[1/20/2022 Zoom Meeting] Ethical Traps for the Unwary

Ethical Traps for the Unwary

Jonathan Arons will cover various California rules of professional conduct and related statutes, including:

  • Rule 1.2 – Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority
  • Rule 1.4.2 – Disclosure of Professional Liability Insurance
  • Rule 1.8.5 – Payment of Personal or Business Expenses Incurred by or for a Client
  • Rule 5.5 – Unauthorized Practice of Law, Multijurisdictional Practice of Law
  • Rule 8.5 – Disciplinary Authority, Choice of Law

Please note this video is not offered for MCLE credit. We are only authorized to give credit to those who attend at the time of the presentation.

[12/16/21 Zoom Meeting] Real Estate Disclosure Requirements and the Top 10 Reasons to Form a Business Entity

Real Estate Disclosure Requirements and the Top 10 Reasons to Form a Business Entity by Nancy Lewellen & Donna Solen

Donna Solen and Nancy Lewellen will be discussing real estate disclosure requirements and forming a business entity, including:

  • Recognizing the need for a business entity for your client,
  • Advising a business on the best type of entity for them, and
  • Recognizing tax issues that may direct a client to a particular type of business entity.

Please note this video is not offered for MCLE credit. We are only authorized to give credit to those who attend at the time of the presentation.

[10/21/21 Zoom Meeting] Representing San Francisco Tenants in Wrongful Eviction Actions

Representing San Francisco Tenants in Wrongful Eviction Actions by Daniel Wayne

This meeting will cover:

  • Issue spotting wrongful eviction lawsuits
  • Evaluating available damages, including rent-differential damages
  • The impact of decreasing rents on rent differential damages
  • Common defenses

Please note this video is not offered for MCLE credit. We are only authorized to give credit to those who attend at the time of the presentation.

Estate Planning Awareness Week: The Importance to You and Your Family of Having an Estate Plan 

In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, which designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Nevertheless, according to a 2019 survey carried out by Caring.com, 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or trust despite the fact that 76% viewed them as important. Many of the respondents said this was due to procrastination, but many others mistakenly believed that it was not necessary because they did not have many assets.

Why should you have an estate plan?

An estate plan can provide significant peace of mind by ensuring your assets are protected, plans are in place in the event you become ill, and your property is passed down according to your wishes.

What key topics should you consider?

Do you have a last will and testament and/or a trust? If you do not have these important documents, state law will determine who will inherit your property—and thus it may not occur in the way you would have chosen. In addition, someone appointed by the court, instead of a trusted person of your choosing, will be in charge of caring for any children or pets. Spelling out your wishes in a will or trust will also prevent unnecessary confusion, anxiety, and expense for other family members when you are gone.

Have the proper powers of attorney been prepared? A financial power of attorney will allow you to designate an individual to make financial and property decisions for you should you become unable to handle your own affairs. A medical power of attorney enables you to designate a person you trust to make medical decisions for you when you are otherwise unable to speak for yourself.

Make sure that you have an advanced directive, also called a living will, which memorializes your wishes concerning your end of life care, such as whether you would like to receive life support if you are in a vegetative state or terminal condition.

Do you have insurance? If you become incapacitated or die, it is important for your family or loved ones to have information about your insurance (such as life, health, disability, long-term care, etc.) so that claims can be filed.

Compile a list of all of your accounts and other important information, including bank and investment accounts, titles to vehicles and homes, credit card accounts or loans, digital accounts (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) and passwords, Social Security cards, passports and birth certificates, which may be needed to manage your property when you are incapacitated or settle your estate once you are gone. This information should be kept in a safe place and shared only with trusted family members or loved ones.

A list of legal, financial, and medical professionals who have performed services for you is also important. The list should include their contact information so your family can easily reach them in the event their help is needed if you become disabled or die. If desired, you should also ensure HIPAA authorizations are in place with medical professionals to ensure your family members are able to obtain the needed information.

How should you encourage your family members to create an estate plan?

Estate Planning Awareness Week is a great opportunity not only to take steps to make sure your own estate plan is in place but also to talk to your family members, especially elderly parents, about creating an estate plan. Estate planning is often a difficult topic to broach, as it brings the unpleasant topics of aging and death to the forefront of our minds. Here are a few tips to help you start the conversation.

Be sensitive to your family members’ feelings. Put yourself in their shoes, and keep in mind that few people are eager to dwell on the subject of their own death. One way to begin the conversation is to talk first about the need to plan for illness and to provide instructions in the event they become too ill to communicate with doctors or handle financial matters for themselves. The conversation can then naturally progress to the importance of having an estate plan that will enable their assets to be transferred in the way that they wish, provide for the care of any dependents or pets, and minimize any taxes, court costs, and legal fees. Communicate that you are not trying to control their decisions, but only want to ensure that their own wishes regarding their medical care and their property are known—and that all their instructions are in writing to guarantee they are carried out.

Involve other family members in the conversation. If you are planning to speak to your parents about the need for an estate plan, it is important to try to include any siblings in the discussion to avoid giving the impression that you are trying to influence or control your parents’ choices. You and your siblings should emphasize to your parents that none of you are asking about what you will inherit, but just want to make sure that their wishes are carried out if they become ill or pass away.

Consult an estate planning attorney. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you and your family members create an estate plan tailored to meet each of your unique needs and carry out your wishes—or help you update a pre-existing estate plan. Estate planning attornies can provide each family member with guidance and information about the options available to them. I can help each of you put a plan in place that will prevent unnecessary stress, legal expenses and taxes, uneven inheritances, disputes between family members, and delays in passing life savings on to loved ones. In addition, it will provide you and your family members with the peace of mind that comes with knowing there are plans in place for your care if any of you become ill and that your wishes will be honored once you pass away. Please call me today to set up a meeting.

