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Dear Counselor: Don't let your rights go up in smoke

I am a resident in a condominium complex.  The complex has a common area that is open for residents to reserve for various occasions (birthday parties, club meetings, etc.).  I have held a few small meetings in support of the statewide proposition to legalize recreational use of marijuana.  We pass out some literature and discuss how to advocate for the proposition.  Recently, I have received a request from the condominium association asking that I conduct my meetings someplace else.  Apparently, they have received complaints from some of the families in the complex.  I suspect that the "complaints" have more to do with a few members of the condo board's disapproving of my point of view than anything else.  What are my rights here?

Dear Counselor: Citizenship has its privileges upon death

I am a United States citizen living in Davis, but my wife and daughter are both resident aliens, "green card" holders of many years.  I intend to leave my property to my wife as part of my estate plan, but I am worried about the tax consequences.  I have read that my wife and my daughter will not get the same tax treatment as they would if they were citizens.  Should I be worried?  How should I plan?

New Medi-Cal Recovery Laws for the New Year

Last year, I read your column about the steps that a person has to take to safeguard an estate from recovery from Medi-Cal. But I have recently seen that there are some changes being made to the law. Can you tell me how these changes may affect someone like me? I am in my early seventies, own my own home, have a moderate amount of savings. I may need skilled nursing at some point, but I do not know when. I have two kids and a couple of grandchildren and would like to leave something behind for them. Do I need to do anything under the new law?

Dear Counselor: Is a living trust misstep worth suing over?

My father passed away a couple of years ago, and my mother died recently. They had a living trust, and my brother is the successor trustee. My brother's management of the trust seems to be going well, and for the most part, I trust him. But we recently clashed over how he treated an investment in the estate. I told him to dump the investment as soon as possible, but he was adamant about hanging on to it. Now, it has lost money, and we have argued about the loss. Since it was he who wanted to hang onto it and not me, I thought he should take greater responsibility for the loss. Even though I didn't want to, I said that I would go to a lawyer at one point. My brother told me that he had "proof on tape" that I approved of what he was doing. What should I do about the situation? I didn't approve of what he did with the investment, but I do recall some conversations in which he tried to convince me what he was doing made sense. Can he use those recorded conversations? If he has that on tape, how will that affect my case?

Dear Counselor: Be cautious if you're considering annuities

I am a senior and widower currently living in my own home. Even though I have managed pretty well for several years, my health is deteriorating. I will likely require skilled nursing care at some point in the next few years. I read your column last fall about Medi-Cal planning and have taken steps to protect my home from any future Medi-Cal estate recovery. But I still have other investments that would make me ineligible for Medi-Cal because my assets exceed the $2,000 limit. I have heard that it might make sense for me to buy annuities with those investments so that I can convert those cash assets to a stream of income. Is that right?

Dear Counselor: Don't get SLAPPed around

A developer has proposed an atrocious plan for a vacant piece of property not far from where I live.  Although I have never really protested much of anything in my life, I really feel like I should speak out about this.  A friend, however, warned me that my speaking out could ensnare me in a slander lawsuit by the developer that could cost me a lot of money.  Should I be concerned?

Dear Counselor: What are a grandparent's legal rights?

Question: My wife and I have two beautiful grandchildren that we love very much. After my son's divorce, he and the grandchildren stayed with us. But my son and I had an argument recently, and he moved out. We speak occasionally, but he always avoids bringing the grandchildren to us. Do my wife and I have any rights as grandparents to visit our grandchildren?

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