Unlike a will, "A living revocable trust serves as far more than just where assets are to go upon your death and it does that in an efficient way by also covering you while you are alive. A will does not protect you if you become ill and incapacitated. But a trust will determine who will take care of you and pay your bills." A key difference between a will and a living revocable trust is that the living trust has an incapacity clause that states who you want to sign for your affairs in the event you are unable to do so for yourself.

Generally, most people choose to execute a revocable trust, however, certain circumstances may call for an irrevocable trust. The key difference between a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust is that an irrevocable trust cannot be modified or terminated without permission of the beneficiary.  Either way, it's important to contact an attorney to set yours up immediately. To get started, you can call Daneshvar Law at (310)474-5802 or e-mail us at info@DaneshvarLaw.com.



AuthorHasti Daneshvar

It's been a long time since I've blawged, but yes ladies and gentlemen, Daneshvar Law is back. With that, let's talk about one of my favorite topics... ESTATE PLANNING.

By leaving assets for your children in a trust, you are able to insulate assets from creditor claims and divorce proceedings. The money held in trusts is off-limits to the beneficiary’s creditors and from a divorcing spouse during divorce proceedings. For example, if your child opens up a credit card or takes out a loan, the bank will not be able to attach the assets in his or her trust.

Also, if your child gets divorced, his or her spouse cannot touch the trust property. If a child received all trust assets on reaching a specified age and kept the assets solely in his or her name, almost all states would not consider this property marital property. Thus, the spouse would not be entitled to any of the trust assets. However, if your child puts the money in joint tenancy with his or her spouse, the assets would be considered marital property in most states, and the divorce court could give the spouse a percentage of the assets.

AuthorHasti Daneshvar
A growing family requires a reassessment of one's personal finances for good reason. According to 2011 figures from the Department of Agriculture, the estimated annual cost to raise a child is $12,290 to $14,320 for an average-income family. That's why it's crucial to make sure you take care of your family's financial and legal needs. Here's a quick to do list for new parents to use with the birth of each child. 1. Obtain a Social Security Number for your child Get your child's Social Security number as soon as possible because it will entitle you to several tax benefits that will help with some of your new child-rearing costs. It will also allow you to open up a bank account for them. 2. Review Employer Benefits & Paychecks It's time to increase the number of allowances you check off on your W-4 form at work. This will increase the amount of your take-home pay in response to the increased deductions you'll receive for the child. Don't forget to add your child to your health insurance plan, and review possible plan changes. Check to see if your pediatrician is on your current plan, and if so, check to see what's covered. You may also what to sign up or increase the amount you put into a flexible spending account (FSA) for health care if it's available at work. With an FSA, pre-tax dollars are set aside from your paycheck (up to $3,000 for medical and $5,000 for child care). You withdraw funds tax free from the accounts as you incur qualified expenses. 3. Add your Child as a Beneficiary and Increase your Insurance Increase your life insurance to provide for the future needs of the child in your absence. Of course, don't forget to also add your child as a beneficiary. It's also a good idea to increase disability insurance. 4. Create or Update Your Will A will allows you to designate a guardian for your new child in your will in the event that you and your spouse die. You also may want the will to establish a trust to manage estate assets for your child should both of you die before your child is old enough to manage the inherited assets. 5. Start Saving for College Start saving money for college. Consider looking into a 529 Plan. A 529 Plan is a tax advantaged education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs.
AuthorLaw Offices of Hasti Daneshvar
Most employers are trying to do right by their workers and offer decent wages and benefits. But offering health coverage can be costly. The Affordable Care Act is changing that by reducing the cost for small businesses.

Employers with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent workers may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35 percent of premium costs (up to 25 percent for non-profits) to offset the cost of providing health coverage. Additional tax credits will be available in the future.

And starting in 2014, businesses with 100 or fewer employees will be able to find coverage in Affordable Insurance Exchanges.

CHECK OUT The Top 5 Things Small Business Owners Should Know About the Affordable Care Act for more information.
AuthorLaw Offices of Hasti Daneshvar
On November 25, 2009, the Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE) issued an Opinion Letter clarifying how and when a California employer may deduct for a full and partial day absence from an exempt salaried employee’s accrued paid time off (vacation and sick leave bank). Pursuant to California law, an exempt employee must receive his or her full salary for any week in which the employee performs any work without regard to the number of days, or hours worked. DLSE Manual § 51.6.8-51.6.9 and 29 CFR §541.602(a). Thus, under California law, it is illegal to dock the pay of an exempt employee for a partial day absence. However, under both federal and California law, the employer is permitted to dock the pay of an exempt salaried employee when the employee is absent from work for one or more full days for personal reasons other than sickness, or disability (29 CFR § 541.602(b)(1); DLSE Manual §51.6,14,3.) and for absences of one or more full days caused by sickness, or disability (including work-related accidents), if the deduction is made from a bona fide plan, practice, or policy of providing compensation for such sickness or disability (29 CFR § 541.602(b)(2); DLSE Manual §

California employers may deduct time for a partial day absence from an exempt employee’s accrued paid time off, if the Company's vacation policy requires its employees use their vacation hours for illness when the employee does not have any more accrued sick days. According to the DSLE Opinion Letter, while a partial day absence cannot be deducted from an exempt employee’s salary, such an absence may be deducted from accrued paid time off, accrued vacation time, or fringe benefits without affecting the employee’s status as a salaried exempt from overtime employee.

Please note that an employer is prohibited from docking a salaried exempt employee’s pay for a partial day absence even if the employee has no accrued leave, and doing so may lead either the court or the Labor Commissioner to conclude that the employee is not exempt from overtime.

