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The estate planning process is highly customizable, which is one of its greatest benefits. One California estate owner might be focused on asset protection or business succession when executing an estate plan, while another is more concerned about advance directives and powers of attorney. For the latter, one important document is a living will, which is typically comprised of several key components and is covered under the state’s Natural Death Act.


A living will is a legal document that often contains a person’s instructions or wishes concerning certain types of medical care, particularly such care that would be intended to extend or preserve life by extraneous measures, such as life support devices or feeding tubes. The following key issues that are usually addressed in a living will:

  • “Do not resuscitate” order
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Instructions for burial
  • Type of life support care the patient wants or does not want

There is additional information that may be included in a living will, such as a list of names and contact numbers for doctors, in case of emergency. If a living will is signed in sound mind, in accordance with state laws, then it is enforceable by law.


In this state, a person wishing to sign a living will must have two valid witnesses. Also, if the person in question is pregnant, the advance directive is invalid, meaning, the doctor may not withhold care that could result in a pregnant woman‘s death, even if she has instructed in a living will for such treatment to be withheld. Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the validity of a living will may seek answers by requesting a meeting with an estate law attorney.

Baby bonding may be a topic with which you are not familiar, especially if you are a new parent. It refers to the time after birth when you and your baby develop a relationship.

Biological mothers often have an easier time bonding with their babies because they have just carried them inside their bodies. But either parent may need more time to bond, which can be difficult if you have to return to work soon after the birth. Still, you should take advantage of any time off you can get to form this bond.


UC Davis Health explains creating a relationship with your child is essential to a healthy and happy long-term family unit. The baby is born ready to bond. It will cry and move in ways that alert you to its needs. Providing for those needs is part of the bonding experience. Having both parents involved in this process is essential to ensuring a strong bond with the baby. It also will help your child as he or she grows and learns to form relationships with others.


While right after birth is the optimal time to bond, it can happen at any time in a child’s life. The most important thing is that it happens. Adoptive parents may not even know their children until they are older. They still have that opportunity to bond, but they need time in which to do it. This is where employers come in. They must offer leave options for new parents regardless of whether the parents gave birth or adopted. Employers should cultivate good family bonds because this will help make happier and more well-adjusted employees.

When an estate plan is executed in California, it is helpful to take time to think about the ultimate goals involved. There are no requirements as to which documents an estate owner must use. The system is designed so that each person can customize a plan to fit individual needs. A particular document that is commonly used for estate planning is a “living will.” 

When people think of wills, they typically think of a document known as a last will and testament. It takes effect upon a person’s death. A living will and a last will and testament are two separate documents that serve specific yet different needs. It is possible to have an estate plan that includes both documents.  


It is important to understand what a living will is for someone to determine if it should be included in the estate planning process. There are several goals that can be accomplished with a living will: 

  • Lists types of medical treatments or end-of-life care that a person wants or does not want 
  • Grants another person power of attorney to make health care decisions on the estate owner’s behalf 
  • Issues a DNR advanced directive, which stands for: Do Not Resuscitate 
  • Includes a POLST (in some states, including California), which means “Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.” 

A living will may or may not include all of these things. It is often referred to as an “advanced directive” because it is a means for a person to make known his or her wishes ahead of time, in case he or she becomes incapacitated or is receiving end-of-life care.  


Yes, a living will may be adapted or updated, providing that the person signing the document is of sound mind and not under duress. It is helpful to discuss one’s goals with an estate planning attorney, who can then make recommendations as to which documents are best suited to help achieve the plan. 

Many California parents think about the possibility of a time when they will no longer be here to care for their loved ones, especially children who are minors. When a child has special needs, such worries are often intensified. One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make, however, is to designate a specific person for a particular role when executing estate plans without first discussing the issue with the person in question.

A parent might reasonably assume that sons and daughters who have no disabilities or special needs will automatically step up to care for a sibling who does if both parents are deceased or have become incapacitated. One mother, in particular, assumed that this would be the case with her son and daughter regarding care of their brother who is autistic and has ADHD. A family dispute arose when the son and daughter both informed the mother that they do not wish to be designated as their brother’s caretakers.


