Preparing Your Estate Plan | Estate Plan Pros
Social Security Benefits Application

Time Running Out on Valuable Social Security Strategy

It’s a little known fact, but there are hundreds, if not thousands of options for how, and when to claim Social Security benefits.  One of the most valuable strategies for couples, called “file and suspend” will be ending in six months.  If you are 62 or older at the end of 2015 you’ll want to take action now.  For the rest of us – time to look at our retirement portfolio. ...

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Protect your children with this one trust

1 Way to Keep Your Child from Losing Their Inheritance

Financial risks abound in today’s society – from lawsuits to divorce to creditors, your children face increasing financial peril.  So what can you do about it, beyond giving them the card to your insurance guy?  Thankfully, there is one new powerful tool you can use to protect your child’s inheritance. Direct = No protectionMost estate plans are designed to handle the closing costs and...

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Heir Trouble

Heir Trouble: Tips for Preventing Conflict Between Your Children After You’re Gone

Most people I know have at least one horror story of a family conflict over how an estate was handled.  Whether it was the trustee who thought they could do whatever they wanted, or one beneficiary who just wanted to fight with everyone else, and didn’t care if it all burned to the ground, disaster stories are unfortunately all too common.  It might seem strange for an attorney to rail...

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Giving money to one beneficiary and the bill to another

Splitting Benefits and Costs – Unintended Consequences

Blended families face unique challenges that often involve designating particular assets to go to a surviving spouse, and other assets to children.  The trap for the unwary is that estate expenses are usually paid from the residuary beneficiaries.  What that meant for Tom Clancy’s children is that their step-mother got the bulk of the estate, but they got the estate tax bill. As...

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Protect your spouse, your children, and your retirement with an estate plan

Asset Protection for the Rest of Us

It doesn’t matter if you live next to the railroad tracks or the Riviera, you too can have asset protection in your estate plan.  If you search for asset protection on the internet, you’ll come across some unbelievable bald face charlatans explaining how they can set you up with some complex legal documents that will provide “absolute” protection – don’t’ fall into their trap.  You’ll...

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DIY Disasters Require Kings Men to Fix

Another DIY Disaster Ends at California Supreme Court

This week the California Supreme Court did their best to divine the intent of the handwritten will of Irving Duke.  The will he wrote provided for two charities, but only if he and his wife died “at the same moment.”  Mr. Duke survived his wife by some years, and his closest living family members stepped in to claim the estate as the natural heirs at law.  In 1984 Irving Duke, then...

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Blended Family Tips

Living Trust Strategies for Blended Families

Getting remarried can be an exciting time.  After the dust settles, take a moment to consider how your new relationship will impact your children.  If you name your new spouse as a beneficiary on life insurance or retirement, you could be effectively disinheriting your own children.  If you die first, what will your spouse receive, and what will your children receive? These issues...

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There is a conflict between establishing control and establishing responsibility.

Parental Control, Accountability & Estate Planning

Parenting is a constant pull between giving a child the freedom to fail and learn from his or her mistakes, and the exercise of control to protect a child.  Estate planning brings that parenting conundrum to the fore because trusts are uniquely equipped to allow a parent to exercise control long after a parent is gone.  Control over Timing Parents can choose when a child receives...

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Understanding Basis & Capital Gains Taxes

Basis is one of those tax concepts that can really trip people up.  This is true even though homeowners will likely have to think about capital gains while few people will ever have to worry about estate taxes with an exemption amount of $5.43 million in 2015.  The good news is that there are a number of tactics to reduce or eliminate capital gains. Basics of Basis Capital gains taxes...

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Bringing In an Independent Trustee: When and Why

Living Trusts are designed to create a smooth and practically instant transition of control from one trustee to the next. When we talk about creating your living trust, one of the first questions is: who should be your successor trustee? In other words, who should be in charge of the trust in the event that you are incapacitated or have died? Picking a Successor Trustee For most families, the...

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