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As a skilled and experienced Southern California Probate Law Firm, Law Office of Michael C. Maddux provides solid legal guidance to individuals, families, business owners and retirees throughout Southern California in the following practice areas:

The Basic Probate Process

If the Decedent left a Will, the executor named in the will should start the probate process. If there’s no will, or the person named to serve as executor isn’t available, then usually a family member asks the court to be appointed as the “administrator” of the estate. The Will, if there is one, must be shown to be valid; usually this is done by having the witnesses sign a sworn statement that’s submitted to the court

There is a filing fee of about $465; some counties charge a bit more.

During the probate, it’s the executor’s job to keep all assets safe. For example, a house must be insured and maintained; heirlooms must be safeguarded from theft or damage. The executor is also responsible for filing tax returns for the deceased person and for the estate.

In California, creditors have four months to come forward with their claims. Many estates don’t receive any formal claims from creditors; instead, the executor simply pays outstanding bills (for expenses of the final illness, for example). If there isn’t enough money to pay valid claims, however, state law sets out the order in which claims are to be paid from estate assets.

Conservatorship

A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances. If your family member is unable to make legal decisions on their behalf, we urge you to contact Law Office of Michael C. Maddux to schedule a consultation to discuss the possibility of conservatorship. Our team of legal professionals understand how unfamiliar and overwhelming estate planning and probate matters can be. If you are looking to seek a conservatorship so that you can care for a loved one, we can be of service.

The duties of a conservator of the person are to:
  • Arrange for the conservatee’s care and protection.
  • Decide where the conservatee will live.
  • Make arrangements for the conservatee’s:
    • Meals,
    • Health care,
    • Clothing,
    • Personal care,
    • Housekeeping,
    • Transportation,
    • Shelter,
    • Recreation and
    • Well-being.
  • Get approval from the court for certain decisions about the conservatee’s health care or living arrangements.
  • Report to the court on the conservatee’s current status.
The duties of a conservator of the estate are to:
  • Manage the conservatee’s finances.
  • Locate and take control of all assets.
  • Collect the conservatee’s income.
  • Make a budget to show what the conservatee can afford.
  • Pay the conservatee’s bills.
  • Responsibly invest the conservatee’s money.
  • Protect the conservatee’s assets.
  • Account to the court and to the conservatee for the management of the conservatee’s assets.
Who Can File for Conservatorship

There are a number of people who can file for a conservatorship:

  • The spouse or domestic partner of the proposed conservatee;
  • A relative of the proposed conservatee;
  • Any interested state or local entity or agency;
  • Any other interested person or friend of the proposed conservatee; and
  • The proposed conservatee, himself or herself.

In appointing a conservator, the court is guided by the best interests of the conservatee. If the proposed conservatee has nominated someone (and the proposed conservatee has the mental and physical ability to express his or her preference), the court will appoint that person as conservator unless it is NOT in the proposed conservatee’s best interests.

If the proposed conservatee has not or cannot nominate anyone, the law provides a list of preferences that the court generally follows when the court determines whether all these persons are qualified to serve as a conservator.

The order of preference is:
  • Spouse or domestic partner
  • Adult child
  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Any other person the law says is okay
  • Public Guardian

If the person closest to the top of the list does not want to be conservator, he or she can nominate someone else.

In the end, regardless of this order of preference, the selection of the conservator is up to the judge, and the judge makes this decision by considering the best interests of the proposed conservatee.

Trust Litigation

The purpose of creating a Will, Trust and the probate process is to provide an orderly manner that reflects the true intent of the Testator or the Trustor as to how s(he) would like to have their estate distributed. When a Trust or the Will is created by a person who lacks mental capacity or is forced into creating a document through pressure of unscrupulous relatives to deprive other family members of their rightful share of the estate, that is when the Trust or the Will are contested in court to determine their validity. Law Office of Michael C. Maddux has been helping clients with the Will and Trust contest since 1997. We handle all aspects of Probate Administration, Will and Trust Contest.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is a process. It involves people — your family, other individuals and, in many cases, charitable organizations of your choice. It also involves your assets (your property) and the various forms of ownership and title that those assets may take. And it addresses your future needs in case you ever become unable to care for yourself. Through estate planning, you can determine:

  • How and by whom your assets will be managed for your benefit during your life if you ever become unable to manage them yourself.
  • When and under what circumstances it makes sense to distribute your assets during your lifetime.
  • How and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death.
  • How and by whom your personal care will be managed and how health care decisions will be made during your lifetime if you become unable to care for yourself.
What is involved in estate planning?

