Tag Archives: California

Who’s Afraid of Probate?

After reading my last blog post, a friend pointed out that you can only understand the benefits of a living trust if you know about the process of probate, and why you would want to avoid going through it.  Probate … Continue reading

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The Estate Tax Benefits of Living in California

There are some people in California who would grumble about the Federal estate tax, but all California residents should be thankful that the State of California phased out its State estate tax in 2005.  Unlike California, seventeen states and the … Continue reading

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The Pitfalls of Portability

This year and next, a decedent can transfer his or her Personal Federal Estate Tax Exemption to his or her spouse.  This power to transfer, often referred to “spousal portability,” allows couples to protect a significantly larger chunk of their … Continue reading

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What to Do With an Inheritance?

With the economy the way it is these days, most baby boomers are not expecting to receive a windfall.  But investigations at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College indicate that, as the parents of the sandwich generation pass … Continue reading

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Transferring California Assets Through Joint Title

Some of my clients have questions about transferring assets outside of probate by putting their heirs on the deed or title to property.  Although this may work for some clients in some situations, we need to be very careful about … Continue reading

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How to Choose a Good Executor

My clients sometimes have trouble choosing the right executor for their estate. Often, they feel torn between several people, each of whom they would like to honor with such an appointment. But being an executor is not just an honor. … Continue reading

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Estate Planning for Second Marriages

With people divorcing more often and living much longer than they did in the past, the frequency of remarriage is increasing.  This results in a greater number of blended families.  It is not uncommon now for couples to have “his, … Continue reading

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DOMA and Estate Planning for Gay Couples

Last week, President Obama ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, the Federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriages.  However, for the time being, same-sex married couples should not change their estate plans or … Continue reading

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Why Use a Living Trust?

A client recently asked me whether he could avoid paying estate taxes by putting all of his assets into his living trust.  The short answer to that question is, not really.  From the IRS’s perspective, the assets in your revocable … Continue reading

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