Many folks have joined the “Do it Yourself” (“DIY”) movement. The thinking is why pay someone to do something that can just as easily be done on your own? For some tasks, like painting your home or adding a deck, with a little education and the right tools, you may be able to do a decent job and save a few bucks. Even if you mess up, in many cases, you may be able to fix the problem, or, if beyond your skill level bring in an expert to fix the problem. In any event, you will typically be … [Read more...] about Things to Consider Before Deciding To Do Your Estate Plan on Your Own
Both parts of the title to this article are a myth. First, most people don’t have a will. In fact, it’s estimated that only about half of all Americans have a will; even though, all need one. Second, a will is not all that anyone needs. A will only handles a few matters and is only effective when you’re dead. There’s much more to estate planning than that. For example, a will almost guarantees probate, except for modest estates. Probate is expensive, especially in California. Probate … [Read more...] about MYTH: Most People Have a Will and that’s All They Need
Estate planning is one of the most complicated and emotionally stressful legal ventures you will embark on during your lifetime. Whether you have a modest estate, or a multi-million dollar estate, the concept is the same, and the decisions that have to be made are the same. Who will receive your estate assets? How and when will they receive them? How can I avoid probate and estate taxes? These are all common questions and concerns when estate planning. No one wants to risk making a mistake in … [Read more...] about The Error Free Estate Plan–Is It Possible?
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have issued a challenge to the world’s most wealthy individuals. They asked their fellow billionaires to make a pledge to give away at least half of their wealth to charitable causes over the course of their lives.Both of these gentlemen have practiced what they preach. Gates has donated billions of dollars to his own Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett has given Berkshire Hathaway stock valued at over $10 billion to the Gates Foundation. Though few have … [Read more...] about What is a Donor Advised Fund?
Even in the best of times, people are always looking for ways to save money. During tough economic times, like we have seen over the past few years, finding ways to save money becomes even more important. Cutting corners when it comes to estate planning, however, is not one of the ways you want use to cut costs. Let’s look at just one example of the bad estate planning that results when trying to save money by “do-it-yourself” estate planning. Imagine the following scenario. You decide that … [Read more...] about Transferring Ownership of Your Home–An Example of Bad Estate Planning
Parenting is a tough job--and it doesn’t end when your children become adults. Tough decisions are still required to be made even after your children reach adulthood, like how to treat them under the terms of your estate plan. As a parent, your first reaction is likely that you will treat them all the same, of course! This is, unfortunately, a common estate planning mistake. None of your children are the same so why must they be treated the same in your estate plan? This does not mean you should … [Read more...] about Common Estate Planning Mistakes: Treating All Children the Same
What happens when an individual who is not licensed to practice law provides advice to an individual – does the quality of the advice matter if the individual is unlicensed? This article by my friend and colleague Tereina Stidd, an estate planning attorney, explores the unauthorized practice of law and how it damages the legal profession. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about The Other Side of the Unauthorized Practice of Law
During times of high stress such as tragedy or emergency, we tend to feel helpless. This article by my friend and colleague Tereina Stidd, an estate planning attorney, explores how a comprehensive estate plan helps reduce anxiety in uncertain times. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Reduces Stress During High Anxiety Times
Advisors often include irrevocable trusts as part of a comprehensive estate plan to achieve both tax and non-tax goals. The use of irrevocable trusts can cause apprehension because of the perception that irrevocable trusts are inflexible in changing circumstances. This article, by my friend and colleague Tereina Stidd, explores how the use of a trust protector may provide flexibility in an irrevocable trust to address these concerns. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Changing “Irrevocable” Trusts Through Use of a Trust Protector
Irrevocable Trusts are often included as part of a comprehensive estate plan and are usually established many years before they pay out or terminate. These trusts didn’t change with changes in beneficiary circumstances or with evolving legislation, but now they can. My friend and colleague Steve Hartnett, an estate planning expert, has some good insights on the decanting procss. This article explores how. … [Read more...] about Changing “Irrevocable” Trusts Through Decanting