Pages

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Covid Survivors Belatedly Update Their Living Trust


Tom and Gina came into our Oakland office to update their Living Trust—something they regretted not doing years before. Both Tom and Gina are Covid survivors. An RN at Kaiser, Gina became sick in the early days of the pandemic, and Tom soon became infected as well. Both were in their 50s, healthy, with no preexisting conditions.

Tom was moderately affected and was hospitalized for a week; Gina spent a month in the hospital and nearly died. It was four months before she could return to work on even a part-time basis. Tom’s a teacher, and he was off work for several months. After more than a year, the couple is still struggling to regain their health and stamina. Neither is able to return to full-time employment, so the ordeal has had an economic impact as well as compromising their health. Tom and Gina want to make sure that if their health fails, their two adult sons will inherit their home and other assets. They’ve named their older son, Jerry, as their Power of Attorney.

RELATED CONTENT: Your Living Trust: Avoiding the Pitfalls

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine a future without Covid

This is especially true for those Long Covid, as they call the long-term effects of the disease that take many forms, including fatigue and brain fog that make it difficult to return to work and resume a normal life. Headaches are another chronic problem, along with muscle and joint pain, sleep problems, fever and dizziness. Some people are experiencing complications as serious as organ failure.

For those who work in the food and wine industries, loss of the ability to smell and taste is another serious consequence. In one account, a woman is studying to become a perfumer. Its practitioners need a discerning sense of smell. Covid is threatening the careers of professionals in these industries.

guideway legal let us answer your questions

Deferred maintenance: Another way Covid has affected Americans’ health

Health providers are seeing the consequences of more than a year of pandemic-delayed preventive and care. Think about our regular appointments to have our teeth cleaned or for our yearly physicals. These wellness checks are cost-effective preventative medical care.

Delayed response attributed to fear of going to the hospital

Dr. Brian Rah, chair of the cardiology department at Montana’s Billings Clinic, was confused in the early days of the Covid pandemic. He couldn’t figure out why there was a sudden drop in heart patients. And some patients were arriving hours after first experiencing chest pains. Two patients, both of whom suffered greater heart damage by delaying care, provided what came to be typical answers.

  • One said he was afraid of contracting Covid by going to the hospital.
  • The other patient went to the emergency room in the morning, left after finding it too crowded, and then returned that night when he figured there would be fewer patients–and a lower risk of catching Covid.

Delayed treatment can result in death or long-term compromised health

“For a heart attack patient, the first hour is known as the golden hour,” Rah said. After that, the likelihood of death or a lifelong reduction in activities and health increases, he said. Dr. JP Valin, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at SCL Health of Colorado and Montana, said he is “kept awake at night” by delays in important medical tests. “People put off routine breast examinations, and there are going to be cancers that are not identified, potentially delaying intervention,” he said.

  • Timely treatment of appendicitis symptoms. Valin is also concerned that patients aren’t seeking timely treatment when suffering appendicitis symptoms like abdominal pain, fever and nausea. A burst appendix generally involves more risk and a week’s hospitalization, instead of one day of treatment for those who get care quickly, he said.
  • 80% drop in colonoscopies. Fola May, a gastroenterologist who is also quality director and a health equity researcher at UCLA Health, worries about the consequences of an 80% to 90% drop in colonoscopies during the first months of Covid.

New medical problems emerging from the pandemic, many stress-related

Along with exacerbating existing health problems, the Covid pandemic has also caused a host of new medical issues in patients. We will be coming out of the pandemic with teeth worn down from grinding, back problems from slouching at makeshift home-work stations and mental health problems from a combination of isolation and being too close to family.

Dr. Despina Markogiannakis, a dentist in Chevy Chase, Maryland, said patients don’t argue when she tells them they have been grinding or clenching their teeth and might require a root canal, dental implant or night guard.

“These are people stuck at home all day, feeling lonely and feeling a little depression. It is induced by the world we live in and all the changes in our lives,” said Markogiannakis.

