Blog | Estate Plan Pros
Transferring New Assets Into Your Existing Trust

Transferring New Assets Into Your Existing Trust

What happens to your trust when you open a new bank account or buy a new home?  Many people worry that a change in their assets will require a trust amendment.  The good news: it doesn’t, but there are two simple things you need to do when you get rid of an asset or acquire a new one. Keep Your Trust Exhibit Up To DateYour trust exhibit does two important things: first, it shows your...

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Breaking The Taboo Surrounding The End Of Life Conversation

Breaking The Taboo Surrounding The End Of Life Conversation

I remember that awkward moment as a kid when my parents decided I was old enough to have “that” talk.  Now, as an adult, there’s the “other” conversation that looms – all the decisions around end-of-life care.Debbie Reslock recalls when the doctors asked her if her mom would prefer to be in the hospital or at home for the end, “I remember how angry I was, unprepared to make this decision and...

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Avoid sinking your spouse in a swamp of legal and financial mess by being prepared ahead of time

Avoid Sinking Your Spouse In A Swamp Of Legal And Financial Mess By Being Prepared Ahead Of Time

Because estate planning has so many shiny tools, it’s easy to get distracted with the details – which tool is better?  Which one do I need?  Here is the bottom line to focus on: will my surviving spouse or children be ok, or will they be sunk in a sea of legal processes, paperwork, and costs that could have been avoided?  Taking the time to prepare your family for the future will...

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Give Your Trust an Annual Inspection

Give Your Trust an Annual 10 Point Checkup

This is the check engine light on your estate plan.  I’m going to give you ten quick and easy things everyone can check off on their estate plan.  1. BanksTrusts avoid probate because they are funded with your assets, and yes, that includes your bank accounts.  It is important that your successor trustee be able to instantly take on your responsibilities if you should become...

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Trusts are the "swiss army knife" tool of the estate planning world

Who Needs a Living Trust

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked ‘which is better, a will or a trust’ I could buy a lot of coffee.  Trusts have become popular in the last 50 years or so, while wills have been around for a long, long time.  For people who love history like me, check out “Wills of our Founding Fathers”Which is better, a will or a trust?  That’s like asking which is better, a hammer...

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A Conversation Worth Having: 7 Tips for Discussing Estate Planning With Your Children

Having a conversation with your adult children about your estate planning choices can be emotionally challenging, not to mention the host of potentially difficult practical decisions to be made. But the benefits of having a conversation now can make the difference between continued family harmony, or years of legal wrangling and broken relationships after you are gone. Here are a few tips to...

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For Seniors Downsizing, Props 60 and 90 Offer Relief

For Seniors Downsizing, Props 60 and 90 Offer Relief

In California, Prop 13 famously keeps your property tax low, making it potentially an expensive move to sell a home you’ve had for years for a new home, which will be taxed at the current fair market value.  But for seniors over 55, Propositions 60 and 90 allow you to take your old home's tax value with you to your new home.Proposition 60 lets you buy a new home of equal or lesser value in...

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Presidential Tycoons, Estate Planning and You

Presidential Tycoons, Estate Planning and You

What does the election of Donald J. Trump have to do with your estate plan?  According to a recent national survey conducted by Wealth Counsel, Inc.,in fact, nearly half of all respondents believed that estate planning is only for the super-rich and most people don’t need it.  This misperception causes families to:·         Not have a named...

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Forecasting Estate Tax Changes: Presidential Candidates Stand on Estate Taxes

Forecasting Estate Tax Changes: Presidential Candidates Stand on Estate Taxes

As with any presidential election, there are many serious issues at stake, to say nothing of the personality clash this election cycle.  I don’t rate estate taxes as the issue to swing my vote, but for advising clients about where the estate tax may be headed in the future, it is useful to look at the positions of the two candidates. For many years estate taxes have been a political...

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Will an Unfunded Trust Leave Your Children Stranded?

Will an Unfunded Trust Leave Your Children Stranded?

I don’t know if you’ve ever run out of gas driving down the road.  If you have, I’ll bet it was a pretty memorable experience.  The closest I’ve come to experiencing that is the time I was driving in some back roads with my younger siblings and blew a tire.  Which wouldn’t have been a problem except that we didn’t have a car jack.  Being miles from any help, no cell reception...

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Five Hidden Dangers Your Family Faces Without An Estate Plan

Five Hidden Dangers Your Family Faces Without An Estate Plan

“I won’t care when I’m gone.”  I hear that frequently in my estate planning practice and its true.  But some things might be happening to the people you care about that you might not appreciate.  Here are five critical dangers you and your family face by not having a plan in place. 1. The Judge is In Charge if You Become IncapacitatedThe rule is pretty simple, someone has to be in...

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Bad Advice From Social Security Staff Could Cost You

Claiming your social security benefits should be an easy process – but it isn’t.  What’s worse is that the people in charge of explaining your options to you do a horrible job according to the GAO (U.S. Government Accountability Office), potentially costing you thousands in benefits. When You Claim Social Security MattersSenate Special Committee on Aging committee co-chair Senator Susan...

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Top 4 Estate Planning Myths

Top 4 Estate Planning Myths

In India, a there is a story of a group of blind men who wanted to understand what an elephant is.  So they finally encountered a mahout who would let them touch an elephant.  The first touched the tail, the second a leg, the third a tusk, and the fourth the trunk.  As they went on their way, they talked about their impressions of an elephant.  Not surprisingly, their...

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Homeowners, Save with These Tax Tips

Sacramento Homeowners, Save on Taxes with These Tricks

If you feel like Tom Hanks in the “Money Pit” maybe these ideas will cheer your up.  After all, who can resist saving on taxes?  Then again, if you do have a house like the “Money Pit” you’ll need a lot more help than these few tips.  Save Your Remodel ReceiptsWhen you put on a new roof, install a sprinkler system, or re-do the master bathroom, save those receipts.  All those...

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How to Create Your Rulebook – an Estate Plan that Has Your Voice

How to Create Your Rulebook – an Estate Plan that Has Your Voice

My grandmother was an excellent tailor, creating many garments for our family and others.  They were always made well, fit well, and expressed her love and creativity for each of us.  The shirts I buy off the rack will never be able to compete with my shirts from grandma.  An estate plan is like a good shirt.  A good shirt is cut to fit you, uses fabrics and colors that suit...

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