News and blog

IRS Announces Increase of Estate and Gift Tax Limits for 2018 Friday, October 27, 2017

The  IRS announced that starting on January 1, 2018, the Estate and Gift tax exemption will be increased to $5.6 million per individual. This means that a married couple can pass on $11.2 million worth of assets to their heirs free from federal estate and gift taxes. Also, the Annual gift exclusion amount has been […]

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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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Who Do You Trust? Tuesday, August 8, 2017

“My parents set up a Trust to avoid Probate, but now that they are gone, the Trustee won’t give us a copy of the Trust, and although we have asked for information about the assets, the Trustee doesn’t tell us anything. It’s been almost two years; our parents’ home is still sitting vacant, and we […]

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No Robo-Planning Here Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It is already a settled practice in the Financial Industry that human advisors let automate small accounts and routine back office tasks so that client engagement can be the main focus. But when it comes to planning your estate, Robo-Planning is a bad idea even for the simplest of estates. There is so much human […]

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