Caring for the Caregivers

If you’re one of 43 million Americans caring for an aging relative, you know firsthand the physical and emotional pressures that accompany being the sole chauffer, cook, and physical therapist for an ailing person. A caretaker’s life can often revolve around medical appointments and medicine dosages. But what about the caretaker? Who takes care of…

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Changing Beneficiaries in a Revocable Trust After Death

Q: My mother’s Revocable Trust states that her estate must be divided between her four adult children. She has now died, and each should receive about $150,000. The problem is one of my brothers is now disabled and is receiving SSI and Medi-Cal. If he receives this inheritance, it will disqualify him from his benefits…

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When Can You Destroy Financial Records?

The IRS has three years from your tax return filing date to audit your return, if it suspects good faith errors. (For example, your 2013 taxes were due by April 15, 2014. The IRS has until April 15, 2017 to audit your return for good faith errors). However, the IRS has six years to challenge…

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Changing Uses for Bypass Trusts

setting up a trust

Every year, each individual who dies in the U.S. can leave a certain amount of money to his or her heirs before facing any federal estate taxes. For example, in 2013, a person who died could leave $5.25 million to his or her heirs (or a charity) estate tax free, and everything over that amount…

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Your Statutory Right to Name a Guardian for Your Children

Mother and daughter

California gives parents the statutory right to name a guardian for their children.  If no guardian is named in your will or other estate planning documents, and tragedy strikes, it will be up to the Court to decide who will raise your children.  The Court may appoint someone that you would not have chosen yourself. This issue…

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Coordinating Property Ownership and Your Estate Plan

CA family

When planning your estate, you must consider how you hold title to your real and personal property The title and your designated beneficiaries will control how your real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles and investments are distributed upon your death, regardless of whether there is a will or trust in place and potentially with…

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The Best Time to Think About the End of Your Life

I received a very disturbing telephone call yesterday, which inspired today’s blog post. A woman whose brother lay dying in the hospital called to ask a few questions about what would happen to his estate after he died. She said he had a Will, in which he left everything to his children, and provided nothing…

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6 Events Which May Require a Change in Your Estate Plan

Creating a Will is not a one-time event. You should review your will periodically, to ensure it is up to date, and make necessary changes if your personal situation, or that of your executor or beneficiaries, has changed. There are a number of life-changing events that require your Will to be revised, including: Change in…

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Overview of Life Estates

Establishing a Life Estate is a relatively simple process in which you transfer your property to your children, while retaining your right to use and live in the property. Life Estates are used to avoid probate, maximize tax benefits and protect the real property from potential long-term care expenses you may incur in your later…

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Considering Online Estate Planning? Think Twice

The recent proliferation of online estate planning document services has attracted many do-it-yourselfers who are lured in by what appears to be a low-cost solution. However, this focus on price over value could mean your wishes will not be carried out and, unfortunately, nobody will know there is a problem until it is too late…

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