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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 ...
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What is a Pet Trust?
Do you love your pets? Most of us consider our pets to be part of the family. Many of you ask me how you can take care of your furry friends just as you would a child or family member if something should happen. The most common way is to include them in your trust or will by stating your intent for your pet to your successor trustee or executor in it. The necessary elements for a pet trust are the pet owner, who plans the estate and includes the pet trust as a part of the estate plan. If you create a trust then you would create a fixed or variable amount of money that, will not go to your b ...
Posted in: Estate Planning, Uncategorized
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Do You Have a Plan?
When I meet with clients I often notice deficiencies. Yes, getting an Estate Plan is a great step toward protecting your family but it is not the only piece. I often recommend that my clients to go see a financial advisor. There are many reasons that I might suggest that a client go see a financial advisor, which include: 1. You have minor children.          If you have minor children then you need to meet with a financial advisor. Yes, you may have life insurance but is the amount you have enough? Maybe you have children and do not have life insurance. I could go into some horror st ...
Posted in: Estate Planning, Uncategorized
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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 ...
Posted in: Incorporation
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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 ne ...
Posted in: Estate Planning
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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: Per stirpes usually applies to a situation where you leave property to a group of people, like your children, som ...
Posted in: Estate Planning
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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 ...
Posted in: Estate Planning
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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 wit ...
Posted in: Estate Planning, Uncategorized
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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 recei ...
Posted in: trust administration
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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. What is an A Professional Corporation? A Professional Corporation is an organization with a majority interest owned by a licensed professional that is engaged in rendering professional services in a single profession pursuant to a certificate of registration issued ...
Posted in: Incorporation
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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. Articles of Incorporation or Operation If you are incorporating then you will need to file Articles of Incorporation on behalf of your company with the Secretary of State. Articles of Incorporation establish the existence of your company with the Secretary of State. You fill out your company's information on the Articles of Incorporation for ...
Posted in: Incorporation
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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 kind ...
Posted in: Musings
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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 ...
Posted in: Estate Planning, probate
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Can a Bank Account Avoid Probate?
If you are the successor trustee, executor or administrator of the estate then there might be a bank account that was in the name of the decedent and not in the name of the trust, or joint tenancy, etc. If the bank account was under one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000.00), as of the date of this post, then there might be an option besides probate court. Under the California Probate Code Section 13100 states that you can create an Affidavit for the account if all of the property in the estate does not exceed one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000.00). Thus, if there was ...
Posted in: Estate Planning, trust administration
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Should I Create a Trust for my Family?
Generally, there are three ways you can go when creating your estate plan for your family. You can create a Trust, Will or you can do nothing. Intestacy I will talk about the third option first. You might say, ʺnot doing anything is not planning my estate,ʺ but it is. By not doing anything you are planning for your estate to go by the laws of intestacy under the California Probate Code. This means that the Judge will use the Probate Code to decide how your estate to be distributed.  This is not necessarily a bad thing but it might not be what you wanted. I am not going into the laws of inte ...
Posted in: Estate Planning
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Who Won the CrossFit Games?
If you do CrossFit then you probably already know who won the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games. If you do not do CrossFit then you might want to know that the CrossFit Games are the culmination of three events. It all starts with the CrossFit Open in February. Anyone can sign up and do the workouts for a small expense. If you did the CrossFit Open in 2017 then you would have competed against 304,327 individuals in 127 countries. Then if you are the best in your Region, as defined by CrossFit, you can go to the Regionals Competition. There are 17 Regional Competitions or Regions and the following peo ...
Posted in: Incorporation
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My Not-To-Do List
Many of You have heard Tim Ferriss and his book, The Four Hour Work Week. Ferriss is not advocating only working for four hours a week but wants you to be as efficient as possible to make time for the things that matter. I laughed many times while *listening* to this book. For example, if you have a time and money wasting client sometimes, you have to fire them, which is funny because I have learned this the hard way. See the Pareto Principle. Then there was a certain part of the book that made me stop and rewind, which was the "Not-To-Do List." This list is as important as a To-Do List. As ...
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Do I Need to Provide an Accounting?
As the successor trustee of a trust, you have many duties. One of them is to provide an accounting to the beneficiaries of the trust annually. If you are not sure what a trustee or beneficiary is then read this article. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. If the trust states that the accounting for beneficiaries is waived then it could be waived. However, I would be careful with this because there are circumstances that waiving an accounting can be considered against public policy even if it is waived in the trust and especially if there are strained relationships. Also, you could h ...
