Coastal Pacific Law

Founded in 2013, Coastal Pacific Law is a full-service law firm with a national and international practice that provides legal services to businesses, business owners and families.  The firm has offices in California (North County and Downtown San Diego); and Austin, Texas.  Coastal Pacific Law’s major areas of practice include: business incorporation, contracts, trademarks, crowdfunding, estate planning, trusts, wills, trust administration and probate administration.  Our backgrounds provide us with a solid understanding of the industries we serve, including, sports businesses; organic and environmentally friendly businesses; and medical offices. For more information, please visit the firm’s website at www.coastalpacificlaw.com.

What do Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s Have in Common?

What do Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s have in common? No. They are not making an ice cream, which might be interesting and possibly delicious.

Why Are There Hemp Seeds at Trader Joe’s?

I have heard many myths about differentiating hemp and cannabis. For example, that hemp is the male plant and cannabis is the female plant. But this and other rumors are incorrect. According to a study published in 1976, by the International Association of Plant Taxonomy, concluded “both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa.

Hemp or Cannabis?

Hemp and cannabis both come from the Cannabis Sativa plant but it is how the plant is grown and utilized that will determine which term is correct. Thus, the difference between hemp and cannabis is essentially the level of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the plant and is psychotropic.

The term cannabis (or marijuana) is used when describing a Cannabis Sativa plant that is bred for its potent, resinous glands (known as trichomes), which contain high levels of THC. Hemp, on the other hand, is used to describe a Cannabis Sativa plant that contains only trace amounts of THC.

Only products made from industrial hemp with levels of THC less than 0.3% is considered to be legal to sell and distribute.

What Does the Federal Government Say?

In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act strictly regulated the cultivation and sale of all cannabis varieties. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified all forms of cannabis — including hemp — as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal to grow it in the United States. The 2014 Agricultural Act (Farm Bill) was passed which enables the cultivation and processing of inductrial hemp. It removes hemp grown within a state pilot program out of the reach of the Controlled Substances Act. It allows states that have passed their own industrial hemp legislation to grow industrial hemp for purposes of research and development. In 2015 the Appropriations Act defunded the Drug Enforcement Agency from interfering from the transporation of hemp.

What Does the State of California Say?

The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act (Assembly Bill 566, Chapter 398, Statutes of 2013) was signed into law to authorize the commercial production of industrial hemp in California. The Act became effective on January 1, 2017, due to a provision in the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64, November 2016).

California established an Industrial Hemp Advisory Board. With assistance from the Board, California Industrial Hemp Program will further develop the registration process, fee structure, regulations, and other administrative details as necessary to provide for the commercial production of industrial hemp in accordance with the Act. Thus, California has passed a program that is in accordance with the 2014 Agricultural Act and hemp can be grown in accordance with the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board in California but has been distributed in California for longer.

Thus, the mystery of the Trader Joe’s hemp seeds has been solved. Are you incorporating your hemp or cannabis business in San Diego or California?

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in business planning, and can help with your incorporation, contracts, trademarks or other issues in San Diego, California; and Austin, Texas. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

 

 

 

 

The regulation of hemp federally and state and what a few companies say… Prop 64

When To Hire an Attorney for Your Trust or Will

When does hiring a California estate planning attorney make sense?

Here are a few reasons:

  • Real Property – You own real property in California or more than one state;
  • Blended Family – You are in a second marriage with children of other relationships;
  • Retirement Accounts – You have substantial assets in 401(k)s or IRAs;
  • Taxes – You have a taxable estate;
  • Minor Children – You have minor children and want to provide for distributions to them at intervals or for specific purposes;
  • Special Needs – You have a beneficiary who is disabled or your children have drug or alcohol problems and need a trust that will take that into consideration;
  • Giving  – You want to benefit a charity;
  • Business Owner – You own a business and want to provide for someone to take over the business after your death; and
  • Attorney Relationship – You want to have someone you can call when you have questions or want to make changes in your documents

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in estate planning, and can help with your trust administration, probate administration, wills and trusts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

Photo by JJ Ying

What does Intestate and Testate Distribution Look Like in California?

If you live in California and you had no will, or you had a will or a trust that stated in the distribution, “in equal shares per stirpes to my descendants who survive me,” then the estate shall be distributed according to California Probate Code Section 246.  This is referred to as “per stirpes,” which is a Latin term that often appears in estate planning documents like California wills and trusts. It can be confusing and sometimes mistakenly. Here’s what it means:

Beneficiaries_Distribution

Per stirpes usually applies to a situation where you leave property to a group of people, like your children, some of whom die before you die. As an example, let’s say that you have two kids. One of your kids survives you but one of your kids (Macho Mike, who has two children of his own) dies before you. Then your property will be divided into two equal shares. Each surviving child receives a share, in this case one, and Macho Mike’s two children each receive one-half of his share, i.e. one-fourth of his share.