[10/7/21 Zoom Meeting] What every litigator needs to know about expert discovery

What every litigator needs to know about expert discovery by Albert G. Stoll, Jr. and Walter A. Haynes, IV.

This meeting will cover:

  • Do I need an expert?
  • If so, when?
  • Case value, risk and assessment,
  • The basics of the expert exchange procedure,
  • Preparing your expert for disclosure under state (CA) and federal law,
  • Common malpractice traps to watch out for, and
  • Preparing for expert deposition.

Please note this video is not offered for MCLE credit. We are only authorized to give credit to those who attend at the time of the presentation.

[9/16/21 Zoom Meeting] Commercial lease issues in the (Not-Quite) Post-Pandemic Era

Commercial lease issues in the (Not-Quite) Post-Pandemic Era by Elva D. Harding and Richard J. Zuromski, Jr.

This meeting will cover:

  • Common lease amendments/workouts during pandemic.  Different concessions and revisions are available, or not, depending on the type of lease (office, retail, industrial).  We will discuss which tenants are likely to get concessions and what types.
  • Common post-pandemic lease terms.  We will discuss how some lease provisions have changed, or not, since the pandemic.
  • Creative ideas to resolve real estate lease disputes.
  • General defenses to lease litigation from a landlord and tenant perspective as well as which ones work best in different situations.
  • Cases applying these lease defenses in practice and how effective they were, or not.

Please note this video is not offered for MCLE credit. We are only authorized to give credit to those who attend at the time of the presentation.

[9/2/21 Zoom Meeting] The First Hires: Basics of Equity Incentive Plans for Startups

The First Hires: Basics of Equity Incentive Plans for Startups by Doug Bend and Brandon Shelton

When a new startup forms, there is often a great deal of confusion around who owns the company, and how equity can be provided to the company’s first employees. This presentation will begin by identifying how a company’s founders take ownership, and how they should plan for the future new hires. It will then walk through the most common early types of equity issued to early employees, including restricted stock awards, options, and early exercisable options.

Following a good understanding of these types of employee and service provider grants, we will then discuss the responsibilities of the company with respect to issuing and receiving shares. In particular, we will discuss the importance of a 409A valuation, and the 83(b) election. The slides will be explained by showing hypothetical examples of a startup that is contemplating issuing shares of stock to its founders and its early employees, and ways in which those employees could help or hurt themselves in relation to their responsibilities as stockholders.

Please note this video is not offered for MCLE credit. We are only authorized to give credit to those who attend at the time of the presentation.

[8/19/21 Zoom Meeting] California’s Two New Bankruptcy Exemptions and How They Can Help Defendants in Civil Suits

California’s Two New Bankruptcy Exemptions and How They Can Help Defendants in Civil Suits by Eric M. Boeing

This meeting will cover:

  • How two recent changes to California’s bankruptcy exemption rules vastly expand debtors’ ability to protect their assets;
  • Real-world examples of how using the exemption rules works in practice, in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases;
  • How these new exemptions make bankruptcy cases a more appealing option for individual defendants in civil suits.

Please note this video is not offered for MCLE credit. We are only authorized to give credit to those who attend at the time of the presentation.

Back-to-School Preparations: Not Just About the School Supplies

Use This Time to Revisit the Parts of Your Estate Plan that Impact Your Children Most

With all the considerations about your children’s wellbeing weighing on your mind from day to day, it can be easy to forget about some of the most important factors in keeping them well cared for and secure: naming a guardian in your estate plan.

When was the last time you reflected on your selection of a guardian? If the answer is hard to pinpoint, it’s probably time to revisit this issue. Children change a lot from year to year as they mature from infants into their teenage years. Their care needs and who would make a good guardian can change over time as well. Is the person you previously appointed as their guardian still the best choice? Because your children’s lives are constantly evolving, something that worked even a few years ago may be out-of-date now.

Back-to-school time is a perfect reminder to revisit your estate plan and guardianship designations. Here are the specific areas we’ll want to address:

Review and refresh of guardianship nominations: Is the guardian you’ve chosen for your children in the event that something happens to you still the person you would want to fill that role? Are they still available to do so, and would your children be satisfied with this choice of guardian?

Review and refresh intent letters: If you’ve used intent letters in your estate plan to provide additional meaning and context to your guardianship designations and other estate planning documents, it’s a great time to make sure those are reflective of your current goals and wishes as well.

Review and refresh your estate plan: It’s always a good idea to keep your estate plan as up to date as possible. The addition of a new child to your family by birth or adoption may mean your plan requires substantial changes. This is also the case if one of your children has turned 18. If either of these events occurred since our last assessment of your plan, it is imperative that you don’t wait to make any necessary alterations to your plan.

Review college savings plans and strategies: Do you have a child who is preparing to attend college in the coming years? We can explore various planning strategies to help financially plan for the cost of tuition and help your family make strategic choices about higher education planning. It’s never too early to begin researching scholarship opportunities if you have a child already in high school. There are also a variety of accounts, such as 529s, UTMA/UGMA, ESAs, and HEETs that can be used to reduce the financial toll of tuition.

Back-to-school time means a flurry of activity for most parents. While shopping for supplies and attending school functions may dominate your to-do list, remember to set up an appointment to review your estate plan for any necessary updates that could impact your children’s wellbeing. I am always here to help. Please email me today.