  • Tooth grinding. A recent American Dental Association survey found that more than 70% of member dentists reported an increase in patients grinding or clenching their teeth since Covid.
  • Stress-related teeth conditions. More than 60% reported an increase in other stress-related conditions, such as chipped and cracked teeth.
  • Depression and weight gain. Gerard Mosby, a Detroit pediatrician, finds his young patients are suffering more stress, depression and weight gain than before the pandemic. Confined in their homes, many are living in multigenerational homes or foster homes or have experienced Covid illnesses or death among family members.
  • Eye strain from too much computer time. Optometrist Matthew Jones, who practices in Blytheville and Osceola, Arkansas, reports worsening eye conditions for patients, some of whom stopped taking drops during Covid for conditions like glaucoma. He’s also seeing much more eyestrain “because people are spending so much time in front of a computer screen” and recommends eyeglasses that filter out blue light to his patients.
  • Pain makeshift workstations. Physical therapist Kaylee Smith, who runs a treatment studio in La Jolla, California, says she is seeing more injuries related to poor posture due to makeshift home workstations used during the pandemic.Patients are reporting more pain and injuries related to poor posture.

While we’d love to put Covid behind us, we never leave home without our masks. And that remains the reality for the foreseeable future.

Guideway, creating and updating your Living Trust

We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. We provide a hard copy as well as a soft copy of your documents. More questions? Contact us today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Judge Orders Deadbeat Dad to Pay Child Support


Robyn and John, both in their late 30s, had been together for seven years. When Robyn got pregnant, though she knew that John had a son from a former relationship and was an indifferent father, she wanted to have this child.

Everyone had always told John how brilliant he was

John graduated from Rutgers with a Ph.D. in cell microbiology. He returned to Seattle and took a post-doc position at the University of Washington. That was 15 years ago. Post-doc positions generally last two-three years; they don’t pay much and they’re meant to be learning periods, after which people move on to careers in academia or research. John did neither. After 15 years, he was still a post-doc.

Robyn took this deadbeat dad to court

Robyn and John were no longer together, but she needed John’s financial support to raise their son. John’s view was that he didn’t make enough money to be paying child support. He spent most days working from coffee shops and was content to be muddling along on his meager post-doc salary. The judge threw the book at John and told him he needed to get a job, start making some real money and contribute to the support of his kids. The judge scheduled dates when John had to be back in court to show progress.

Unpaid child support compromises the wellbeing of children

Nonpayment of child support is an offense that’s punishable by jail time. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the problem. It still leaves the custodial parent, generally the mother, trying to make ends meet, and it ultimately punishes the child. What many may not realize is that there is a statewide Child Support Guideline that defines how child support is determined. It’s neither arbitrary nor subjective. Rather, it’s a formula that’s predicated on both parents being responsible for supporting their children, and it’s part of the California Family Code.

The Guideline is designed to provide a minimum level of support

The standard guideline provides a minimum level of child support and uniformity in the way it’s calculated and applied. Both judges and parents are expected to adhere to these guidelines. Child support orders must ensure that children receive fair, timely support that’s consistent with California’s standard of living.

Applying the Guideline

The Guideline is a formula that uses parents’ income, deductions and time spent with the child to come up with a dollar amount for child support. An online child support calculator helps couples contemplating Divorce estimate their child-support commitments.

Child support is based on:

  • Each parent’s gross income.
  • The percentage oftime each child spends with each parent. If there is more than one child and each child spends different percentages of time with each parent, this starts to get complicated.
  • Any available income tax deductions that the parents can claim, such as mortgage interest.
  • Mandatory payroll deductions, such as health insurance, pensions, and union dues.
  • Child-care costs. If there are young children, there will be childcare costs that likely need to be shared.

The calculator will generate the child support estimate. In general, the greater the disparity between the two parents’ income and the less time the higher earning parent spends with the children, the more child support that parent will owe.

Breaking down the formula

Here is the formula California uses to calculate child support:

CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN)).

  • CS is the child support amount. This is what the formula will calculate once you’ve plugged in all of your information. The amount will be for one child.
  • K is the combined total of both parents’ income to be allocated for child support.
  • HN stands for high net: The net monthly disposable income of the parent who earns more.
  • H% is the approximate percentage of time that the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the children compared to the other parent.
  • TN is the combined total net monthly disposable income of both parents.

Division of property, parenting plans and calculating child support—it can all seem confusing, but Divorce is actually a very methodical process. Guideway guides you through it and we prepare the legal documents.