There are many issues to consider in creating an estate plan. First, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my assets and what is their approximate value?
  • Whom do I want to receive those assets — and when?
  • Who should manage those assets if I cannot — either during my lifetime or after my death?
  • Who should be responsible for taking care of my minor children if I become unable to care for them myself?
  • Who should make decisions on my behalf concerning my care and welfare if I become unable to care for myself?
  • What do I want done with my remains after I die and where would I want them buried, scattered or otherwise laid to rest?
  • If you would like to discuss your estate planning needs, contact Law Office of Michael C. Maddux for an appointment.
Guardianship

Guardianship is when a court orders someone other than the child’s parent to:

  • Have custody of the child; or
  • Manage the child’s property (called “estate”); or
  • Both.

The information in this section is about probate guardianships. These cases are brought by the person seeking to be appointed guardian or by someone else in the family asking the court to appoint a guardian. If custody of the minor was awarded to a non-parent through the juvenile dependency court, this section does NOT apply.

If Child Protective Services (CPS) is involved in your case, you probably have to go to the juvenile court to find out what you can do. Find out more about guardianships in juvenile court.

A probate guardianship of the person is set up because a child is living with an adult who is not the child’s parent, and the adult needs a court order to make decisions on behalf of the child.

If you would like to discuss your Guardianship matter, call Law Office of Michael C. Maddux to make an appointment

What is elder abuse?

It is the neglect, exploitation or “painful or harmful” mistreatment of anyone who is 65 or older (or anyone aged 18 to 64 who falls under the legal definition of a “dependent” adult). It can involve physical violence, psychological abuse, isolation, abandonment, abduction, false imprisonment or a caregiver’s neglect. It could also involve the unlawful taking of a senior’s money or property.

In short, elder abuse involves various crimes, such as theft, assault or identity theft, that strike victims of all ages. But when the victim is 65 years old or older (or a dependent adult), the criminal could face stiffer penalties.

What should I do if I am being abused or I suspect that someone else is being abused?

If the abuse, neglect or exploitation is taking place in a private home, call the Adult Protective Services (APS). Check your county phone listings for a local APS office.

If the abuse is occurring in a licensed long-term care facility, such as a nursing home, call the local long-term care ombudsman. (To locate an ombudsman, call 1-800-231-4024.) Your report will be confidential, and you can remain anonymous.

You could also call the California Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse complaint hotline at 1-800-722-0432, and the local police department and county district attorney’s office.

For further information and guidance, request a free publication entitled A Citizen’s Guide to Preventing & Reporting Elder Abuse by writing to: The Office of the Attorney General, 1425 River Park Drive, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95815. The guide is also available at ag.ca.gov (click on Publications and Elder Abuse).

What are some examples of elder abuse?
  • Your caregiver or a “new friend” persuades you to sign a power of attorney so she can handle your affairs for you—only to sell your home and steal the cash.
  • Neglected and hungry, you lie stranded in your bedroom while your adult son empties your bank accounts.
  • A home repairman persuades you to pay cash on the spot for a “great” home improvement deal—then never does any work.
  • You forget to take your medication and a nursing home staff member slaps you in the face.
  • You pay “fees” to claim a “free vacation” or winnings from an international lottery—only to deplete your savings and get nothing in return.
  • If you are a victim of Elder Abuse, contact Law Office of Michael C. Maddux to make an appointment.
Will Contest

The general rule under California case law is that someone who wishes to contest a will must have an interest of a financial nature which may be impaired or defeated by probate of the will or benefitted by setting it aside (such as an heir or legatee under a prior will). Basically, the Court will want to know if you would have gotten more money from the estate if not for the will that you want to contest. California law permits you to file a contest with the court either before or after a will is admitted to probate. There are strict time limitations for filing a will contest. Failing to file a will contest in time will be fatal to your will contest.
If you believe you have been deprived of your rightful inheritance, contact Law Office of Michael C. Maddux to make an appointment.

Powers of Attorney

Power of Attorney is a document that lets you appoint someone to represent you.
If you sign a Power of Attorney, you are the principal. The person you appoint to represent you is called the agent or attorney-in-fact. A Power of Attorney lets you authorize someone to handle a specific task, like signing documents for you while you are away. For example, your agent can sign sale documents or contracts for the purchase of a house, or to sell your car.

Or, your Power of Attorney can authorize your agent to handle on-going tasks.

