CA Estate Planning Blog

Friday, December 30, 2016

Military Benefits Mess Not A Surprise

From 2004 to 2015, some members of the California National Guard were given bigger bonuses than they should have for reenlisting. When the government attempted to claw-back the money, they ruined a bunch of soldiers’ finances, and sparked public outrage. For those of us that deal with military and veterans’ benefits on a regular basis, this mess was not surprising.
Read more . . .

Monday, December 26, 2016

Want To Avoid Estate Taxes? Take A Cue From Santa And Start Gifting

The holiday season is upon us and 2017 is right around the corner. In all of the holiday hustle and bustle it is easy to forget or skip a few items on your to-do list. One thing you should be sure to get done before the end of the year if you are committed to passing on as much of your wealth as possible to the next generation without getting hit by a huge tax bill, is gift giving.
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Monday, November 28, 2016

Lessons On Life Estates from the Playboy Mansion

This fall there were a bunch of rumors that Hugh Hefner was deathly ill. The witty Playboy mogul responded on Twitter: “I wish the tabloids had informed me a little earlier in the week that I'm sick. I might have cancelled my weekend plans.” Even at 90 years old, Hef’s still got it. It is claimed that he even remains the driving force behind the magazine and related enterprises.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Don’t Put Your Burial Wishes In Your Will

Did you know that instead of being buried in a traditional cemetery or having your ashes scattered in a place that was meaningful to you, you can now be buried in a vineyard run by the Catholic church that makes award-winning California wine? Or turned into a tree? And in a few years you might be able to be a light-generating decomposing bio-mass hanging under a bridge after you die?

The choices are endless, and that is becoming a bit of a legal problem. Back when there were very few burial options available, most families had a pretty good idea what their loved one’s burial plans were. Today, with so many options available, and with people living much more transient lives, families are getting into ugly legal battles over where they want their beloved’s remains to rest.

The solution to this problem is simple. People should tell their loved ones what they would like done with their body after death.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Do You Trust Your Soon To Be Ex-Spouse As Much As Lamar Odom Trusted Khloe Kardashian?

The Kardashians. Love them or hate them, it is virtually impossible not to “keep up” with them since they are on the cover of nearly every magazine at the grocery store, and often make the evening news. It was only a matter of time before their legal issues found their way on to this blog.

Last year at this time, the Kardashian news was that Khloe Kardashian’s soon to be ex-husband, NBA star Lamar Odom, had been found unconscious at a Nevada brothel after overdosing on cocaine and herbal Viagra. 

Odom has, thankfully, recovered, and he and Khloe are once again soon to be exes, but for a while the divorce was off, and Khloe was making a bunch of medical decisions on Odom’s behalf.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Special Needs Trusts Are A Critical Part of Many Estate Plans

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Disability and Health Data System, 20.9% of all the adults living in California have a disability. That means the loved ones of 20.9% of all Californians need to be especially thoughtful when crafting their estate plans.

Unfortunately, leaving as little as $2,001 to a disabled beneficiary can prevent them from receiving government benefits like SSI (Supplemental Social Security Income) and Medi-Cal, benefits which are often essential to their well-being.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

4 Myths of Estate Planning

While most people understand that estate planning involves providing for loved ones upon their passing, many are unclear as to what the estate planning process actually entails.  This unfortunately leads to stubborn myths about estate planning that this article seeks to clarify. 

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Death in the Digital Age: I Don’t Want “Likes” After I Die

Many of us think nothing of sharing our lives with our friends and family members via social media. It is an easy way to keep up with acquaintances that have moved away, and a much easier way to share photos than pulling out a bunch of dusty albums or, like your grandparents did-- setting up the slide projector. But have you ever thought about what is going to happen to all the stuff you post on the internet after you die?

The internet, and social media in particular, are such a relatively new phenomenon that few people have included instructions for the disposition of their digital assets in their estate plans. Fortunately, this is starting to change as people pass away with more and more ties to the digital world.


Facebook now has a setting that allows you to delegate the power to shut down your account or turn it into a memorial page.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Posh Pup in Legal Battle

In 2010, an economics professor named Patricia Bowers passed away. She had no children, so she left most of her modest estate to organizations she cared about. $100,000, however, was set aside to care for her dachshund “Winnie the Pooh” for the rest of the dog’s life.

Fast forward to today, and what should be a simple pet care trust is causing a lot of legal drama. The woman who cares for Winnie claims that the dog’s expenses are not being paid for by the trust, and is demanding an accounting from the attorney administering the estate.

Read more . . .

Saturday, August 20, 2016

When Planning for Retirement Includes Planning for Business Succession

How prepared are most small business owners for retirement?

According to a recent Census Bureau report, by 2029, when all baby boomers will be at least 65 years old, they will represent 20 percent of the population of the U.S. Economists estimate that 10 million small-business owners plan to sell or close their businesses over the next 10 years in order to fund their retirement. There are indications that up to 65 percent of businesses sold during the past years were sold by baby boomers.

Since this trend is expected to continue, the economic landscape of the country is expected to transform.

Read more . . .

Sunday, July 31, 2016

California Budget Limits Medi-Cal’s Ability to Seize Estates

When you die, you probably hope to pass on whatever assets you have left to your family and friends. But did you know that the State of California might end up seizing your estate depending on what sort of healthcare benefits you received from the government before you died?

Many people enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program do not realize that without a proper estate plan in place, they may end up leaving nothing to their family and friends because the state will take and sell off all their possessions to pay itself back for money it spent on healthcare costs.

Fortunately, starting January 1, a new provision included in the recent state budget will limit the ability of the state to seize estates.

Read more . . .

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