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Estate Planning

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What is the Probate Process Like?


When a family member passes away, there are many legal steps that the surviving members must take to settle the person’s final affairs. In most cases, a family member is appointed in the person’s will to serve as administrator of the probate estate. The family member will be the one to administer the estate.  If there was no will, a family member might need to petition the court to be appointed to administer the estate.

Not knowing what to do or what may happen during the probate process can be overwhelming.
Read more . . .


Monday, March 11, 2019

Estate Planning Documents You Must Have


What estate planning documents are essential to protect my heirs?


The topic of estate planning often elicits much confusion and uncertainty.  Some of us have likely come to believe that only the elderly or the ultra-wealthy need an estate plan.  Others recognize the importance of an estate plan, but may find themselves nonetheless putting off the task of creating one year after year.  Failing to create an estate plan can leave your heirs in a vulnerable position.  With no estate plan in place, the courts would be forced to divide your assets per state law, which may leave some loved ones out and will cost your heirs in taxes and fees.
Read more . . .


Thursday, March 7, 2019

What is a HIPAA Authorization?


No one likes thinking about becoming incapacitated. The sad fact is, many people do find themselves unable to make their own medical decisions. Without proper incapacity planning, including an up-to-date HIPAA authorization, it can be impossible for your loved ones to get access to your medical records and get you the treatments that you need. As


Read more . . .


Friday, February 15, 2019

Pay Attention to Your State Estate Tax Exemption


One of the advantages afforded to taxpayers in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is the increase in the federal estate tax exemption. The TCJA increased the federal estate tax exemption. It also indexed it for future inflation. In 2019, the federal estate tax exemption for individuals is $11.4 million ($22.


Read more . . .


Friday, February 8, 2019

Understanding AB Trusts


Are AB trusts still a solid estate planning tool for married couples?

An AB trust is a joint trust created by a married couple with the goal of minimizing estate taxes.  AB trusts are unique in that the trust will divide into two when the first spouse passes away.  Assets from both spouses will be placed into the trust and the trust will name a beneficiary, or multiple beneficiaries, who can be anyone besides the other spouse.  Trust A is known as the survivor’s trust or Marital Trust, while Trust B is the decedent’s trust or Bypass Trust.  AB trusts have become less common in recent years due to some changing estate tax laws, but under some circumstances, they still hold an important purpose in


Read more . . .


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Estate Planning Resolutions for the New Year


Why is it important to update my estate plan every few years?


The New Year offers a fresh start for all of us. It represents a clean slate, and for many the start of the new year is the time to create goals.  By outlining a few resolutions for 2019, you can work to ensure this new year becomes everything you want it to be.  People of all ages should consider incorporating estate planning into their New Year’s resolutions.  Whether you are retired or just starting off in the working world, you could benefit from making or updating your estate plan.
Read more . . .


Thursday, December 20, 2018

It May Be Time to Update Your Estate Plan


What life changes might require a change to your estate plan?

Fewer than half of all Americans have an estate plan in place.  If you are among the half that has taken the time to create an estate plan, then this information is relevant to you. While making an estate plan is a critical step towards protecting your future, your plans for the future cannot end there. Your estate plan will at times need to be updated and revised. Our Read more . . .


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Talking To Your Family About Your Estate Plan


How can I bring up the topic of estate planning to my loved ones?

You’ve taken the vital step of creating an estate plan, but now it is time to talk to your family about your last wishes.  Broaching the subject of estate planning with your loved ones can be daunting. After all, estate planning involves delicate subjects like who will receive what assets and with whom you have entrusted the care of your minor children.  Below is a look at some tips on how you can approach the discussion of Read more . . .


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Can a Spouse Contest a Medical Power of Attorney?


Anyone can contest a Medical Power of Attorney, but the question is whether the person would succeed in contesting your wishes. Everyone has the right to make decisions related to their future medical care, including appointing a trusted person to act as their agent if they are unable to make decisions or enforce prior decisions for themselves. Therefore, if your Medical Power of Attorney meets all state laws, including the California Health Care Decisions Law, your spouse should not be able to contest your decisions.

Working with an experienced Read more . . .


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Does the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affect Your Tax Savings Plan?


One of the goals of an effective estate plan is to decrease or eliminate taxes for your heirs. When Congress passed the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), there was a lot of discussion about various elements of the TCJA and how it impacted the average worker.  However, there was not as much discussion about whether the TCJA impacted estate planning. As with any new law related to taxes, it is important to review your tax savings plan with your Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

California Children Could Benefit from Tax Laws on Inherited Property

What properties are eligible for a tax-free transfer in California?

California currently boasts several tax laws that could greatly benefit children who inherit property from their parents. State laws are protecting children from tax increases on inherited homes, which is thought to be impacting the availability of housing in the state. The California tax break, which was passed in 1986, allows parents to transfer their primary residence to their children. The transferred home will not need to be reassessed for property tax reasons. This law, particularly in the state of California where so many houses are held in families for generations, could save children potentially tens of thousands of dollars.


Read more . . .


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