Here are examples of tasks you can have your agent do:
  • make bank deposits, withdrawals or other transactions
  • trade stocks and bonds
  • pay your bills
  • buy or sell property
  • hire people to take care of you
  • file your tax returns
  • arrange the distribution of retirement benefits
  • negotiate and sign contracts
  • apply for benefits like SSI or Medi-Cal

Your agent can do almost anything the Power of Attorney permits. You can also limit the kinds of financial decisions you want your agent to be able to make.

If you need a Power of Attorney drawn, call Law Office of Michael C. Maddux to make an appointment.

Living Will

A California living will is a legal document which indicates what you would like to have happen in the event you are put on artificial life support and unable to communicate your desires. A living will does not distribute your property, it simply outlines your wishes concerning life support if you become terminally ill or are in a persistent vegetative state.

As competent adults, you have a constitutional right to make advance decisions regarding your medical care. By establishing a living will now, you guarantee that your family will not have to guess about your desires at a later date. If you need a Living Will prepared, contact

Charitable Trusts

If you are a nonprofit organization and doing fundraising in California, do business in California, or own property in the state, you are very likely required to register with the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts and renew the registration each year.

examples of doing business in California include:
  • holding meetings of the board of directors or corporate members in California
  • maintaining an office in California
  • pay your billshaving officers or employees who perform work in California, or
  • conducting charitable programs in California.
  • If you need help with your charitable trust, call Law Office of Michael C. Maddux to make an appointment.
Advance Medical Directives

You have the right to give instructions about your own health care. You also have the right to name someone else to make health care decisions for you. It protects your right to refuse medical treatment you do not want, or to request treatment you do want, in the event you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. If you would like to have your Advance Medical Directive prepared, call

Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust (SNT), is a legal arrangement in which a person or organization (like a bank) manages assets for a person with a disability. The person with the disability is called the “beneficiary” and the person who is managing the assets is the “trustee.” Many kinds of assets can be put into a trust, such as cash, stocks, bonds, and real estate.
An SNT provides for the needs of a person with a disability without losing or reducing their benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medi-Cal, In-Home Support Services (IHSS), and HUD housing assistance. Assets in an SNT won’t be counted toward the SSI, Medi-Cal and IHSS asset limit of $2000 for an individual.
If you would like to have a Special Needs Trust drawn up for your loved one with a disability, call Law Office of Michael C. Maddux for an appointment.

Last Will And Testament

A will is a legal document drafted and executed in accordance with state law, which becomes irrevocable at your death. Your will is a legal document in which you give certain instructions to be carried out after your death. For example, you may direct the distribution of your assets (your money and property), and give your choice of guardians for your children. It becomes irrevocable when you die. In your will, you can name:
Your beneficiaries. You may name beneficiaries (family members, friends, spouse, domestic partner or charitable organizations, for example) to receive your assets according to the instructions in your will. You may list specific gifts, such as jewelry or a certain sum of money, to certain beneficiaries, and you should direct what should be done with all remaining assets (any assets that your will does not dispose of by specific gift).

If you would to discuss your personal situation, call Law Office of Michael C. Maddux to make an appointment.

Living Revocable Trust
What is a living trust?

It is a written legal document that partially substitutes for a will. With a living trust, your assets (your home, bank accounts and stocks, for example) are put into the trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to your beneficiaries when you die.

Most people name themselves as the trustee in charge of managing their trust’s assets. This way, even though your assets have been put into the trust, you can remain in control of your assets during your lifetime. You can also name a successor trustee (a person or an institution) who will manage the trust’s assets if you ever become unable or unwilling to do so yourself.

The living trust described in this pamphlet is a revocable living trust (sometimes referred to as a revocable inter vivos trust, revocable trust or a grantor trust). Such a trust may be amended or revoked at any time by the person or persons who created it (commonly known as the trustor(s), grantor(s) or settlor(s)) as long as he, she, or they are still competent.

Your living trust agreement:
  • Gives the trustee the legal right to manage and control the assets held in your trust.
  • Instructs the trustee to manage the trust’s assets for your benefit during your lifetime.
  • Names the beneficiaries (persons or charitable organizations) who are to receive your trust’s assets when you die.
  • Gives guidance and certain powers and authority to the trustee to manage and distribute your trust’s assets. The trustee is a fiduciary, which means he or she holds a position of trust and confidence and is subject to strict responsibilities and very high standards. For example, the trustee cannot use your trust’s assets for his or her own personal use or benefit without your explicit permission. Instead, the trustee must hold and use trust assets solely for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries.

A living trust can be an important part — and in many cases, the most important part — of your estate plan. For more detailed information on Living Revocable Trust, contact Law Office of Michael C. Maddux for an appointment.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE

We provide criminal defense in the charges.