Multiple estate planning documents can help a parent provide for a child with special needs, such as certain types of trusts. Another document that a parent might consider signing is one that designates legal guardianship over a minor child, especially if that child has special needs. To avoid problems as the mother mentioned earlier experienced, it is always best to ask the person one has in mind for guardianship if he or she is willing to take on the role, should the need arise.


It would be disastrous if a person who was designated as a legal guardian or caretaker for a special needs family member were to state that he or she was unaware of the designation and does not wish to assume the role of guardian or caretaker. A person who is preparing his or her California estate plans will want to discuss such issues with any and all people who will be mentioned in the will or other documents. If a legal problem arises, it is helpful to seek support from an experienced estate law attorney.

The average California business owner has worked hard to create a successful company and wants to protect his or her interests now and in the future. It is also natural for business owners to think ahead to map out a plan for how their business assets should be distributed when they die. There are several estate planning tools that can help.  

Planning one’s estate is a highly customizable process. A business owner can incorporate or omit various documents from an estate plan to best fit his or her needs and goals. There are three specific planning tools that are beneficial for protecting business assets.  

Execute a living trust, last will and business succession plan 

Many California business owners create a living trust, which specifies how their business assets are to be distributed after they die. All property, funds or assets placed in a trust are managed by an appointed trustee. A living trust may also help minimize tax burdens on an estate.  

Two other documents that are beneficial for California business owners who are executing estate plans are a last will and testament and a business succession plan. The latter enables a business owner to appoint new ownership of a business upon his or her passing and can include other details, such as who will manage the business, especially if it is a different person from the one who will own it. It is helpful to ask an experienced estate law attorney to review one’s business plan because such an attorney can make recommendations as to which documents would be most beneficial in helping to achieve a particular business owner’s estate planning goals. 

It’s natural, especially as you get older, to think about who you will want to inherit your assets after you die. While you might not particularly like to think about death, it’s an inevitable event for everyone, which is why it’s helpful to understand the importance of preparing a California estate plan. Within your plan, two key documents might be wills and trusts.  

When you execute a last will and testament, you can specify who you want to inherit your property and other assets. If you die without signing a will, your estate is considered intestate. This means that a probate court judge will determine who gets according to state statutes, which may not have the same results as if you yourself had chosen beneficiaries.  

Integral components of a last will and testament 

In addition to listing who you would like to inherit your assets, there are other important issues you can address in a will. For instance, if you have minor children, you can designate a guardian to care for them if you should die or become incapacitated. You can also specify how you want your debts or taxes to be paid.  

Avoid errors by enlisting legal support 

It’s critical to pay attention to detail and to cover all bases when you’re developing an estate plan, particularly regarding your last will and testament. An oversight or error can cause a lot of problems, especially for your loved ones and beneficiaries. At the Law Office of Raoul J. LeClerc, in California, you can seek guidance and support from the start, to ensure that your last will and testament, as well as your whole estate plan, is solid, valid and enforceable.  

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, qualifying employees can use to up to 12 months of unpaid leave to cope with certain health or family situations.

According to the United States Department of Labor, many of the conditions that qualify employees for FMLA leave are serious medical conditions affecting either an employee or an employee’s family member. However, employees can also take FMLA leave when adding a new child to the family.

When can new parents take FMLA leave?

It is very important for parents to bond with a newborn baby. New parents can therefore use FMLA leave for this purpose following the baby’s birth. Both mothers and fathers are eligible to use FMLA leave. New parents can also use FMLA leave for purposes of bonding following the adoption of a child of any age or the placement of a foster child in the employee’s household.

Can expectant parents use FMLA leave prior to the baby’s birth?

Many complications can occur during pregnancy that can result in serious medical conditions. A pregnant employee can take FMLA leave for pregnancy-related incapacity or for prenatal care. An employee whose spouse or partner is pregnant can use FMLA leave to care for a partner with a pregnancy-related incapacity or a serious medical condition related to childbirth.