If Macho Mike died before you but didn’t have children of his own who are alive when you die, then only one share is created in this example.

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in estate planning, and can help with your trust administration, probate administration, wills and trusts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

Photo by Ivan Ivankovic

What is a Life Estate?

A life estate is an interest in real property that is measured by the life of a person that terminates upon the passing of a measuring life. I have created life estates in trusts and wills, mostly for blended families, or when the need arises. Life estates can be created by deed or will or by operation of law.

For example, Jack and Jill were married with three children. Jack passes away and then Jill falls in love with Macho Mike and remarries. While she loves Macho Mike, she wants her three children to inherit the property. Thus, she gives Macho Mike a life estate in the property. He is the measuring life and upon his death then the children will inherit the property.

In the case of life estates created by deed or will, no particular words are necessary to create the life estate.  The simplest way to create a life estate would be to write, “to Macho Mike for his life.” This is an example of a conveyance which contains all three elements which are necessary to make explicit what the full intention of Jill in creating a life estate.

This conveyance designates (1) who is to take the estate, Macho Mike; (2) what kind of estate Macho Mike is to take “for life,” a life estate; and (3) who is the measuring life for this life estate, also Macho Mike“to Macho Mike for his life.”

Even though Macho Mike is the measuring life in this example it is also possible to create the life estate with another measuring life. For example, to create a life estate so that one person owns the interest in the land but the duration of the interest is measured by another person’s life: “To Macho Mike for Jill’s life.” This kind of life estate is known as a life estate pur autre vie, i.e., for another’s life.

Problems arise when one or more of these elements is missing from a conveyance or devise and Jill has not made her intentions explicit with respect to all aspects of the estate she wishes to create. Please contact us with any questions about life estates.

Additionally, every life estate is followed by a future interest, normally either a reversion to Jill or a remainder in her three children.

Jill, owner of Blackacre in fee simple, conveys Blackacre “to Macho Mike for his life.” Macho Mike takes a life estate in Blackacre and Jill automatically retains a reversion in fee simple in the same property.

or

Jill, owner of Blackacre in fee simple, conveys Blackacre “to Macho Mike for his life and on Mach Mike‘s death to my three children their heirs.” Macho Mike takes a life estate in Greenacre and C takes a future interest in the same land, a vested remainder in fee simple absolute. In this situation where Jill has transferred a vested fee simple to a third party, Jill retains no interest whatsoever in the land.

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in estate planning, and can help with your trust administration, probate administration, wills and trusts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

Photo by Ernest Porzi

What Am I Missing From My Trust?

When you create a trust for your family and notarize it there may still be some work to do. Here are some tips.

There are many types of trusts but when you create a trust for your family, generally, it is a revocable trust. It may contain trusts within it but this just some information for the revocable family trust.

Trust Transfer Deed

You created your trust as a part of an estate plan and if you had real property then a deed should have been drafted for each property to change the title of ownership within the deed from you to you as trustee of the trust. This deed must then be recorded with the respective county of the physical location of the property with a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report. For example, if you had property in San Diego County then you would file the deed with the San Diego County Recorder’s Office. If this was not done then we can help.

Refinancing

If you refinanced your house after creating a trust then it is unlikely that the bank titled the new deed in the name of the trust. Most of the time after refinancing the deed will be titled in your name as single or in joint tenancy, depending if you are married or not. If you are refinancing make sure that the bank puts the new deed in the name of the trust with you as trustees. If you are unsure if this was done then Coastal Pacific Law is happy to pull the deed for you if you contact us.

Funding and Additional Assets

Funding is a term that estate planning attorneys use to describe the process of adding assets to your trust, i.e. homework. My clients do not like homework and grumble when I send them home with questionnaires but it need to be done. There are two tasks that must be completed to add any asset to a trust: 1) It must be listed on the Trust Asset Schedule, hint: look around the last page of your trust for the Asset Schedule or in the front. If you do not see one then let us know; and 2) You must fill out paperwork with the respective organization, for example deeds for property, forms for banks and forms for the Department of Motor Vehicles, etc.

If you acquire additional assets during your lifetime, which you should. Then you will need to most likely re-title these assets unless they are assets with a beneficiary designation, such as, life insurance and retirement accounts. If the new asset is real property then you will need to file a trust deed as discussed above. If you have a rental property with a contract versus a deed then you can list it in your trust and contact the rental property organization to file the property paperwork.

Boats, cars and other assets of high value need to be listed in the trust as well as dealt with through the proper organization. For example, if you purchased an RV with a high value then you will want to fill out the proper Department of Motor Vehicles form.

Has Anything Changed

If your children are grown, a successor trustee has passed away or another life event has occurred then it is time to look at your trust. For example, when children are minors you may have listed your mother as trustee but now that your children are grown, it might be time to change the trustees. We offer complimentary trust reviews so schedule a meeting today.