CIVIL MATTERS
  • Real Estate Disputes
  • Oil & Gas
  • Partition Actions
  • Quiet Title

BANKRUPTCY

CHAPTER 7 & 13

A debtor may choose to file for either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. While a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganizes debt into a repayment plan, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as a “liquidation” bankruptcy, erases all debt that is legally capable of expungement. Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules determine who qualifies, how to file, and what debt is eligible for discharge.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules, a debtor is ineligible under the following circumstances:
  • A previous debt was discharged within the past eight years under Chapter 7;
  • A previous debt was discharged within the past six years under Chapter 13;
  • Their income, expenses and debt would allow for a Chapter 13 filing;
  • The debtor attempted to defraud creditors or the bankruptcy court; or
  • The debtor failed to attend credit counseling.
Dischargeable Debts Under Chapter 7
  • credit card charges (including overdue and late fees)
  • collection agency accounts
  • medical bills
  • personal loans from friends, family, and employers
  • utility bills (past due amounts only)
  • dishonored checks (unless based on fraud)
  • student loans (only in a few rare circumstances)
  • repossession deficiency balances
  • auto accident claims (except those involving drunk driving)
  • business debts
  • money owed under lease agreements (includes past due rent)
  • civil court judgments (unless based on fraud)
  • tax penalties and unpaid taxes past a certain number of years
  • attorney fees (except child support and alimony awards)
  • revolving charge accounts (except extended payment charges)
  • social security overpayments, and
  • veterans assistance loans and overpayments.
Non-Dischargeable debts under chapter 7
  • unscheduled debts (any debts the debtor fails to list on the bankruptcy petition or include on the mailing list), unless the creditor had actual notice or knowledge of the bankruptcy filing. Also, many jurisdictions allow discharge of otherwise dischargeable debts not listed in the petition due to an innocent mistake when there are no assets to distribute.
  • certain taxes (for details, see Tax Debts in Bankruptcy)
  • debts for spousal or child support or alimony
  • debts owed to a former spouse or child if they arose out of a divorce or separation
  • debts to government agencies for fines and penalties
  • student loans (with a few rare exceptions)
  • debts for personal injury caused by the debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated
  • debts owed to certain tax-advantaged retirement plans
  • debts for certain condominium or cooperative housing fees (such as homeowners association fees)
  • attorney fees in child custody and support cases, and
  • court fines and penalties, including criminal restitution.

IMMIGRATION

Cancellation of Removal ( DEPORTATION) – Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for cancellation of removal, you must show that:

  • Ten Years in the U.S. You have been continuously physically present in the United States for at least ten years. The 10-year period is measured from the date of entry until the date that the Department of Homeland Security issues a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court. A single absence of 90 days or a several absences totaling 180 days will interrupt the continuous physical present necessary for cancellation of removal;
  • No convictions that make you inadmissible or deportable. You haven’t been convicted of certain criminal offenses that would render you inadmissible or deportable; and
  • “Exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.” Your possible deportation would cause “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to your lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen spouse, child or parent.
What is “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship”?
  • Plenty of cancellation of removal cases have been denied on the grounds that the applicant have shown that their deportation would cause hardship but that the hardship doesn’t meet the standard of “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.”
  • To meet this standard, you must show that your deportation would cause your child, spouse or parent to suffer a hardship, which would be substantially worse than the hardship normally expected from deportation to an underdeveloped country. Mere economic hardship wouldn’t qualify under this restrictive standard.
  • If you or your loved one is in removal proceeding, contact Law Office of Michael C. Maddux to make an appointment.

FAMILY LAW
  • Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Visitation
  • Restraining Order
  • Spousal Battery

PERSONAL INJURY

Personal injury law allows an injured party to get compensation when someone else’s negligence or intentional act caused the party harm. Here are some of the most common kinds of personal injury cases.

  • Car Accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Slip & Fall
  • Defamation – Libel & Slander
  • Dog Bites
  • Assault & Battery – Intentional Harm

AUTO ACCIDENTS

Car accidents often lead to injuries ranging from whiplash and other soft tissue injuries to more serious, and even fatal injuries. Usually, liability for a car accident is fairly clear and one-sided, and an injured party has the right to be compensated by the at-fault driver.
If you or your loved one was injured in an auto accident, call Law Office of Michael C. Maddux to evaluate your case

If a television law firm has turned down your case , have attorney maddux look at your case. he may take it with no money down to you.