Are there limitations on using FMLA leave for the birth or placement of a child?

An otherwise qualifying parent who intends to use FMLA leave to bond with a new child must do so within 12 months of the child’s birth or placement.

It is up to the employer to decide whether an employee taking FMLA leave for the birth or placement of a child can use it intermittently or has to take it all at once.

The physical expectations of a full-time or even part-time job can sometimes wear on even the most able-bodied of workers. So what happens in the case of a pregnant worker who perhaps needs a little bit of extra time to rest?

Pregnant workers often wonder whether or not it is okay to take those extra breaks when needed. Fortunately, the answer is yes.

Establishing the need for breaks

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing discusses the rights and obligations of pregnant workers. Under law, pregnancy counts as a medical condition or a disability. This means that it is up to the employer to make accommodations necessary for pregnant workers to continue their work safely and in good health.

First, it is important to establish that pregnant workers need breaks for various reasons. They need to use the restroom more often than non-pregnant employees. They also need to stand, sit, or stretch more often due to the pressure that weight distribution puts on their bodies.

Under The Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers cannot take adverse action against pregnant workers. This includes turning down requests for additional breaks.

How to ask for more breaks

Though it is not a legal requirement to submit requests for more breaks in writing, it is still a good idea to do so. This creates a paper trail, allowing workers to prove in a court of law that they attempted to gain access to extra breaks and did not get them.

This is important in evidence-collecting on the chance that workers must fight for their rights to additional rest, which may happen.

When you have a child in California, you may have certain protections available that allow you to take time off to bond with your infant without having to fear losing your job. The California Family Rights Act is one such protection. It allows you to take a certain amount of time off to connect with your new son or daughter provided your situation meets certain eligibility requirements.

Per the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, you may be eligible to take time off for child bonding if your situation meets the criteria outlined below.

Who is eligible for child bonding

The rules about child bonding outlined by the CFRA apply to you if you work for an employer that maintains a staff of at least five people and worked at least 1,250 hours under that employer within the last year. Furthermore, you must have worked for your employer for at least one year, and you have to have a new child as a result of birth, adoption or foster placement.

How much time off you should expect

The CFRA allows you to take up to 12 weeks of leave within the first year following your child’s birth, adoption or foster arrangement. If you also take pregnancy disability leave, note that the leave allowed by the CFRA comes afterward. However, CRFA leave runs concurrently with any leave you take under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Should you decide to take the leave allowed by the CFRA, note that you do not have to take it all at once. You have the option of taking two shorter leave terms, if preferable.

Your recent pregnancy has made it necessary for you to take time off from your job. The Family and Medical Leave Act grants workers time away from a job to handle certain family situations for up to 12 weeks. However, you might not be sure if FMLA leave will cover you.

According to U.S. News and World Report, whether FMLA will protect your rights depends mainly on the company you work for and the length of time you have spent working for your employer.

The employee size of your workplace

If you work for a business that does not have many employees, you probably will not qualify for FMLA. Federal law dictates that a workplace must have no less than 50 employees for a period of 20 weeks or more in the present or prior year. FMLA does not cover a company that hires less than 50 workers.

Your time as an employee

If you work at a company covered by FMLA, you must have the right work history or FMLA will not protect you. The law requires you to have worked for your employer for at least one year. In addition, you must have completed 1,250 hours for the year that you have worked.

If you work for eight hours in a day, the federal requirement would add up to at least 156 days in a one-year period, though your exact number of days will vary according to factors like overtime. Your number of hours completed, however, is the primary measurement for your eligibility.

Be ready to make your case

Knowing whether you qualify for FMLA can help you decide to pursue leave under this law. You may have to provide a doctor’s medical certification of your condition if your employer asks for it. In the event your employer disputes the length of your work history, you may need documentation of your time working for your employer. The right paperwork could help you prevent an effort by your employer to deny you your rights.

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