About Michael D. Larsen

I am an attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area who specializes in the areas of wills, estates and trusts, business law, and real estate transactions. I frequently work with French people, French-speakers, and Francophiles.

Are letters of intent binding?

Many people in the community who lost homes in Coffey Park, Fountaingrove, Mark West Springs, Wikiup and elsewhere are continuing to work on rebuilding their homes.  Builders sometimes ask people to sign a letter of intent as part of this process.  The builder may want you to sign a letter of intent to show that you are serious about working with them. Is a letter of intent nonbinding ?  It may surprise you to hear that a letter of intent can sometimes be binding.  That would be unusual, and it would probably happen when there is a lot of detail in the letter of intent about what the parties are agreeing to.  Even if a letter of intent is not [...]

By |2018-02-27T14:18:54-08:00February 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|

How to Work with Mortgage Broker

When you’re shopping for a mortgage, you can go directly to multiple lenders to find out what rate you may be offered, or you can work with a mortgage broker. Because they act as concierges who find you a number of quotes at once and do the application paperwork for you, mortgage brokers can help secure you an affordable loan at a competitive rate. Still, working with a mortgage broker has its advantages and disadvantages, so you should know how the process works before you commit to using a mortgage broker. The following are four things you should keep in mind to understand how to work with mortgage brokers. 1. Find a broker you can trust. Ask for referrals and [...]

By |2017-03-04T13:23:27-08:00March 4th, 2017|Real Estate|

Why Is Title Insurance Important?

When you purchase real estate, you will almost always be expected to secure title insurance in order to obtain a mortgage. Banks require title insurance to protect their investment, and you should do the same. Title insurance protects you against undiscovered or undisclosed defects in the title not found before a purchase of real estate is finalized. Essentially, title insurers do a thorough background search on the property and its title to see if there are any liens, conflicting claims to ownership, or other problems that would impact a transfer of property to you. Once the insurance is issued, any problems with the title are revealed. Title insurance protects you against any conflicting title claims and any financial losses related [...]

By |2018-08-10T14:19:22-07:00March 4th, 2017|Real Estate|

5 Key Sonoma County Real Estate Laws Both Buyers and Sellers Must Know Before Completing a Transaction

With the current real estate boom in Sonoma County, it’s no surprise that real estate transactions are being scrutinized more than ever before. With property values skyrocketing and concerns of abuse, the government has enforced Bay Area real estate laws particularly strictly. Even a small oversight can lead to costly mistakes for anyone involved in a real estate transaction. Whether you are buying or selling property, you must fully understand the Sonoma County real estate laws that will apply to your transaction. The following are five key Sonoma County real estate laws to keep in mind.   There is no such thing as a “standard” Sonoma County real estate contract. All real estate contracts in Sonoma County are different. While [...]

By |2018-08-10T14:19:22-07:00February 17th, 2017|Real Estate|

Your Guide to Choosing a Sonoma County Estate Attorney

  Estate planning serves a vital role in providing for your loved ones. That’s why you need to make sure to execute your estate plan flawlessly. When you work with the right Sonoma County estate attorney, crafting the right custom estate plan for your needs becomes simple. But how do you choose the best Sonoma County estate lawyer? Ultimately, choosing a lawyer remains an incredibly personal process. You need to choose someone who makes you feel comfortable and that you can trust. Still, there are four key questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a Sonoma County estate attorney to ensure that you find the right fit.   Does this attorney have the right education and local Sonoma County [...]

By |2018-08-10T14:19:22-07:00February 17th, 2017|Estates|

Selling California Property through Probate

When real estate and other valuable property are left to loved ones, it often is not just given to a single named beneficiary. Many parents leave a home or other property to all children to be divided equally. During probate, the executor of an estate commonly will sell this property and divide the profits among beneficiaries. Selling California property through probate is a bit different than selling a home you own outright, which you must keep in mind when listing and negotiating a sale. The process of selling California property through probate is a bit more complicated than selling property under any other circumstances. Any property under probate must first be appraised by the probate referee. This value generally establishes [...]

By |2018-08-10T14:19:22-07:00December 9th, 2016|Probate, Real Estate|

California Business Owner? Here’s What You Need to Know about Your Property

Owning a small business is a challenge. California business owners constantly face financial difficulties, legal challenges, and logistical demands-- and that’s before you even worry about the day-to-day details of running a small business. Often, your commercial property remains a low priority. So long as it basically serves your needs, it’s good enough, right? Wrong. Property is a major asset, and whether you own or rent your real estate, equipment, and other property, there are many legal issues that you need to carefully address to avoid its becoming a major liability. The following are five key legal issues all California business owners should know about their property. 1. Leases and contracts of sale should be in the business’s name, not [...]

By |2018-08-10T14:19:22-07:00December 9th, 2016|Business|

How To Fill Out A Will In California

A will is an important legal document that every adult should have. Your will determines what happens to your possessions after you pass away, which ultimately determines how you can continue to take care of your loved ones after your death. If you’re like the average American, however, you may be putting off writing a will until it feels relevant. This could end with you waiting until it’s too late. It’s time to learn how to fill out a will in California and start the process today for the sake of everyone you care about most. In California, there is a simple, statutory will form available from the California State Bar that you can fill out in your home. Once [...]

By |2016-12-02T06:41:37-08:00December 2nd, 2016|Trusts And Wills|

7 Reasons Why You Need a Real Estate Attorney

Every year, millions of real estate transactions take place. Many people assume that these contracts are fairly standard and that they don’t require the expertise of a real estate attorney, but unfortunately, this often leads to unexpected legal problems. If you are planning on buying or selling property, you need to hire a real estate lawyer to protect your interests and ensure that your deal has the outcome you expect. The following are seven reasons you need a real estate attorney— even when you may think you don’t. 1. Real estate contracts are not as standardized as you may think. Far too many people assume that real estate contracts are standard instruments that cannot be changed and that they already [...]

By |2018-08-10T14:19:22-07:00December 2nd, 2016|Real Estate|

5 California Property And Real Estate Laws Everyone Should Know

  If you own real estate property in California (or you are in the process of acquiring property), many laws will dictate your rights and responsibilities as a landowner. We suggest you get familiar with California's real estate laws and how they affect you as an owner. Whether you own only your personal residence or a  number of properties as a landlord, you must know the California property and real estate laws that dictate your actions when buying, selling, renting, or owning such land. While there's certainly an importance to know all of them, we do highly recommend you learn the real estate laws we have featured below. The following are five key California property and real estate laws everyone [...]

By |2018-08-10T14:19:22-07:00October 29th, 2016|Real Estate|
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