With the divorce rate hovering around 50 percent in the United States, blended families have become the norm in today's society. If you have just created a blended family, or are planning to do so in the near future, there are a number of changes that you may need to make to your existing estate plan in order to reflect your new status as a blended family. Although each family is unique, the following are possible options to consider. Adding Your Spouse to Titles. Titles to real property, … [Read more...] about What Changes Do I Need to Make to My Estate Plan When I Create a Blended Family?
Trusts have become popular estate planning tools. Trusts come in many forms and can be constructed to accomplish specific goals in many cases. A basic trust consists of a trustor, a trustee, at least one beneficiary and assets that are used to fund the trust. Beyond the basics, trusts then fall into one of two broad categories — revocable and irrevocable. Although there are numerous other decisions that must be made when you create a trust, deciding whether your trust will be revocable or … [Read more...] about Do I Need a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust?
For many families, an estate plan based upon a revocable living trust may be all that is needed to protect their assets from death taxes. However, for folks with larger estates, it may make sense to look for ways to transfer assets in a tax-free manner. Though there is a gift tax in place there are ways to facilitate tax-free giving if you take the appropriate actions. One such strategy involves zeroing out a grantor retained annuity trust, often abbreviated as a GRAT. How does it work? After … [Read more...] about GRAT-itude for Advanced Tax-Saving Planning Option
Everyone knows that an estate plan can ensure your chosen beneficiaries receive the right inheritance. But did you know there are other benefits too? Here’s five things a good estate plan can for you. Protect Against Disability – No, your estate plan can’t prevent disability from striking but it can certainly ensure that you and your estate are protected if it happens. Using an Advanced Health Care Directive and General Durable Power of Attorney can ensure that your medical wishes are … [Read more...] about Five Lesser Known Benefits of Good Estate Planning
If you’re like most people, you’ve heard the term, “living will,” but have some questions about it. What is a living will? Why do I need one? Is it the same as a will? What’s it all matter anyway? In general, the term "living will" refers to a document in which a person can set forth his or her wishes relating to future medical care, in particular, end-of-life care. It is different than a Last Will and Testament wherein you set forth your instructions for your estate following your death. … [Read more...] about What’s a Living Will?
Effective, January 1, 2012, California law now has authorized the formation of two new types of corporate entities: Benefit Corporations and Flexible Purpose Corporations. Traditional corporations, which are owned by their shareholders, will generally operate for the maximum benefit of those shareholders. Officers and directors whose actions arguably vary from that goal may find themselves in hot water with the shareholders for whom they work. For those who wanted to create an entity that … [Read more...] about Doing Well By Doing Good: New California Laws Expand the Realm of Corporate Entities
Incapacity planning is an estate planning need that is often overlooked. Many people assume that they will never have a medical emergency, so they decide not to plan ahead. Take a look at the following information, to better understand incapacity planning. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to discuss your planning options, contact an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney. Staying in Control with Incapacity Planning Incapacity planning makes it possible for you to have … [Read more...] about What Will You Do Without Incapacity Planning?
People often overlook important estate planning considerations. After taking an inventory of all your assets and readying them for distribution to your loved ones, it would be easy to overlook something that is not normally thought of as an asset, the family pet. This is one of the reasons why it is a good idea to engage the services of an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney. You only have one estate to plan, but an experienced estate planning lawyer prepares many estate plans … [Read more...] about Don't Forget Fido and Boots in Your Estate Plan: Pet Planning
Release of the income caps for the conversion of traditional IRA assets to Roth IRA assets has lead to a scurry of conversions. The catch is that if you took a tax deduction for your contributions to the IRA, you must now pay taxes on any monies you now transfer into a Roth IRA. The Roth is very popular and, generally, potentially a great deal because Roth IRA assets grow tax free and are distributed tax free. In addition, if you don’t need the money, you can keep the assets in the Roth for … [Read more...] about Should I Convert to a Roth IRA?
If you have an elderly loved one who is living on a fixed income, and also has regular monthly medical expenses, those expenses may be adding up quickly. If your loved one is lucky enough to have private healthcare coverage, then he or she is better off than many elderly Americans. Unfortunately, many of America’s elderly struggle with both the rising cost of healthcare and the increased need for medical services as a result of the natural aging process. Two government programs--Medicaid (called … [Read more...] about Help with Healthcare Costs — Medicaid (aka Medi-Cal) and Medicare