how to go about seeking compensation. Consider reaching out to a law firm today so they can see that your rights are being protected, and that you receive restitution in order to recover from a set-back.

Do I Need to Have A Trustee While I’m Alive?

Estate Planning Lawyer

Appointing a Trustee over your assets while your still living can be a difficult decision to make. Ultimately, the responsibilities of a Trustee are to manage your assets, pay your bills, and essentially is the person to go to in the event that you need access to funds.

Therefore, in making the decision as to whom your Trustee should be you most definitely would want to consider access. It is recommended that your Trustee live within the same State as you, but ultimately ease of access is something to consider also.

If your Trustee lives out of State or even in a different county than what you reside in; you may want to consider the fact that if an emergency situation arose, how willing would your Trustee be to travel to you? Accidents and occasions that we do not plan for often arise and you need to ensure that you have access to finances in the event that these situations arise.

A major factor to consider also is that you do not want to appoint your cousin that has financial problems as your Trustee, or your brother that has a gambling addiction. Even though a Trustee has legal obligations and could face legal ramifications from mismanagement of your funds, you want to make the best educated option for your Trustee.

Someone that is willing to assist you that is trustworthy, reliable, and flexible would be the best options to think about when coming to the final decision as to whom your Trustee should be. This person does not have to have college experience or be a third party that charges a fee to manage your Trust either. You can appoint a lifelong friend, family member, or even consult with an Attorney to be your Trustee.

The only major factor again, is someone that you know you can count on and be flexible with your current needs. As we age, you are able to amend your Trust as long as it is a Revocable one to appoint different Trustee’s for the duration of your lifetime. Ultimately the end goal is to have you feel comfortable with the decision you’ve made in appointing your Trustee.

It is typically recommended that as long as you are able to maintain control over your finances then you should exercise that right personally. Discussing your estate and finances with a wills attorney Arlington, TX trusts that has the best knowledge and expertise within the field would be able to advise you more in depth to possible alternatives in the event of your incapacity. This will allow you the peace of mind knowing that you made the best decision for your assets and investment within your finances.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into estate planning and trustees.

Breach of Contract – Fiduciary Duty

Business Contracts Lawyer Sacramento, CA

Fiduciary duty is defined as a legal relationship between two or more parties. The party with the ‘duty’ is called the fiduciary and the other party is the business or person that benefits from the duty. This relationship is mutual among the partners who owe a duty to their business and each other. Fiduciary duty requires each partner to be honest, fair and loyal to the business.

Each partner is required to act responsibly when directing operations for the business. Partners must be transparent with any relevant information to the participants within the scope of fiduciary duty.

The duty begins when the partnership is formed and remains until the dissolution and settlement of all partner affairs. A partner can choose to leave a partnership unless a new contract is negotiated to continue the fiduciary duty.

When there is a disruption of trust among the partners in a fiduciary trust, that is considered a breach of fiduciary duty. This happens when one of the partners does not uphold its financial responsibilities to the partnership, typically resulting in a financial loss.

Examples of breach of contract caused by breach of fiduciary duty:

  • Keeping important and relevant information or documents from the partnership, resulting in financial detriment
  • Management is negligent
  • One of the partners is involved in insider trading
  • Part of the profits are kept by a partner to which they are not entitled to receive
  • A business opportunity is taken away from the company from a partner for their personal benefit

If you believe this has occurred and you have suffered financial damage because of a breach in fiduciary duty, you may have the right to pursue damages. The following conditions must be met and proven to file a claim:

  • A fiduciary relationship was in place
  • There was a breach in a specific duty owed to you
  • Because of this breach, you are entitled a remedy

The breach that was violated generally determines the remedy you may receive. You may receive monetary damages if one of the partners was dishonest about the amount of profits and neglected to place the earnings in a trust for you. The partner that breached a fiduciary duty to the other partners may able to be removed from the partnership.

The burden of proof is on the partner filing the claim. If you happen to be the accused, your defense is to act carefully to prove your actions fell within the boundaries of your position.

The partner guilty of breach is responsible for losses incurred because of fiduciary beach.  

A business contracts lawyer Sacramento, CA relies on at the Yee Law Group possess the necessary knowledge involving breaches of contract. They are skilled negotiators and have the litigation skills required to protect their clients’ interests in a courtroom setting.

Why Should You Write a Will?

Will Lawyer Sacramento, CA

Creating a will today can help you and your family plan for a tomorrow where you are unable to support them in person. Life is full of change and surprises, and tomorrow is never guaranteed. The consequences of passing away without a will could mean your children do not have guardians in place that you trust, your estate could go to the wrong person, or money you intended to give to charity might not go to the places you had hoped. That is why hiring a will and estate lawyer can be a great asset for planning for the future. A caring attorney can help you go over the details of what you hope to leave to family and loved ones when you pass away, ensuring that they are taken care of when you are no longer here.

How Your Property Passes When You Die

When you pass away, your property must go somewhere. If you do not have a will in place, then a court can make that decision for you, and without any direction, it can be given to the wrong person. There are usually two types of passing property:

  • Probate Property
  • Non-Probate Property

Probate Property. If you have property and assets that do not have a beneficiary designation, they must go through a court in order to get to the new owners.

Non-Probate Property. This type of property can go to the designated owners without having to go through court proceedings.

Taking Care Of Minor Children

If you have children under the age of 18, having a will can help direct who will be the guardian of these children and who will receive assets when you pass away. Having a will in place can help determine where your childrens’ share of your assets and money go while they are still underage. A will can decide who you trust to take care of your children in the event that your spouse has also passed, and it can help determine who will take care of finances as well.

Donating To Charities

If you are passionate about charities, having a will can also help donate specific portions of your estate to a charity that you feel strongly about. In doing so, it can reduce the burden of the estate’s tax.

If You Are a Small Business Owner

If you own a small business or are an entrepreneur, you might be worried about what will happen to your business when you pass away. A will can be a great place to outline and define a plan that makes you happy when you leave behind a business you have worked hard for. It could mean the difference between a successful business after you pass away and a failure.

How Can an Attorney Help?

Tomorrow is never guaranteed for any of us. By working with a will lawyer Sacramento, CA trusts at the Yee Law Group, you can be assured that your loved ones will be taken care of after you have passed on. Don’t delay any more in creating your will. Call a law office today to schedule an appointment.