Probate | 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...

Read more...


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...

Read more...


Three Ways to Pass Your Real Property to Your Children

Three Ways to Pass Your Real Property to Your Children

Besides retirement accounts, real property typically accounts for the largest portion of most estates.  The question is what is the best way to transfer your home and other real estate assets to your children.  There are three primary ways you can transfer real estate: by deed, by a will, or by a trust.  Transfer by a DeedWhen you put your children’s name on title to your assets...

Read more...


Top 5 Estate Planning Risks

The Top 5 Estate Planning Risks

Why should you care about estate planning?  Should you bother with a will or trust?  Do you need to think about this subject at all, or can you continue to safely ignore it?  One thing for sure: it’s tough to fix estate planning mistake after the fact. 1. Death ProbateDeath probate is where the court and attorneys will supervise the distribution of your estate.  Would your...

Read more...


The Top Five Estate Planning Whoppers

These are the top five of my favorite whoppers I hear as an estate planning attorney. 5. I don’t care what happens after I’m gone. It is true that the things you leave behind aren’t going to mean much to you anymore.  But, the people you leave behind are going to know whether you cared enough about them to leave behind an orderly plan, or a big fat legal mess that has everyone at each...

Read more...


Not everything automatically goes to your spouse.

Do I Need an Estate Plan for my Spouse?

Doesn’t everything automatically go to my spouse?  Well, maybe.  Depends on your definition of “is”.  Recently our office had a situation where a husband passed away suddenly while running errands.  It turns out that everything was just in his name – the vehicle he was driving, bank accounts, etc.  What this means is that if their estate is over $150,000 gross value, his...

Read more...


Modest estate going through probate

A Tale of Two Estates: A Journey through Probate

John, a widower, owns his modest home with a small mortgage.  When he passes away, his three children find buried in all his papers a will instructing them to divide everything equally.  The oldest child, Bill, heads down to the realtors office to list the property.  And so the journey begins…At the realtor’s office, Bill discovers that with a will, he’ll have to open a probate...

Read more...


Three Important Things A Will Does Not Do

There are many mistaken beliefs about what a will does for you. While they are an important part of an estate plan, wills have three major limitations. A will doesn’t avoid probate This sometimes comes as a shock to people – a will has to go through probate, meaning your heirs will have to wait months before the court approves the distribution of your estate, not to mention the extra expense and...

Read more...


Is a “simple will” going to cost your children thousands of dollars?

It is a common mistake to think that a will avoids probate.  Why is probate so bad?  Three words: time, money, and publicity.  And, if you have young children, you’ve probably left them unprepared and unprotected as well. Probate is Expensive Even a relatively small estate can face thousands in court costs, attorney fees and other fees.  An estate with a modest home valued at $300,000 can...

Read more...


Top 10 Ways To Burn Your Kids Inheritance

Some of these methods are definitely enjoyable, for example owning a money-sucking vehicle can be a lot of fun.  Others methods are more serious, and not only can be, but should be avoided with care. 10. Leave a big mortgage for retirement A mortgage is a large financial commitment, and trying to fit that expense into a fixed income can be tough.  It will certainly squeeze your disposable income...

Read more...


Ready to Start Your Estate Plan? Schedule My Appointment