Guideway, assisting our clients in Divorce and Guided Mediation

As Legal Document Assistants, we assist our clients in Divorce and Mediation. If you can agree on division of property and a parenting plan, we can save you a lot of money. Our fees are significantly lower than those of attorneys. Why work with Guideway? One flat fee. There are never annoying add-on charges for copying, phone calls and other miscellany. Where appropriate, we also notarize documents and file them with the County Recorders’ Office.

We’re a single point of contact. You’ll work with a dedicated specialist who is available for questions and support throughout the process. We’ve been in business since 2003 and have expanded to three Bay Area offices–Dublin, Oakland and Walnut Creek. More than 60% of our business comes from referrals and repeat business.

We’re also proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. We provide a hard copy as well as a soft copy of your documents. More questions? Contact us today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

CalSavers: Do You Have 5 or More Employees?


Employers with 5+ employees must offer a retirement program or face fines

Employers may not realize that we’re inching up on the final registration deadline for the CalSavers mandate that will impact every business with five or more employees.

What many small business owners still don’t know about CalSavers

CalSavers (Senate Bill 1234) was signed into law in 2016 with a three-year tiered rollout. The bill requires all California businesses with five or more employees to offer a retirement plan to their employees.

  • The number of employees is determined by W2 filings and includes BOTH full- and part- time employees, so the mandate applies to most small businesses.
  • The mandate gives employers the option to either adopt their own plans (i.e., 401k) or participate in a new state-run Roth retirement plan.
  • The registration deadline for businesses with 5+ employees is June 2022, followed by a grace period for noncompliance, followed by a tiered penalty phase of up to $750 per employee. 
  • The registration deadlines for businesses with 100+ employees and 50+ employees have already passed: June 2020 and June 2021 respectively.

There’s no Covid hall pass on this one: They’re enforcing penalties now

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is enforcing the penalties, so the mandate has teeth. The good news is there’s time for small business owners to get educated and understand the options so they can comply with the mandate and avoid penalties.

The CalSavers program offers limited benefits to business owners

The CalSavers program itself--what the state is offering if businesses don’t adopt their own plans by the deadline--does NOT provide much benefit to business owners themselves. Typically, an employer-sponsored retirement plan, like a 401k, allows the business owner to also participate in the plan and reap the benefits of putting away money for retirement, sheltering income on a tax-deferred basis, and maximizing the tax benefits, both for the business and as an individual. A plan might also allow for employer contributions, such as matching funds, which can increase the tax benefits to the owner while providing a good recruitment and retention tool for employees.

The limited CalSavers program, however, does not provide employers with those benefits. The restrictive Roth (after-tax) provision will exclude many owners from participating due to Roth income limits. The state program also places the full administrative burden on the business owner to manage enrollment and service the plan.

  • A restaurant/bar owner, for example, who has struggled to keep the doors open during Covid, might seek options that minimize cost and administrative burden--the minimum to meet the mandate--but help them with their own long-term retirement or exit strategy.
  • Independent contractors, however, who have never been busier, might seek plans that would maximize their ability to shelter more income and offset the increased tax liability fueled by growth during Covid.

Understanding the options to make informed decisions

There’s not enough balanced information on the CalSavers online website to provide a full understanding of the pros and cons of the CalSavers mandate. If business owners have to comply with the mandate anyway, it’s in their best interests to take the time to understand how they might be able to also benefit themselves.

One of our colleagues, Kirk Cowan, of Edward Jones, is available to answer questions. He provides a complimentary review to help small business owners make informed decisions.

Guideway, assisting our clients in uncontested legal matters

As Legal Document Assistants, we assist our clients in uncontested legal matters, such as Divorce and Probate. Our fees are significantly lower than those of attorneys. Why work with Guideway? One flat fee. There are never annoying add-on charges for copying, phone calls and other miscellany. Where appropriate, we also notarize documents and file them with the County Recorders’ Office.

We’re a single point of contact. You’ll work with a dedicated specialist who is available for questions and support throughout the process. We’ve been in business since 2003 and have expanded to three Bay Area offices–Dublin, Oakland and Walnut Creek. More than 60% of our business comes from referrals and repeat business.

