Blog | Estate Plan Pros
Michael Jackson’s Intent or Opportunists – Court Sends Ex Business Partners Packing

Michael Jackson’s Intent or Opportunists – Court Sends Ex Business Partners Packing

It's 2006, Michael Jackson and his partners are meeting in a hotel.  Jackson promises his partners shares in his company for their loyalty.  Flash forward to today, and the business partners were in court, trying to get their agreement enforced against the estate.The court had no problem sending them home empty-handed.  The problem?  Besides waiting 5 years after Michal...

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Naming A Minor Child as a Beneficiary?  Not so Fast.

Naming A Minor Child as a Beneficiary? Not so Fast.

Planning for worst case scenarios is the reason why we get life insurance in the first place.  But could some simple wording changes on your life insurance beneficiary form make a big difference?  It could make the difference between the court sitting on the money until the child turns 18 instead of the person you trust being able to immediately use those funds for your child’s benefit....

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ABLE Act vs. Special Needs Trusts

Will the ABLE Act Replace Special Needs Trusts Until now, disabled individuals have had very few options to keep money in their control and maintain SSI and Medi-Cal (Medicaid) benefits. With the signing into law of the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE Act by President Obama on December 19, 2014 disabled individuals and their families have an interesting new option available. The...

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Next in line to be a successor trustee?

What To Do When The Current Trustees Become Disabled

Are you next in line to be a trustee for a family member?  Or, your spouse, who has taken care of everything, is suddenly unable to carry on as before.  With proper planning, you should be equipped to take over immediate medical and financial affairs.  This checklist is for you– what you need to do when neither parent is able to continue caring for themselves or each other. First a...

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Will Airs Dirty Laundry

Why A Will Airs Your Dirty Laundry

Ever wonder why you get to hear about all the details around a star’s estate, like Prince?  It can be fascinating, learning the details of family rifts, and of course, who will inherit the mansion.  Don’t be distracted, though, because you could be exposing those same details to the world for your family.  How?With very few exceptions, all court cases, including probate cases, are...

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California Tax Tricks for Seniors

California Tax Tricks for Seniors

Looking for property and income tax breaks?  California has a few options for seniors that could keep money in your pocket. Property Tax DeferralsWhile not eliminating property taxes, seniors 62 and older or disabled individuals with an annual household income of $35,500 or less can apply for postponement of property taxes on their home.  Information and the application are posted on...

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Three Essential Steps To Creating An Effective Estate Plan

Three Essential Steps To Creating An Effective Estate Plan

Have you ever left the house and discovered that you've forgotten your keys... or your wallet... or that important report sitting on your counter? Sometimes you discover that vital missing thing too late to go back and get it, requiring some last minute scramble. An effective estate plan can help your family avoid costly last minute scrambles. Create...

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Rogue Social Worker Trumped By Dad’s Health Care Directive

Rogue Social Worker Trumped By Dad’s Health Care Directive

Imagine having the court system force treatment on you that you don’t want.  That was the situation in which Dick Magney found himself.Dick Magney was in the hospital and receiving palliative care.  He and his doctor and his wife had agreed that further medical procedures would be counterproductive, when a Social Worker showed up with a temporary treatment order from the court,...

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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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