Posted in: Estate Planning
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What if There is a Handwritten Will?
Normally, in order to create a will, you would go see an attorney, have them draft it and then have it witnessed by two people. This must be done with the understanding that it was your will, i.e. you must have capacity. This is considered to be a "valid will" in the state of California as long as all provisions in the California Probate Code Section 6110 are met, as mentioned above. A Probate Code Section 6110 "valid will" can be handwritten, it is just not as common and normally is not done properly since it is unlikely an attorney was involved. If a will does not meet the requirements of a ...
Posted in: Estate Planning
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What Do You Want to Happen With Your Remains?
Thinking about your demise can be morbid but it also can give you a peace of mind. In most cases people want to be buried, cremated or put to rest in some other way according to their religious beliefs. But if you love the ocean the you should check out, Eternal Reefs. The founders of Eternal Reefs created their company in response to significant deterioration and degradation of the reefs they witnessed while diving. They came up with a plan to create a "material and system that would replicate the natural marine environment that supports coral and microorganism development," which are pict ...
Posted in: Estate Planning, Uncategorized
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What are the Requirements for a Cannabis Business in California?
Proposition 64 legalized recreational marijuana businesses, right? Well not at the moment. Currently, the only cannabis businesses "allowed" to operate in California are medical marijuana businesses. I remember reading an NPR story that claimed that there were more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks in some neighborhoods in California but recreational use will prove that further growth is possible. State Level There are federal, state and local regulations of cannabis. At the state level, Proposition 64 set up a structure to regulate the cannabis industry and delegated responsibilit ...
Posted in: Incorporation
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What is Your Crazy Idea?
Personally, I cannot remember or imagine a world without Nike. I grew up wearing  it. The athletes my schools, including the University of Colorado, were sponsored by them. Recently, I read Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, who is the founder of Nike. As an entrepreneur, I enjoyed many aspects of this book. If you are an entrepreneur, you are a person that chose a path that is not certain. You feel alone. People do not understand and wonder why you did not just go in the family profession or work for someone else. But you can't. You have a sickness and a vision. You know that suffering will come but ...
Posted in: Musings
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Trust Administration Checklist
While every trust administration is different there are some similar elements to each one. Let's go over the basics. Trust administration is the process of settling a trust due to some change that makes the trust irrevocable and sets a time table for distribution according to the California Probate Code and Texas Estates Code. The most common way that trust administration comes about is on the death of the second settlor, i.e. creator of the trust. At this point the trust becomes irrevocable and the successor trustee named in the trust would take over and complete the trust administration. T ...
Posted in: Estate Planning, probate
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Have You Ever Thought About Starting a Non-Profit? An Interview With a CEO.
Most people want to give back. What gets you excited about giving back? Do you want to contribute to orphanages, help animals or see a need in the community? For my friend, Reagan Baker, CEO of the Discipulus Foundation, she saw a need in her community to help high school students obtain scholarships to further their education in trade schools. Why did Baker start this non-profit? Baker wanted to help students who wish to study at a trade or vocational school after graduation from high school, instead of attending a four year college or university and accumulating massive student loans. Acco ...
Posted in: Incorporation
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What are the Executors and Attorneys Fees for a Probate Estate?
When a Petition for Probate is filed the Attorney and Executor/Administrator are entitled to fees. These fees are classified as ordinary and extraordinary and set by the California Probate Code Section 10810, which states the Attorney and Executor in San Diego shall receive: (1) Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). (2) Three percent (3%) on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). (3) Two percent (2%) on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000). (4) One percent (1%) on the next nine million dollars ($9,000,000). (5) One-half of 1 perce ...
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Lessons from Jess Jackson
Sometimes I wonder about Attorneys. We work long and hard hours. We live for our clients and everything else is marginalized for them in and out of court. It is no wonder that many attorneys leave the profession, take to substance abuse, have hobbies or other businesses that consume their creative side. When I heard about the story of Jess Jackson and the Kendall-Jackson Winery, I was curious about him. Jackson started from very humble beginnings and sometimes only had rice to eat growing up. He worked many odd jobs as a child and even through law school. Jackson went to law school at the Uni ...
Posted in: Musings
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How much does a Successor Trustee Get Paid?
