Category Archives: Trusts, Wills and Probate

When Can A Will Be Properly Contested?

By | December 27, 2011

Contesting a will can be a difficult decision – and it can have difficult consequences. Problems from inheritance have plagued mankind for millennia, and even in modern times, there are never any easy solutions for everyone. At some point, if a will is being contested, someone is going to end up unhappy. But it’s important to understand when… Read More »

How To Use Trusts to Avoid Estate Taxes

By | August 8, 2011

In modern parlance, a “trust” has the connotation of extreme wealth, of an upper-crust legal refinement that most people in the middle-class wouldn’t be able to enjoy. But in reality, a legal trust is a powerful tool available to any one of us that truly wants to set one up. The only question remaining is: why set up… Read More »

Ten Ways to Legally Reduce Your Estate Tax Burden

By | August 5, 2011

The estate tax is often a tax many people don’t worry about – that is, until they finally sit down and try to figure out how much they’ll be leaving behind. The federal estate tax can take around half of what you leave behind. That’s right: half. For many people, estate planning means circumventing this tax legally so… Read More »

What Most Americans Don’t Know About Estate Planning

By | August 3, 2011

In America, our culture can often be described as “impatient.” A flight that’s delayed ten minutes can feel like a lifetime of waiting. A text message that takes ten seconds longer to send will make you feel like your phone belongs in the stone age. And yet when it comes to taking action on estate planning, we suddenly… Read More »

A Guide to Differences Between Wills and Living Wills

By | August 1, 2011

Let’s be honest: when it comes to estate planning, a lot of people prefer the bliss of ignorance to the bliss of wisdom. Wills, to them, are complicated things, reminders of our own mortality and therefore something to be put off into the future. And when you introduce the concept of a Living Will, the complications make the… Read More »

How to Choose the Right Executor for Your Will

By | June 2, 2011

What is one of the most valuable social resources? Simple: trust. When you trust someone implicitly, it gives you an ally – someone who can take care of you when you’re sick or incapacitated in some way, for example. But there is more you can do when you trust someone implicitly especially when it comes to the legal… Read More »

The Importance of Beneficiary Designations

By | December 10, 2010

When was the last time your reviewed the beneficiary designation form from your retirement plan, IRA, life insurance policies or annuities?  If your answer is typical, you don’t remember. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision should motivate some people to move this overlooked step higher on their priority list.  This particular ruling involved a 401(k) plan, but it… Read More »

The Future of the Federal Estate Tax

By | October 6, 2010

As of February of 2010, the United States enjoyed more than a month of complete repeal of the federal estate tax.  Before its repeal, the federal estate tax was almost as old as the U.S. income tax which required the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to adopt. The 2010 repeal of the federal estate tax was originally… Read More »

Asset Protection with Estate Planning

By | September 20, 2010

What’s the single hottest topic in California estate planning?  Here in Sacramento foreclosures are a popular topic but not so much for people with assets.  Estate tax law changes are always in vogue for people with money.  However, the number one hottest topic, the numero uno point of concern, the biggest area of questions is in the area… Read More »

You Signed Your Revocable Trust, But Did You Fund It?

By | September 15, 2010

A properly funded trust will avoid probate upon your death and provide management of your assets without court involvement should you become disabled or incapacitated.  Although your Last Will and Testament may provide that all assets spill over into your trust for further disposition, that occurs only after they pass through probate. Assets under the trust umbrella need… Read More »