skip to Main Content

Estate Planning Summer Checklist

We get busy this time of year as families get ready for summer vacations. Here is an Estate Planning Checklist to review before your trip. 1. Living Trust.  Do you have one? Is it up to date? Successor Trustees. Are your successor trustees (the people who will manage your money and assets if you become incapacitated or pass away) still the ones you want? Or does your living trust name your neighbor…

Read More

Thank Congress if You Made Big Gifts in 2012

Hank Wittenberg has a great article on estateplanning.com on why those of you who did year end planning in 2012 made the right choice, even though Congress extended the generous gift and estate tax exclusions with the American Taxpayer Relief Act. The tax act signed into law by President Obama last week provided some very good estate planning provisions. Surprisingly, I have already read and heard complaints from other estate planning attorneys…

Read More

How the Lifetime Bypass Trust Works: Attention CPAs

Many of my clients are interested in the Lifetime Bypass Trust. And some are vetting the concept through their CPAs. Here is an email (with the names removed) I have sent to several CPAs to clarify this amazing but simple planning strategy. The structure we are proposing is a lifetime bypass trust. The concept is the same as used with an A/B trust, or bypass trust. When a bypass trust is created…

Read More

Gift Now and Avoid Estate Tax

If you have a net worth of $1M or more (or as a couple, $2M or more), and act now, you could forever remove the threat of estate tax. But if you don’t act by the end of the year, you will miss a historic opportunity. The 2012 estate tax exclusion and gift tax exclusion are both $5,120,000 - way higher than they have ever been. But unless Congress and the President…

Read More

Death Tax Resurrection

The Wall Street Journal editors have written a short piece on the death tax. In the swirl of the election, no one is talking about the estate tax (well, we have been), and they should. They start with this: For all the worry in Washington and Wall Street about the January tax cliff, almost no one is paying attention to the impending reincarnation of the death tax. This is one more tax…

Read More

If It’s Too Good To Be True, It Is – Tax Fraud

I've been an attorney for almost two decades, and I am always amazed, but never surprised, at how gullible some people, even supposedly smart people, like doctors and engineers, can be when it comes to estate planning and tax planning. In U.S. v. Vallone, et al the founders and promoters of a complicated estate planning scheme were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States and were sentenced to prison…

Read More

8. You Can Give Your Children Divorce and Asset Protection

This is part 8 in my series, Estate Planning – What You Need to Know. Part 8 - You Can Give Your Children Divorce and Asset Protection. Of the thousands of clients I’ve worked with, most know how they want to distribute their assets when they die:  For married couples, it’s usually to the surviving spouse and then in equal shares to their children.  For a divorced client or widow, it’s usually…

Read More

7. Funding Your Revocable Living Trust

This is part 7 in my series, Estate Planning – What You Need to Know. Part 7 - Funding Your Revocable Living Trust Now to get the benefit of your revocable living trust, you have to transfer your assets to your revocable living trust. This is called “funding your trust.” We tell our clients to think of their trust as a big container with instructions. The instructions will control how the assets…

Read More

3. What if You Don’t Have an Estate Plan?

Here is Part 3 of my series, Estate Planning - What You Need to Know. What if You Don't Have an Estate Plan? Simply put, if you don’t have a will or a revocable living trust, then when you die, your assets will go according to state law found in the probate code. If you live in California it goes like this: if you are married, your assets will go to your…

Read More

You Need Life Insurance to Protect Your Family

If you have young children, and you are not independently wealthy, you must get a big term life insurance policy. If you died tomorrow, would your spouse and children be able to make ends meet comfortably, or would they have to scrape and claw their way? If you have young children, chances are term life insurance will not cost you very much because you are relatively young and healthy. You should call…

Read More
Load More
Back To Top