Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category

Estate Planning: Everything was fine…until it wasn’t

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Matthew Hart column logoBy Matthew Hart, Esq.

When people typically think of Wills and Trust Attorneys they think of death, taxes and all of the unavoidable situations. What I find surprising is, they rarely think of what would happen if they lost capacity. A simple picture to paint is a husband and wife who own a house and have 2.5 children. In that scenario both the husband and wife are owners on the house and both signed on the dotted line for the loan to buy the house.

Imagine if the husband lost capacity, perhaps an accident at work or a car accident on the way to the son’s baseball game after work. If the wife wants to do anything with the house such as sell it to move closer to family for support during a tough time with an incapacitated husband or even if she wanted to refinance to lower the rate during a difficult financial time, how can she do it? Both spouses signed for the loan therefore both signatures are required, but the husband has lost capacity.

That is why Estate Planning is needed. A simple, inexpensive Durable Power of Attorney would allow the wife to sign for the husband for financial matters when he has lost capacity. Next month I will dive deeper into what a Durable Power of Attorney is and how it can be used for good…and bad.

Matthew Hart is a California Licensed Attorney who is an Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Specialist certified by the State Bar of California. He can be reached at 925-754-2000 or www.MatthewHartLaw.com and he has offices in Antioch and Walnut Creek.

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Why do I need estate planning?

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Matthew Hart column logoBy Matthew Hart, Esq.

Why do I need to meet with an Estate Planning Attorney? I get asked this question frequently by adult of all ages. There are two very important phases of your life. During these phases you will not have control over your money or health decisions. Therefore, it is very important to plan for these phases and that is where an Estate Planning Attorney comes in. The Estate Planning Attorney puts on paper who you want to make decisions for you when you cannot be in control.

The first phase can occur while you’re alive but have lost capacity. Losing capacity may be for a relatively short time such as after a car accident where you might be hospitalized for a few months and not able to care for yourself. Losing capacity may be permanent; the most typical situation described would be having Alzheimer’s or Dementia which is commonly associated with old age.

However, I have encountered younger people who have had traumatic brain injuries and other permanent debilitating health conditions which struck while they were in the prime of their life. The second phase is at your death, at the risk of stating the obvious you have no control over your money upon death. I will discuss next month how to plan for the first phase, incapacity during your lifetime.

Matthew Hart is a California Licensed Attorney who is an Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Specialist certified by the State Bar of California. He can be reached at 925-754-2000 or www.MatthewHartLaw.com and he has offices in Antioch and Walnut Creek.

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Estate Planning: Who is Matthew M. Hart?

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Matthew Hart column logoBy Matthew Hart, J.D.

Greetings readers, my name is Matthew Hart and I am starting a monthly column in the Antioch Herald talking about all things regarding Wills, Trusts, Probate and the Law. I will take the opportunity in this first column to introduce myself and offer a little background about who I am.

I am an Antioch native. I have been married to my lovely wife Dr. Theresa Hart for almost 25 years and we have one daughter, Rebekah, who is 20. 

Although I have lived in Antioch my whole life, I commuted to San Francisco for 20 years, for the first part of my career.  In 2008, I was blessed to be able to open my own law practice here, in Antioch.

I am a Certified Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Specialist by the State Bar of California. This specialization is distinguished by the fact that out of 182,000 active attorneys in California, only 984 are currently Certified Legal Specialists in the area of Estate Law.

Over the next several months, I will be writing a series of columns to cover the different areas of Estate Planning. Join me, next month to begin learning what you need to know in order to protect you and your family.

Matthew Hart is a California Licensed Attorney who is an Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Specialist certified by the State Bar of California.  He has offices in Antioch and Walnut Creek and can be reached at either 925-754-2000 or www.MatthewHartLaw.com.

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Understanding the legal aspect of foreclosures

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

By Pat Forte, Attorney

A foreclosure is a legal process by which the lender tries to recover the balance of a loan by selling the asset used as collateral for the loan. If the lender is a mortgage company and that asset is your home, you need to take care of the problem right away.

There are various ways of dealing with foreclosures, and you need an attorney who knows the options available and will help you choose the most a suitable solution.

Once a foreclosure sale takes place, it is too late to do anything. The home is lost. Make sure you act before it is too late. The filing of a bankruptcy case will stop the foreclosure of your real estate.

– A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may only postpone the foreclosure temporarily.

– A Chapter 13 will stop the foreclosure indefinitely as long as you start fresh by making payments to the mortgage company and payments to the Chapter 13 trustee.

– The Chapter 13 plan payment will allow you to bring current all mortgage arrearages over a three- to five-year period.

Pat Forte is an attorney in Antioch. Contact him at (925) 757-3328.

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