CHARLES D. STARK, ATTORNEY AND COUNSELOR AT LAW

California Couple Plans for the Future with a Special Needs Trust

LogoIn an ongoing segment on financial planning and advice, a recent article published by the Wall Street Journal highlighted the unique circumstances of a Paradise, CA couple and their family.

San Francisco's MarketWatch Reminder on Updating Your Will

LogoA will is among the most important documents a person will ever sign, which is why far too many people believe it is best to tuck this instrument away for safekeeping after execution. Most assume that there is no need to pull a will out again until death. However, a San Francisco-based publisher of US financial news, analysis, and data argues otherwise. In a September 5, 2019 article, MarketWatch offered an excellent reminder of when it's time to revisit a will, trust, and other estate planning instruments.

HBO's "Big Little Lies" Highlights Child Custody Rights in California

LogoThough it just concluded its second season on July 21, 2019, HBO's hit show "Big Little Lies" has already drawn critical acclaim as a crime drama that follows the lives of five women in Monterey, CA. One story arc features a character who loses custody of her twin sons to the mother of her recently deceased husband. The scenario may make for engaging television, but it can lead to some confusion over parental rights in California.

Bezos Divorce Highlights Benefits of the Collaborative Divorce Process

LogoWhen Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and then-wife MacKenzie announced their plans to divorce in January 2019, many people assumed that a hostile, outrageously expensive legal process would follow. The couple had four children during their 25-year marriage, but skeptics predicted that the couple's $37 billion marital estate would lead to hotly contested divorce proceedings. Naysayers were shocked just four short months later when the two revealed that they reached a divorce settlement, amicably and with mutual expressions of appreciation.

Pratt, Schwarzenegger Wed in California

LogoA six-month whirlwind engagement ended in a dream wedding for Guardians of the Galaxy actor Chris Pratt and bride Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fox News covered the June 8, 2019 nuptials, including a ceremony and reception at the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, CA. The couple announced their engagement in January, just three months after Pratt finalized his divorce from another high-profile celebrity, actress Anna Faris.

New Tax Law Enhances Benefits of Alimony Trust

LogoThere are other strategies to take advantage of favorable tax treatment in divorce. A legal structure termed an "alimony trust" captures some key tax benefits. While also delivering other advantages to ex-spouses and their children.

Senate Bill Proposes California Estate

LogoAccording to a news release from the office of Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the proposed legislation is modeled on the federal estate tax but would lower the exemption rate to $3.5 million, which is lower than the federal estate tax exemption. Senator Wiener introduced Senate Bill 378 at the end of March. If the bill is passed, it would result in a special fund designed to improve socioeconomic equality in the state.

California Appeals Court Reverses Order to Liquidate a Trust

LogoOn January 31st, 2019, California’s Sixth District Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision that ordered the liquidation of a family trust.