We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. We provide a hard copy as well as a soft copy of your documents. More questions? Contact us today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Safe Deposit Boxes: Are They Still Relevant?


Concerns about data privacy extend to how we protect our digital records, including Living TrustsDeeds and other important legal documents. We frequently field questions about whether a safe deposit box is appropriate for storing these do
cuments.

Limitations of safe deposit boxes

The most basic dependency is that safe deposit boxes are limited to banking hours, so important items that may be needed at a moment’s notice are better off stored elsewhere. Think about if you store your passport, then need to take an emergency trip. Or what if your Living Trust is stored in your safe deposit box and you’re gravely injured. Your family may need to access this on a Saturday, but they’ll have to wait until the bank reopens on Monday. Other complications? One client’s bank closed for three months during Covid. In another matter, a Probate case was centered around gaining access to the deceased’s safe deposit box. If you do store your Living Trust in a safe deposit box, make sure the box is in the name of Trust and that all who need access are clearly entitled.

One central location for hard-to-replace items

According to Dave McGuinn, founder and president of Safe Deposit Specialist, a financial consulting firm, “If you have anything that is hard to replace or has sentimental value or you want to pass on to your kids, that’s probably the best reason for getting a safe deposit box. You’ve got one central location, and your family knows where your stuff is. My clients are still expanding vaults, adding boxes, and doing everything they can to accommodate their customers,” says McGuinn.

While safe deposit boxes may still be viable, brick-and-mortar bank branches are vanishing. You may have to travel farther to access or lease a new deposit box. Some big banks are moving away from safe deposit boxes, especially in their new branches. In 2020, banks closed a record 3,324 branches nationwide and opened 1,040.

A home safe: The best place to store important documents?

Home safes are a good solution, but for them to be secure, they should be difficult to move, fireproof and waterproof. The general recommendation is to make a digital copy of your legal documents and save them online, either in a Dropbox folder or the Cloud. It’s important to share the location of the safe and provide access for a trusted family member or friend.

What should go in a safe deposit box?

Items that should be stored in a safe deposit box are those that are expensive or that may be difficult or impossible to replace. Examples include heirloom jewelry, original copies of adoption papers and important family photos. Valuables such as jewelry or collectibles should be stored in a safe deposit box only if they are insured, says Naomi Becker Collier, an attorney specializing in trust and estate planning.

A sign of the times: The American Bar Association also recommends placing valuables in plastic bags or containers labeled with the leaser’s name to protect the box’s contents in case of a plumbing catastrophe or flood. Remember that climate change has changed the landscape.

According to McGuinn, “Some of the big banks put a clause in the safe deposit box agreement that you can’t put anything of value in them, which kind of takes away the need of a safe deposit box.” He notes that banks don’t vet what goes in your safe deposit box — you put items in and take items out in private – so the restrictions aren’t enforceable. Some financial institutions also advise against storing cash, guns or other potentially dangerous or illegal items in safe deposit boxes.

Insuring the contents of your safe deposit box

Be aware that the bank has no idea what’s in your box—it’s not insured by the bank, by the FDIC or by any other government agency. The contents can be insured through your own private insurer. Ask an agent about adding what’s called a “personal articles floater” to your home or auto policy. Let the insurer know the items are in a safe deposit box.

Share the location of your box with a trusted friend or relative

Once you pick a safe deposit box, let someone know where the box is. If you trust that person enough, put them on the safe deposit box’s contract. If you die, this will allow the person access without unnecessary legal entanglements and court orders. If you’ve appointed a Power of Attorney, that person may be able to access the box during your lifetime, according to Collier, the attorney. Be aware that a Power of Attorney is no longer valid once you die.

Worst things to store in a safe deposit box

We’ve learned from spy thrillers that a safe deposit box is where you store multiple passports, piles of cash in different currencies and guns. But a safe deposit box has value has a central repository for a family’s important legal documents and items such as expensive jewelry.