Here's a summary to help you out...

-Employees exempt from the overtime requirements of California law under the Professional, Administrative or Executive exemptions must be paid a salary. This means the employee must receive the same amount of pay regardless of the number of hours worked each week.
-If an otherwise exempt employee performs no work during a full workweek, the employer does not have to pay the employee any salary.
-If the employee does not get sick days, you cannot deduct anything from the salary if the employee takes a sick day.
-If an otherwise exempt salaried employee absents himself or herself for a full day or more on personal business, such absence may be deducted on a pro rata basis from the salary owed.
-If an exempt employee performs any work during the work day, no deduction may be made from the salary of the employee as a result of what would otherwise be a “partial day absence.”
-If the employer has a PTO policy (as opposed to a sick leave policy), and the exempt employee exhausts the PTO, the employer can deduct the salary for partial day absences as long as the absence is at least four hours.
-No deduction may be made from the salary of an exempt employee for absences occasioned by sickness or accident unless the absence for sickness or accident exceeds the weekly period.
-Deductions may be made for absences in increments of full working day occasioned by sickness or disability (including industrial accidents) if the deduction is made in accordance with a bona fide plan, policy or practice of providing full compensation for loss of salary occasioned by both sickness and disability and the employee has exhausted his or her leave under the policy. In other words, an employer cannot deduct for sick days unless it first gives the employee some sick days to exhaust and the employee in fact exhausts those sick days.
-No Deduction From The Employee’s Salary May Be Made For Absences Occasioned By The Employer Or By The Operating Requirements Of The Business if the absence is less than a week. (i.e., if the employer shuts down the office for two days). If the employee is ready, willing and able to work, deductions may not be made for the time when work is not available. If the office closure is a full week, the employer does not have to pay employees for that week.

You can also read the Opinion letter here.

As always, please call Daneshvar Law at (323) 850-5801 or email us at info@DaneshvarLaw.com to help you comply with current labor and employment laws.
AuthorLaw Offices of Hasti Daneshvar
Ring in the new year with an updated handbook because there are a plethora of new employment laws which have been passed. Daneshvar Law is offering special rates to businesses in need of handbooks. You can contact us at (323) 850-5801 for more information.

Here's a quick summary of what's changed.

S.B. 459 imposes a fine -- from $5000 to $25,000 -- on employers that "willfully" misclassify someone as an independent contractor.

S.B. 299 requires employers with five or more employees to maintain group health coverage for employees on a pregnancy disability leave (PDL), for the four-month duration of the PDL. This new law will have an impact for all employers. For employers with 50 or more employees, the requirement to maintain health benefits was capped at 12 weeks during a pregnancy leave covered by the FMLA. And, smaller employers had no obligation to maintain health coverage during a PDL.

A.B. 22 prohibits employers, excluding financial institutions, from obtaining consumer credit reports on applicants or employees, except in limited circumstances. The law does not bar employers from conducting criminal background checks or checking references, or from doing credit checks where required by law.

A.B. 240 permits employees, in proceedings before the Labor Commissioner for underpayment of minimum wages, to recover liquidated damages of twice the amount of wages that were unpaid, plus interest. Previously, employees could recover liquidated damages only in court actions.

A.B. 592 adds new language to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) specifying that it is an unlawful employment practice "to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any right provided under" the CFRA.

A.B. 887 revises the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include gender, gender identity, and gender expression in the list of protected characteristics (along with race, sex, age, disability, etc.). Gender expression is defined as a "person's gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth."

A.B. 1236 prohibits the state, counties, or cities from requiring private employers to use the federal government's E-Verify system. Note that, for most employers, the use of E-Verify is voluntary.

A.B. 1396, which takes effect January 2013, imposes substantial new obligations on employers that pay employees on commission.

S.B. 272 clarifies the organ/bone marrow donor paid leave law that took effect on January 1, 2011. The law now specifies that the paid leave periods under the existing law (30 days for organ donors and five days for bone marrow donors) are measured in business days and that employers must maintain an employee's health benefits during the leave.

S.B. 559 expands the FEHA and Unruh Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information, similar to federal GINA (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act). Note that existing California law already barred employers from subjecting applicants or employees to genetic testing or from discriminating based on genetic characteristics.

In addition to the above California law changes, there may be additional Federal actions which will be announced at the beginning of the year. Also still to be decided this year is the Brinker decision affecting Meal and Rest Periods.
AuthorLaw Offices of Hasti Daneshvar
A bill sponsored by the Transgender Law Center and Equality California was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill, Vital Statistics Modernization Act, simplifies changing ones birth certificate for transgender Californians. Another bill, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, was also signed by the governor and it provides further protection from discrimination for California residents who identify as transgender.

The Vital Statistics Modernization Act has been regarded as a key step to reducing the difficulty that transgender residents face with documents required by the state. The process for a person looking to change his or her gender on a birth certificate is streamlined. According to the only documents necessary to make the change is a note from a medical professional stating that the person has "undergone 'clinically appropriate treatment'". The Executive Director of the sponsor organization Transgender Law Center stated, "Having identity documents that match who we truly are is critical to our ability to work, travel and thrive." The difficulty to travel around the U.S. or internationally by plane is especially difficult for a person who has changed genders due to the scrutiny faced at security checkpoints.

The other bill changed the definitions under the law to bolster the protections against discrimination for transgender men and women. The Transgender Law Center said that these changes "provide[s] clarity to those who are victims of unlawful discrimination as well as for business owners, employers and other entities required to comply with the anti-discrimination protections..." Contact Daneshvar Law at (323)850-5801 if you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of your gender or sexual orientation.
AuthorLaw Offices of Hasti Daneshvar