Preparing Your Estate Plan | Estate Plan Pros

How Should You Take Title to Your House?

Buying a new home is always exciting and busy.  Moving plans, measuring for curtains, furniture, the list seems endless.  What is really endless is the amount of paperwork involved!  But when it comes time to make the important decision of how you should take title to your new home your agent and the escrow office will typically refer you to an attorney or your CPA.  It’s...

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7 Unique Benefits of a Trust vs A Will

I’m often asked what the difference between a will and a trust is. This post isn’t about the technical differences, but about the actual benefits a trust offers over a will. 1. A trust avoids probate A properly funded trust keeps an estate from the long and potentially expensive court process of probate. 2. A trust is private Unlike wills, which are a matter of public record, trusts are...

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Leaving a Legacy? Tips on Charitable Giving

One of my recent posts discussed supporting your values in the way you leave your money to your children.  Supporting your values in your estate plan may include a specific gift to a charity. Overall, Americans gave $316.23 billion to charity in 2012.  When you plan to give here are some tips on giving for good and giving wisely. Give for the Good Including one or more of the causes and charities...

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Creative Estate Planning Options for Parents

As parents we all have visions of what our children will become.  Preparing estate plans for families with young children presents the interesting opportunity to discuss the dreams and visions parents have for their children.  Guiding parents through their different options is an enjoyable exercise in seeing life through their eyes, and participating in ensuring their vision for their...

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Did you accidentally disinherit your spouse?

It is actually easier to do than you might think.  Recently a client of mine came in with an older trust that they wanted to update with their new distribution plan.  In reviewing their trust I discovered that their trust was set up to distribute half of the estate at the death of the first spouse – meaning the surviving spouse would immediately lose half of everything when he or she lost their...

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The difference between a will and a trust: the straight scoop

Given that trusts are more expensive than a will, many people want to know what the difference is, and if they really “need” a trust.  After all, who wants to spend money if they don’t have to? In California, where I practice, the dividing line for the usefulness of a trust is defined by what can pass to your heirs directly without having to go through probate.  That number is currently $150,000...

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Top Four Reasons Estate Plans Fail

Estate plans fail when there is additional cost and delay to the loved one receiving their inheritance.  Catastrophic failure is when the loved one receives none of the intended benefit.  You need to know why some plans fail, so you can avoid these pitfalls. 1. No assets transferred to the trust Trusts avoid probate because the trust owns the assets.  People understand the desirability of...

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Three Things To Know Before You Talk To Your Estate Planning Attorney

Truthfully, you don’t need to have a final answer for any of these three things.  Part of our jobs as estate planning attorneys is to discuss with client’s their options, and help them evaluate the pros and cons of each choice.  But thinking through each of these three things will prepare you for a productive discussion with your attorney.  In the end, having thought through these three simple...

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