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Leslie is an associate in the firm’s Trusts and Estates group. Her practice focuses on all aspects of trust and estate litigation, including contested trust administrations, probate, contested conservatorships, and elder abuse. Leslie also represents clients in uncontested matters such as trust and estate administrations, conservatorships, and fiduciary representation.

It is generally accepted that “personal property” refers to all property aside from real property. But in California, that isn’t always the case when it comes to making gifts of your property in a will or a trust.  California courts actually look to the language used in a document making a gift of “personal property” or “personal belongings,” and sometimes to other evidence, to interpret the scope of property intended when using such a term in an estate planning document.

Continue Reading This Time, It’s Personal: Beware The Misleading Use of “Personal Property” In Your Estate Planning Documents

Typically, only those of us who are trusts and estates attorneys geek out over the fascinating problems that handwritten wills create. But when those wills were written by a music icon worth $80 million, suddenly this topic is intriguing to a much broader audience. Aretha Franklin died on August 31, 2018. Her family was confident that she died without a will, but on May 3, 2019, the personal representative of Franklin’s estate discovered three separate documents, each of which may constitute a valid handwritten (or in legal terms, “holographic”) will. Now, the previously uncontested estate has divided Franklin’s family and is likely headed to litigation. Below are a few common pitfalls of holographic wills that are issues in Franklin’s estate.
Continue Reading What Aretha Franklin’s Estate Teaches Us About the Pitfalls of Handwritten Wills