Trustee fees can be a litigious issue and lead families to court. But with proper planning this can be avoided. Let's look at what the California Probate Code and says about Trustee Fees. In California, the Probate Code Section 15681 states, "if the trust instrument provides for the trustee’s compensation, the trustee is entitled to be compensated in accordance with the trust instrument." However, most trusts do not specify the compensation. In a majority of trusts, either: the compensation provision is left out or it states the trustee shall receive "reasonable compensation" as stated in ...
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Opening Day at the Races
We hope that you have a great Opening Day at the Del Mar Race Track. Did you know? The racetrack opened on July 3, 1937 and Bing Crosby was there to greet the first patron. Before the construction of the Del Mar Racetrack, Southern Californians traveled to the Agua Caliente racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico, for drinking, gambling, etc. In 1942-1944, Del Mar Race Track was shutdown as the U.S. plunged into World War II. The grounds were used for Marine training and then as a manufacturing site for parts to B-17 bombers. On May 6, 1936, William A. Quigley and Bing Crosby filed for articles of ...
Posted in: Musings
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Animal Heroes
I just got back from another trip to Mexico and it has my heart. The people are kind and generous. The food and beaches are exquisite. I get to practice my Spanish that I took five semesters of at the University of Colorado, which is remembered best when I am hungry. However, I always get discouraged seeing stray dogs everywhere and I feel powerless to help. After seeing a few stray dogs one day and feeling discouraged, I found article in the Gringo Gazette, that stated that there are around 23 million stray animals in Mexico. But there is hope. There are organizations, such as, Animal Hero ...
Posted in: Incorporation
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What is the Difference Between an Executor and Trustee?
Almost all of my clients do not know the difference between an Executor and a Trustee. I get it. There are too many words and they are confusing, for example: settlor, grantor, trustee, successor trustee, executor, administrator, power of attorney, agent and fiduciary. The Trustee is the person that manages the assets of a trust and distributes them to the beneficiaries. When a person creates a revocable trust in California or Texas, they are the trustee during their lifetime until they die or resign as trustee of their trust. Most of the time if you do have a Trust, you shall have a documen ...
Posted in: Estate Planning, Uncategorized
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Transfer on Death Deeds in California
In 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 139,  and he established a procedure to transfer real property upon death through a revocable transfer on death deed. This new procedure allows for you to list a beneficiary on a deed for real property that is then recorded with the San Diego County Recorder's Office. The transfer on death deed allows people that cannot afford a trust to transfer their real property to avoid a procedure called probate. All of your problems are solved then, right? Not necessarily. An estate plan will always a be superior method of planning versus a transfer o ...
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How Has Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples Changed?
My office has received many questions about same-sex estate planning in the past few months and wanted to address some of them. Last year the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015), ruled that same-sex couples could get married in every state. At the time of the Obergefell ruling, thirty-seven states, already recognized same-sex marriage. Only thirteen states had bans on same-sex marriage, which are now unconstitutional. Obergefell relieved many challenges and inconsistencies between the state and federal laws, including, estate and tax planning for same-sex couples. Som ...
Posted in: Estate Planning
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Which Funding Options are Available to Help Entrepreneurs Start and Grow Their Businesses?
CROWDFUNDING, VENTURE CAPITAL, AND GOVERNMENT GRANTS Starting a business can be an exciting, yet costly endeavor. Entrepreneurs need Startup capital to cover the cost of living expenses, salaries, overhead, legal fees, filing fees, marketing/advertising, shipping costs, and even production costs. There are numerous funding options available, from interest free loans to venture capital. In this article, we explore the various options that are available for small business owners and entrepreneurs. In the event business owners and entrepreneurs are unable or unwilling to secure funding in t ...
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Why Starting a Non-Profit is Easier Than Ever Before
By Tristan Younghaus, Esq. Have you ever thought about starting a non-profit? In 2014 the Internal Revenue Service (”IRS”) drastically changed the process of applying for tax exemption status under Section 501(c)3 of the United States Code by releasing the IRS Tax Form 1023-EZ. The 1023-EZ Form is a new streamlined process for applying for tax exempt status and you can apply on www.pay.gov. Its predecessor the IRS Tax Form 1023 was 26 pages long, which asked very detailed information about the non-profit but the new 1023-EZ Form is less than 3 pages long. Only certain types of non-pr ...
Posted in: Incorporation
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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. They are both B Corporations. This is a certification that companies all over the world are obtaining to display their commitment to, "meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems." The B Lab is the company responsible for offering this certification and compares the certification as the equi ...
Posted in: Incorporation, Uncategorized
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