Creating a comprehensive estate plan is one of the most important things you will do during your lifetime. When done properly, your estate plan will ensure that your loved ones are well provided for in the event of your untimely death as well as distribute your assets pursuant to your wishes. If not executed properly, it can wreak havoc with your finances and fail to provide the protection for your loved ones that it was intended to do. Given the importance of your estate plan, the first step in … [Read more...] about Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney
Asset Protection Planning
If you own a small business, make sure you include your interest in the business in your estate plan. Even if you plan to leave all your interest in the business to a family member, failing to structure the transfer of your interest in the business in the right way could subject the value of the interest to estate or gift taxes. With proper planning, you may be able to minimize or eliminate estate or gift taxes by using one of the numerous business succession options. Sale of Your Business: … [Read more...] about Estate Planning: Essential for Small Business Owners
A trust creates a special relationship between people and property that the trust owns. The person who created the trust, called the trustor, transfers ownership of his or her property to the trust as the new owner. Trustors are also sometimes referred to as settlors and trust makers. The trustor also states who shall receive the benefit of that property, a person known as a beneficiary, and who shall manage the property for the trust, known as the trustee. But can a trustor also be a … [Read more...] about Trustors, Trustees and Beneficiaries – The Same Person?
Trusts are often an important tool used in the creation of an estate plan given the versatility and variety offered by a trust. At their core, all trusts are the same. You, as the trustor, must name at least one beneficiary, appoint a trustee to manage trust assets and designate assets that you will use to fund the trust. Beyond the basics, trust can be as complicated, or as simple, as your needs require. The first decision you must make is whether to create a revocable or an irrevocable … [Read more...] about Trusts — Irrevocable Versus Revocable
At long last, California has rolled out its ABLE accounts. Authorized by a federal law entitled the Achieving a Better Life Experience (or ABLE) Act, it is designed to make available additional funds to persons with disabilities who receive public benefits. The ABLE Act is administered at the state level and California finally began formally recognizing ABLE accounts in late December. ABLE accounts are like Section 529 plans. But, while 529 plans are for education expenses, ABLE accounts … [Read more...] about California Finally Approves ABLE Accounts
Periodically, sit down and reevaluate your need for life insurance. It’s often an essential part of an estate plan. Life insurance can be used to: Replace income Fund a business buy – sell agreement Create an estate Pay federal estate taxes Equalize an estate Provide an inheritance for a child not in the family business General life insurance tips: Only pay premiums that won’t take food off your table. If you are insurance poor, you’ll end up dropping it. Term … [Read more...] about Do You Need Life Insurance?
Trusts have been around for hundreds of years; specifically, the living trust gained popularity in the 1970s as a probate avoidance technique. Today, living trusts are often used as a foundational document in estate plans. We've found that many folks have both questions and misconceptions about the living trust; so, in this three part series, we answer your living trust questions. Does everyone need a living trust? Most folks would likely benefit from having a living trust; however, if … [Read more...] about Answers To Your Living Trust Questions (3 of 3)
Parents, grandparents and other family members seeking to assist other family members (often children and grandchildren) with the high cost of college education will commonly turn to Education Savings Accounts to put away money for this purpose. These accounts are often referred to as “529 accounts”, which is a reference to the section of the Internal Revenue Code that authorizes these tax-advantaged accounts. When properly established, 529 accounts grow on a tax-deferred basis (like an … [Read more...] about NEW CALIFORNIA LAW HELPS PERSONS WHO ESTABLISHED EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS AND THEN NEED MEDI-CAL LONG TERM CARE ASSISTANCE
In recent years, the amount that can be left to loved ones without having to pay the so-called "death tax" has risen to levels most Americans will never reach. For example, in 2018, the estate tax, which is often referred to as the "death tax" does not apply to persons who die this year with less than $11.18 million dollars. For married couples, effective planning can double that amount. This rise in the estate tax exemption has led many to wrongly conclude that estate planning is no longer … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Considerations Besides Death Taxes
If you’re like most people, you would love to wrap your lifetime gifts or inheritance for your children in the protective cloth of asset protection. Just like the Kennedys and Rockefellers, you can protect the assets you worked so hard for from your child’s divorcing spouse, bankruptcy, business failure, medical crisis, auto accident lawsuit, a slip and fall on his or her property, and other liability exposures. This is asset protection you can’t get for yourself without technical and … [Read more...] about Asset Protection Planning for Your Family Members