Person in charge of caring for property left to a minor under the Uniform Transfers or Uniform Gifts to Minors Act.


Right of a surviving spouse to receive or enjoy a percentage of the deceased spouse’s property if the spouse dies without a will or estate plan, or if the will or estate plan attempts to disinherit the spouse without a valid premarital or post marital agreement permitting the spouse to be disinherited. In California, this is 1/3 of the entire estate.


Person or legal entity to whom money or a debt is owed.

Counseling Pre-Marital

Many couples go to couples’ counseling before making a final decision to marry, making sure their values, goals and priorities are in line, and to learn how to communicate better. If you are not sure if you have found “the one”, exploring your options and feelings with a therapist, whether it’s an individual therapist or couples’ counselor, may be a good investment.


A modern term for child custody which implies a cooperative style of parenting for parents who are no longer married or living together but who wish to maintain a good relationship for the sake of their children.


Agreement, generally in writing, between two or more people or legal entities. Each entity promises to do something in exchange for the promises made in the contract.


Person appointed by a court to manage the finances and affairs of a mentally incompetent person.

Conditional gift

Gift which is only to be made if certain conditions are met. Example Grandpa can specify that you will inherit grandpa’s estate only if you are married when he dies.

Common Law Marriage

Parties who are living together as if they are married, but who have never had a legal marriage ceremony. California does not recognize common law marriages, but does, under certain circumstances, recognize palimony.
Marvin Case

Community property

California’s method of division of property in the event of a divorce or for valuing an estate. California’s community property law basically includes as “community property” all assets and debts and income acquired during a marriage, before permanent separation. Exclusions include, but are not limited to, premarital property, inheritances, gifts from family or friends to just one spouse, student loans.


a document which amends an existing will.

Child visitation rights

Rights that award visitation to the non custodial parent, caregiver, or guardian. Generally, biological parents have the right to see their children, whether it’s 50% of the time in their physical custody or whether it’s a supervised visit at a correctional facility. It’s generally a question of amount of time and where that time is spent.

Child visitation

The amount of time, and the schedule, which a child spends with each parent. The more modern term is “parenting plan”, since a parent isn’t really a “visitor” with his or her child. Visitation falls under the designation of physical custody, and isn’t impacted by legal custody (decision-making power).

Child support

The obligation for a periodic payment made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent, caregiver or guardian for the support and care of a child. Child support in California is broken down into 2 categories the monthly amount which one parent pays the other each month, and child support “add-ons”, i.e., work-related childcare, uninsured medical bills, and lessons, camp and activities for a child.

Child’s Trust

All property you leave to a child in a trust is established and managed under the terms of the trust.

You are able to specify the trustee’s power and select the age the beneficiary must reach before the trust property is turned over.

This trust allows property to be held legally separate from the other Children’s property.


For purposes of planning your estate, your children include your biological and adopted children. For children born out of wedlock, paternity must be proved or the children must be legally acknowledged to be the child of the parent(s).

Child custody

The legal designation of who is authorized to make decisions about a child’s health, education and welfare, as well as where he or she lives. Custody is broken down into categories legal custody means decision making power, and physical custody is where a child lives, and how he or she spends time with parents or other custodians, often called a Parenting Plan.

Charitable Trust

Trust which leaves money or property to a charity. Often results in income tax or estate tax savings for the grantor (person giving the money or property).

Charitable Deduction

All gifts left to a tax-exempt charitable organization are exempt from federal tax.

California Probate Code Section 21610

Share of Omitted Spouse

Except as provided in Section 21611, if a decedent fails to provide in a testamentary instrument will for the decedent’s surviving spouse who married the decedent after the execution of all of the decedent’s testamentary instruments, the omitted spouse shall receive a share in the decedent’s estate consisting of the following property in the estate:

The one-half of the community property that belongs to the decedent under Section 100.
The one-half of the quasi-community property that belongs to the decedent under Section 101.
A share of the separate property of the decedent equal in value to that which the spouse would have received if the decedent had died without having executed a testamentary instrument, but in no event is the share to be more than one-half of the value of the separate property in the estate.