News and blog

Death & Taxes: Top Financial Experts Share Crucial Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid Friday, April 27, 2018

When planning for the future, many people forget an essential step in the process. When one dies, many factors come into play immediately. Take care to make good decisions in estate planning so heirs are not left stressed and in trouble. These decisions can have long lasting effects, and should involve all of your key […]

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The Effect of the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Your Existing Estate Plan Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Effective on January 1, 2018, the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act substantially changed estate tax laws. Among other things, the Act increased the estate tax exemptions to $11.2 million per individual ($22.4 million for a family), which may significantly impact existing estate plans. This means that your estate planning documents may no longer accomplish […]

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 – and its effect on Estate Planning Friday, December 29, 2017

Estate Tax Exemptions and Estate Tax. Despite much discussion, the Estate Tax is not repealed. However, the Act increased the Exclusion amount for Estate Tax, Gift Tax and Generation-Skipping Tax from $5,490,000 per person in 2017, to $11,200,000 per individual (or, $22,400,000 for a married couple), starting in 2018. Sunset provisions: the increased exemptions are […]

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Why a Trust Should Always Be Created Before Incapacity Tuesday, September 26, 2017

There is no DO-OVER after Incapacity or Death What happens after the creators of a Trust (a.k.a. the Settlors) approach a point in time when their doctor detects signs of dementia? How long is it before they could be facing testamentary incapacity? Where is the point in time beyond which they can no longer amend […]

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The Importance of a Letter of Instruction to the Trustee Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Your (Testamentary) Word is As Good As the Paper It’s Written On A great rule of thumb in estate planning is to document your wishes, so they actually occur when you are gone. While the law definitely does not support “oral promises” when it comes to real estate, the same could be valid for tangible […]

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Estate Planning Ensures Beneficiaries Know What to Expect Tuesday, September 12, 2017

“That’s Not What He Really Wanted” – a Beneficiary’s Famous First Words Estate administration can be so traumatic. Here is a typical scenario: Parent sets up a trust, then lets it sit in a drawer for twenty years, and completely forgets “who gets what” per the terms of that trust. Meanwhile, on every Holiday gathering […]

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Should Wealth Planning and Estate Planning Be Taught in School? Tuesday, September 5, 2017

One can argue about the practical application in life of learning about meiosis and mitosis, compared to “Wealth Management and Estate Planning 101.” While the former is needed as a means of “mental gymnastics” required for developing the adolescent brain, there is also a strong argument that real life success is impossible without sound knowledge […]

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What’s More Expensive Than an Estate Plan? Regret. Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Estate Planning is one of these tasks that often falls under “discretionary spending,” and because it has the stigma of having to contemplate your own death, it often drops to the bottom of the to-do list. Many families learn the hard way that failure to plan timely, or failure to keep the plan current and […]

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Testamentary Capacity: POLICE LINE – DO NOT CROSS Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The old adage, “He who waits for something good never waits too long,” does not apply in Estate Planning. The topic of testamentary capacity is a very sensitive one, and a fine line to cross. Many times an elder adult can be in good physical shape and carry on a very reasonable conversation, until one […]

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Stay in Control of your Digital Afterlife Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Managing your digital afterlife has become a very relevant trend; even the CA legislator is taking great interest in it. CA Assembly Bill AB-691 entitled, “Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act” is expected to soon be enacted into law, and it provides guidance on settling one’s digital afterlife. It is aimed to clarify […]

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