One of your primary estate planning goals may be to ensure that you leave behind sufficient assets to provide for your loved ones when you are gone. You may also wish to have some continued influence over your loved ones, even in your absence. Let's explore how you can use a trust to control the assets you gift. Trust Basics A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, referred to as a Trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can be … [Read more...] about How Can I Control the Assets I Gift?
Many who have yet to create an estate plan tell themselves “When I become rich and famous I’ll do it because then I will really need one”. Surprisingly, many of the rich and famous still don’t get around to it, creating a legal nightmare when they die. Consider the following short list of rich and famous persons who failed to leave behind an effective estate plan. Abraham Lincoln: Despite being a lawyer himself, even the 16th President of the United States died intestate. Jimi Hendrix: … [Read more...] about Dont End Up Rich, Famous, and Intestate
If you are one of the millions of Americans who has failed to create an estate plan, you are officially signed up for the government estate plan. When you fail to execute as much as a Last Will and Testament or Living Trust prior to your death, your estate will be handled according to the government’s rules and laws since you are considered to have died intestate. So how does the government estate plan work? For starters, except for the most modest estates, it is likely that everything you … [Read more...] about The Government Estate Plan for Intestacy
A charitable trust is an excellent way to accomplish a number of estate planning goals all at once. If giving to a cause dear to you heart is important to you, then creating a trust allows you to do so even after you are gone. In addition, you can structure a trust to provide for both a charity and non-charitable beneficiaries by creating a lead or a remainder split interest trust. Both lead and remainder trusts may also offer tax and probate avoidance benefits as well. Whether you decide on a … [Read more...] about Charitable Trusts — Lead or Remainder?
Given the wide variety of estate planning goals that can be furthered using a trust, there is a very good chance that you will choose to include a trust agreement in your estate plan at some point. With that in mind, the staff at the Northern California Center for Estate Planning & Elder Law discuss what to consider when creating a trust. Creating a Trust Have a clearly defined trust purpose. Because trusts have evolved so much, there is now a specialized trust to help meet almost any … [Read more...] about What to Consider When Creating a Trust
If you are working on an incapacity plan, you may wish to consider the use of a revocable living trust. Like its counterpart, the irrevocable living trust, a revocable living trust takes effect during your lifetime. Although a revocable living trust does not offer the same asset protection or estate tax benefits as certain irrevocable trusts, it does allow you the benefit of being able to make changes to the trust. A revocable living trust can also be an extremely attractive incapacity planning … [Read more...] about Living Trusts and Incapacity Planning
If you have been fortunate enough to be in a position during your lifetime to donate to charitable causes, then you may wish to continue doing so long after your death. Just as you make plans to provide for your family members and loved ones after your death, you can include charitable giving in your estate plan as well. A thorough consultation with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney is, of course, necessary in order to incorporate your charity into your estate plan; however, … [Read more...] about Estate Planning and Charitable Giving — Key Points
We are happy to report that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still able to deliver quality legal services and to serve our community with their legal needs. We also are doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing facial coverings, disinfecting our office, providing hand sanitizer to all visitors, practicing social distancing, and offering telephonic and video conferencing options. While we navigate our way through this unprecedented era, we will be operating with the above … [Read more...] about Important Notice Regarding COVID-19
In previous newsletters, we have discussed both so-called “529 accounts”, which are a type of tax-efficient education savings accounts and ABLE accounts, which are a relatively new type of account that can be established to provide additional resources for persons receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. While each account is for a different purpose, they do share some similar features. Due to a recent law change, it is now possible to make limited transfers from existing 529 … [Read more...] about Interaction between Education Savings (“529”) Accounts and ABLE Accounts
Dying without a will or trust is called dying “intestate;” and, the intestacy laws of your state of residence, at your death, will determine who inherits from you and in what percentages. If you die with a well constructed and comprehensive will or trust plan, you get to decide who benefits from your estate. Typically, state intestacy laws don’t match decedents’ wishes. Furthermore, if you die with assets in more than one state, especially real estate, your assets would be subject to two … [Read more...] about What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will or Trust?