Married couples in which one of the spouses is not a U.S. citizen must include special provisions in their estate plans or face potentially onerous tax consequences. That special planning is a qualified domestic trust, commonly abbreviated as a QDOT trust. QDOT trusts are used when an American citizen wants to transfer assets to his or her non-citizen spouse. Assets passed in a QDOT have the benefit of the unlimited marital deduction so a citizen spouse can pass as much as he or she wants to … [Read more...] about Special Planning Considerations for Non-Citizen Spouses
Think about all the details you know about your child and his or her life. As the parent of a child with special needs, there are some things that only you know. And, if you weren’t there, that information would be lost. What impact would that have on your child’s life? A care plan can ensure that all the important information about your child, down to the smallest detail, is communicated to his or her guardian or trustee. Often done in the form of a Letter of Intent, a care plan is simply a … [Read more...] about Special Needs Children Need Special Planning
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 is … [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?
As we age, the cost of medical care almost universally increases. Even in good health, we simply need more care as a rule. If our health is not good, medical care can cost a small fortune. If you, or a loved one, requires nursing home care, the monthly cost can easily exceed $7,000. This often leaves people between the proverbial rock and a hard place. If you have a multi-million dollar estate then you may be able to pay for costs such as this out of pocket. If you are living below the poverty … [Read more...] about Medi-Cal Planning — Start Now
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 over the last … [Read more...] about What is a Donor Advised Fund?
If one of your loved ones has a substance abuse problem, an inheritance may make the addiction worse or even kill him or her. At the least, the inheritance is likely to be squandered. For anyone who has an addiction such as drugs or alcohol, it is best to pass the inheritance in trust, not outright. How Outright Inheritances Work Outright gifts pass into your beneficiary’s individual name. They are within your beneficiary’s full control, to be spent any way he deems appropriate. This may … [Read more...] about The Addicted Beneficiary: A Problem and a Solution
A well constructed estate plang will not only addresses the distribution of your assets, but can also nominate a guardian for minor children. While there are legalities to consider, it’s important to remember that you are also determining the quality of your children’s lives if you die before they reach the age of 18. Many parents understandably have a difficult time imagining their children without them. But they need to consider many factors for guardianship, including: Similar … [Read more...] about Who Should Be Your Child's Guardian?
When it comes to Medi-Cal planning, there’s a lot of misinformation that circulates. Here are a few common myths we have heard: Medicare will cover my nursing home expenses, so I don’t need to worry about Medi-Cal. This is not true – - Medicare only covers very few, limited long term care expenses. So, unless you have long-term care insurance or can afford to pay for your care out-of-pocket, you’ll need to find out about Medi-Cal and other public benefits. In order to qualify for Medi-Cal, … [Read more...] about Confronting Medi-Cal Myths