Here’s what not to store in your safe deposit box

  • Emergency cash
  • Instructions for a funeral
  • Living Trust
  • Passport
  • Power of attorney
  • Uninsured valuables

Best things to store in a safe deposit box

  • Adoption records
  • Armed service records
  • Birth certificates
  • Business/legal contracts
  • Citizenship/naturalization papers
  • Collectibles
  • Death certificates
  • Family photos
  • Jewelry
  • Marriage/divorce records
  • Property records
  • Vehicle titles

Guideway, assisting our clients in uncontested legal matters—including Living Trusts

As Legal Document Assistants, we assist our clients in the preparation of legal documents for uncontested legal matters–those in which parties are in agreement about the division of property. Our fees are significantly lower than those of attorneys. Why work with Guideway? One flat fee. There are never annoying add-on charges for copying, phone calls and other miscellany. Where appropriate, we also notarize documents and file them with the County Recorders’ Office.

We’re a single point of contact. You’ll work with a dedicated specialist who is available for questions and support throughout the process. We’ve been in business since 2003 and have expanded to three Bay Area offices–Dublin, Oakland and Walnut Creek. More than 60% of our business comes from referrals and repeat business.

We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. We provide a hard copy as well as a soft copy of your documents. More questions? Contact us today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021


Guideway assists our clients with uncontested legal matters, including Divorce. If you and your spouse can agree on division of property, you don’t need a lawyer, and we can save you a lot of money. We prepare the legal documents and guide you through it.
 

There’s a general perception these days that Divorce is on the rise

Yet according to the Institute for Family Studies, the divorce rate reached a record low in 2019—for every 1,000 divorces, only 14.9 ended in divorce. But after a year and a half riding the pandemic rollercoaster, it’s a wonder anyone’s still married. Too much forced togetherness, economic insecurity and job loss. It’s been particularly hard on women—they’ve shouldered the bulk of childcare duties as whole families have switched to working and learning from home. But just as post-pandemic job hunters are seeking higher pay and more benefits, Covid has made many couples realize that they are no longer satisfied with the status quo. They want more from their relationships. 

According to Matt Lundquist, clinical director of Tribeca Therapy:

The pandemic has exacerbated issues that couples might have previously ignored, or tried to ignore. Alongside the enormous stress that Covid has created, many people in long-term marriages have found themselves at a crossroads. “I think this has been a forced moment of profound reflection. People are thinking a lot about what matters to them, what they want in life, what they tolerated living without that they don’t want to tolerate anymore. People are realizing that they have choices.”

 

Family attorney Alton L. Abramowitz: with SSRGA: “People are reexamining their lives, thinking: Is this the way I want to live for the next ten, 20 years?” he says. “There is this pent-up desire to move on with their lives.”

New York Magazine-The Covid Divorce: Couples want more from their relationships

He had promised he was sober, and then I found empty bottles

“What shifted for us is the lack of coping skills and distractions. We were in a very small house with our kids in lockdown. There was no place to hide. My ex’s alcoholism began to loom during the lockdown. I’m trying to raise the kids and he’s struggling with his addiction. With all of the stress of the pandemic, I needed the partner that I never got. I caught his stashing bottles around the house. My father has addiction issues, and it was not lost on me that I’m calling my mom, and she’s crying to me about this exact issue 20 years down the road. I had to end this cycle because it was not going to change.”

— Maya, 39, Montreal; married 16 years, together 21

 

She wanted a breadwinner, and I didn’t know how to get a six-figure job

“Before the pandemic, I was working for myself as a wedding photographer, and I was planting seeds for screenwriting and writing a book. I had worked hard to carve out a successful creative career. The pandemic changed things overnight—no one was having big weddings, so my income dried up; we didn’t meet our financial goals and ended the year with debt. I took a job with my wife’s company as a salesperson. The CEO loved my wife and hired me because of her. I never really succeeded in this culture. It cracked open big differences between us on how we define success and value money. We ended up separating, I moved to California and realized that I was happier alone. We are now planning to divorce, though not rushing to file papers.”

— Parker, 30, Southern CA; married four years, together seven

Why work with Guideway?

 

Guided Mediation. For those divorcing couples who have difficulty reaching consensus or for whom the Divorce process has stalled, our Guided Mediation, through a process of compromise and negotiation, assists couples in reaching successful conclusions.

