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Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer (But She Had a Living Trust) – Now What?

For whatever reason, every year we tend to get a lot of new trust administration clients in November and December. Most people know that if their parent or grandparent had a living trust, they may be able to avoid probate. However, most people don't know what is involved in a trust administration. We've prepared a guide outlining the basic steps to administer a trust.

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Practical Asset Protection – Part 2 Homestead Exemption

Part 2 - Homestead Exemption The California Homestead Exemption, like in most states, is intended to protect a certain amount of homeowner's equity from creditors. The California homestead exemption amount is $75,000 for individual homeowners and $100,000 if more than one family member lives in the home. The homestead exemption amount is $175,000 for those 65 or older, those who are disabled or those with very low income. California has two types…

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Practical Asset Protection – Part 1

This post is the first in a series on Practical Asset Protection. First, the two basic rules of asset protection. Rule #1 of Asset Protection - Don't Do Asset Protection if you are in a lawsuit or if you think a lawsuit is coming. Asset protection only works, if it works, if you plan way way before you even have a clue a claim may be filed against you. Otherwise, its a…

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Best Bet – Invest In Yourself

Andy Kessler, a former hedge-fund manager,  wrote in the Wall Street Journal today, Private Startups, Where Investor Dollars Often Go to Die, about how almost all investments in startups fail, because almost all start-ups fail. Just because you can invest [in startups] doesn't mean you should . . . Once you're allowed to invest in private startups, my advice is: don't. Success is much harder than you might think. Kessler's advice is more…

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The Middle Class is Not Dying – It’s Changing

Steven Pressfield has written a wonderful post about a yet unnoticed, but soon to be seismic shift in the American economy and sense of work and purpose. Maybe I’m delusional, but I think a sea-change is taking place right here, right now. I mean a good change. It’s below the radar. The government has nothing to do with it. The government doesn’t even know it’s going on. What is this change? It’s…

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2014 Estate Tax and Gift Tax Exclusion Amounts

The "permanent" estate and gift tax exclusion amounts from the American Taxpayer Relief Act are indexed each year for inflation. The IRS just released its 2014 inflation adjusted numbers.  The 2014 estate tax and gift tax exclusion amounts are: Estate Tax $5,340,000 Gift Tax $5,340,000 Generation Skipping Tax $5,340,000 Annual Gift Tax Exclusion $14,000

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El Dorado Musical Theater – Peter Pan

Sacramento is truly one of the most livable places in the country, certainly in California. Great weather. Close to San Francisco without the stress of the Bay Area. Close to Tahoe without the freezing winters. And best of all, a great place to raise a family. Just up the hill from Sacramento is the foothill community of El Dorado Hills. I enjoy being an El Dorado Hills estate planning attorney because, like…

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So You Want To Start a Business

This is for those of you thinking about going out on your own - whether to start a business or to become a freelance independent contractor. There is a no more noble endeavor. However, a few things to consider before you take the leap: 1. If the success of your business requires you to find investors. Consider another way. 2. If your new business will succeed only if you make a big…

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Get Your Portability

The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) made "portability" permanent - well, as permanent as anything can be while Congress is still in session. Under the new law, the applicable exclusion amount for estate tax, gift tax and generation skipping tax is $5,000,000, indexed for inflation. This is the amount you can die with or the total amount you can gift during your lifetime without an estate tax or a gift tax. The…

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What You Want in Your Living Trust

The estate and gift tax was changed in a big way by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA). The applicable exclusion amount, the amount you could gift during your lifetime and the amount you could die with before estate taxes, has been a moving target the last two decades. ATRA made the applicable exclusion amount "permanent." "Permanent" at least until Congress votes to change it. The new applicable exclusion amount…

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