Estate Planning | Estate Plan Pros

A Tale of Caution Involving a Holographic Will

My dad always said that wisdom is learning from other people’s mistakes – it’s cheaper than learning from your own mistakes.  Here is a classic example to learn from: the estate of Estelle Elsa Manwell, from El Dorado County.  Ms. Manwell was well to do – according to court documents she owned real estate in Contra Costa and El Dorado County worth $1,238,848. Ms. Manwell must have known...

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5 Types of Living Trusts You Need to Know About

5 Types of Living Trusts You Need to Know About

Not all living trusts are the same.  And I’m not talking about quality either, though that is a major factor too.  I’m talking about the difference between minivans, pickups, and sports cars.  There are five major types of trusts that we use every day in our practice for different situations. Probate Avoidance TrustThis is the basic, direct distribution trust that is the typical...

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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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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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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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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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Gold Medal Winning Routine for Estate Planning

Watching Usain Bolt cross the finish line for a third consecutive gold medal for the 100m sprint or seeing Michael Phelps add to his amazing gold medal collection is part of what makes the Olympics so much fun.  Each of these athletes has dedicated a huge chunk of their lives to be able to compete on that world stage, to perform for that one moment in time when it matters.  What we see...

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Why I Love Estate Planning - Going Beyond Avoiding Probate And Taxes

A lot of estate planning material you see out there focuses on avoiding the big expenses – taxes and probate fees.  But what makes me excited about estate planning is working with people who truly care about their family, and want to ensure their success long after they are gone.  For these individuals, the money is only part of the picture; their real concern is the well-being of their...

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Don’t Let Your Kids Blow Your Estate Fighting Each Other

Don’t Let Your Kids Blow Your Estate Fighting Each Other

Kids fight.  And when emotions and money fuel the fight, it can get ugly real fast, and stay that way for a long time.  Oddly enough, there is a bit of old speech making wisdom that can make a big difference in reducing or eliminating future conflict between your children. Tell Them What You’re Going to Tell ThemLetting children know ahead of time what the plan is can do wonders for...

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