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in estate planning, and can help with your trust administration, probate administration, wills and trusts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

Photo by Breno Machado

Texts Messages Admissible as a Will?

Smart phones and computers have revolutionized how we do everything and invaded every area of our lives, except for court rooms, in many cases.

What Is a Valid Will?

Currently, a valid Will in California requires, under California Probate Code Section 6110, that there is a written document, that is signed by the 1) testator, i.e. the decedent; 2) In the testator’s name by some other person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction; or 3) By a conservator pursuant to a court order to make a will under Section 2580. It must be witnessed by two persons that are not receiving under the Will. Additionally, the testator must have capacity to make their Will.

Entity Choices for Doctors and Lawyers

If you are a licensed attorney or professional in the healthcare industry, such as, a General Practitioner, Optometrist, Chiropractor, Dentist, Veterinarian or Podiatrist then you will be incorporating as, A Professional Corporation, as dictated by your licensing board and the Business and Professions Code Sections 13400 – 13410.

Business Incorporation Checklist

No matter what type of entity you chose, such as, Partnership, Limited Liability Company, C-Corporation, S-Corporation, a Professional Corporation, or Non-Profit Corporation there are some similar tasks that you must complete in order to form the entity.

Travels to China

When I was in law school I was fortunate enough to participate in a study abroad program in China at the Zhejiang University Guanghua College of Law.

My first impression of China was getting of a plane in Beijing. I am not sure if you have ever been there but the airport is huge. In fact, our connection that was leaving in forty-five minutes to Hangzhou, was across town on a bus in a different terminal. As the panic set in, a flight attendant from China, ran with us all the way to the connection, as we hopped on different buses, and we made our flight. She did not have to do this and her kindness astonished me. While I think that there are kind people everywhere, similar experiences kept happening so then I knew that it was not a coincidence and the Chinese people were some of the kindest and most hospitable people. Just like home. In fact so many people welcomed us into their home and my experience was one that I look back upon with appreciation.

Once we arrived in Hangzhou, I realized that most of this region was old, in fact Zhejiang University was founded in 1897, and the green tea was delicious. In fact, at the University, instead of cold water fountains there were hot water spouts for everyone to make their tea. Did I mention I am a little obsessed with green tea? It was definitely a highlight for me. But my favorite city was Shanghai.

Have you ever been to China? What was your favorite thing? If you are an United States company that is expanding into China then we want to help.  Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in business planning, and can help with your incorporation, contracts, trademarks or expansion issues.

If you are a Chinese company expanding to the United States or Canada then Coastal Pacific Law would love to assist you as acting as of counsel or as advisory board to your company. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form. 谢谢

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

 

Is a Small Estate Probate Right for You?

Generally, there are three types of probate petitions.

1. Petition for Probate

A Petition for Probate is filed in an estate when the title of assets in the name of the decedent are $150,000 or more in California. You will determine value of the assets based upon the current market value – date of death valuation. There are exceptions for certain assets. The assets can be real property, bank accounts, etc. Normally, the decedent had a will or no will, i.e. intestacy, but may have had a trust and did not properly transfer the assets. There is another procedure if there was a trust to try if the items left out of the estate was $150,000 or less called a Heggstad Petition. There is normally one or more Petitioner selected to administer the estate and will collect the assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries.

2. Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property (Estates of $150,000 or Less)

You would file a Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property (Estates of $150,000 or Less) if the assets, including bank accounts and real property totaled together are less than $150,000. This is a shorter procedure, time wise, but there are some considerations.

        Amount of Beneficiaries

In a proceeding for a Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property (Estates of $150,000 or Less) all the beneficiaries are Petitioners before the court so if there are 10 beneficiaries of the estate then there will be 10 petitioners. All petitioners will need to sign for the sale of property and all court documents. This could be very challenging and should be considered before choosing this procedure.

          Incapacity

In addition, if any of the beneficiaries are incapacitated then the court will need to see that the incapacitated person either has a conservatorship over there person and estate or there is a Durable Power of Attorney. Then the court will deal with the conservator or agent and this will get complicated. If you have either of theses issues this petition may not be the best choice for the estate.

3. Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value ($50,000 or less)

You would file a Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value ($50,000 or less) when there was only real property in the estate that was worth less than $50,000. This is not very common in San Diego County but usually occurs when the decedent owned a share of total interest in the real property. For example, if John, the decedent owned 25 percent of the total real property interest and his percentage was worth less than $50,000 based upon a date of death current market value then this could be an appropriate petition to file.

4. 13100 Affidavit

You might need a 13100 Affidavit if the decedent left a bank account or multiple accounts in their name and the total value of every asset left in the decedent’s name was less than $150,000. If there was real property r multiple accounts, etc. you would add those together to make sure that the total is less than $150,000. You can only collect bank accounts with this Affidavit. If you want to read more about 13100 Affidavits then read my post here.

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in estate planning, and can help with your trust administration, probate administration, wills and trusts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

Photo by Michał Grosicki