One flat fee. There are never annoying add-on charges for copying, phone calls and other miscellany. Where appropriate, we also notarize documents and file them with the County Recorders’ Office. We’re a single point of contact. You’ll work with a dedicated specialist who is available for questions and support throughout the process. We’ve been in business since 2003, with three Bay Area offices–Dublin, Oakland and Walnut Creek. More than 60% of our business comes from referrals and repeat business. Schedule an appointment today. 

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

 

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.


Friday, September 3, 2021

You’ve Inherited a Gun? California’s Strict Gun Laws May Surprise You


When you create a Living Trust, you need to move your assets into the Trust. Besides real estate, bank and brokerage accounts, you may have other assets of value. When John and Isabelle came in to create their Trust, John’s grandfather had just died and left him a valuable collection of antique guns. John was busy assessing their value; Isabelle was more concerned about having a large cache of guns around their kids and she knew that California has strict laws regulating the passing of firearms from one generation to the next—so restrictive that some people move out of the state to avoid them. To start:

  • Assault weapons are for all practical purposes nontransferable.
  • If the relative you’re planning to bequeath a gun is a drug addict or ex-felon, that transfer is illegal.

An important part of creating a Living Trust is funding it—moving your assets into the Trust. What belongs in the Trust? Real estate, bank and brokerage accounts and tangible personal assets—things like art, jewelry and vehicles.

John inherited his grandfather’s collection of antique guns

When John and Isabelle came into our Walnut Creek office to create their Trust, John’s grandfather had recently died and left him his valuable collection of guns—some dating back to the Civil War. While John wondered about getting his gun collection appraised, his wife had bigger concerns. They had small children, and she didn’t want a big cache of guns around the house. Isabelle also knew that California has strict laws regulating the passing of firearms from one generation to the next. So restrictive are California’s regulations that some people have moved out of state to avoid them.

For Americans wondering how they will pass their guns to their heirs, there are some important things to keep in mind. Regulations vary not only by what weapon is to be inherited, but by who is in line to receive it.

  • Assault weapons are for all practical purposes nontransferable.
  • If the relative you’re planning to bequeath a gun is a drug addict or ex-felon, that transfer is illegal.

What happens to severely restricted firearms when their owner dies? 

The weapons must be:

  • Removed from California
  • Sold to a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL)
  • Destroyed
  • Turned over to law enforcement

The safest and simplest way to transfer a firearm from one person to another, even in distribution of an estate, is through a Federal Firearms Licensee who also has the necessary California licenses to deal in firearms. Not only do such dealers know firearms, but they can carry out required background checks on intended recipients.

Antique firearms can be transferred with going through the FFL

  • Antiques—manufactured before 1899–curios and relics can legally be transferred without going through an FFL, but a qualified FFL should verify a firearm’s classification before transfer.
  • Since January of 2014, transfer of antiques, curios and relics can’t be made unless the recipient has both a California Certificate of Eligibility and a Federal Curio or Relics license. The firearm must be registered with the California Department of Justice.

Penalties for transferring guns to minors

In California, minors can’t own handguns, and they themselves can be prosecuted in juvenile court for possession. There are exceptions, such as having the written consent of parents or legal guardians if weapons are for target shooting or hunting. There’s more. You can’t transfer or bequeath shotguns or rifles to minors, and a minor who possesses such weapons cannot be prosecuted, but anyone who gives, sells, bequeaths or transfers a gun to someone under 18–including the executor of a Will–can be criminally liable for doing so.

About Guideway, assisting our clients in uncontested legal matters—including Living Trusts

At Guideway, we are Legal Document Assistants who assist our clients in the preparation of legal documents for uncontested legal matters–those in which parties are in agreement about the division of property. Our fees are significantly lower than those of attorneys. Why work with Guideway? One flat fee. There are never annoying add-on charges for copying, phone calls and other miscellany. Where appropriate, we also notarize documents and file them with the County Recorders’ Office.

We’re a single point of contact. You’ll work with a dedicated specialist who is available for questions and support throughout the process. We’ve been in business since 2003 and have expanded to three Bay Area offices–Dublin, Oakland and Walnut Creek. More than 60% of our business comes from referrals and repeat business.

We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. We provide a hard copy as well as a soft copy of your documents. More questions? Contact us today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.