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What is a Beneficiary of a Living Trust?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Mar 07, 2021 | 0 Comments

The terms for each role in a living trust oftentimes get confused with each other. Sometimes people mistakenly believe that a trustee is the beneficiary and vice versa. While this confusion is common, it can cause some misunderstandings amongst family members. Through this article, we plan to dispel some of this confusion.

What is a Trustee?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Feb 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

This question is often asked by clients both during the estate planning process and in the trust administration process after someone has passed. Through this article, we plan to clear up a bit of the confusion surrounding this important role.

Avoiding Conservatorship

Posted by Jim Filippi | Feb 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

Have You Done What It Takes to Avoid Conservatorship? If you have been a reader of our newsletters and blog articles for any period of time, you know we offer many solutions to avoiding probate.  However, you should be equally concerned with avoiding conservatorship, for many of the same reaso...

Medicaid (Medical) Planning for Your Estate Plan

Posted by Jim Filippi | Dec 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

A very important part of establishing your comprehensive estate plan is addressing Medicaid benefits. Medicaid is the federal government program that provides medical care for those who do not have the means to do so. Here in California, the program is administered by the State under the Medical program. If you don’t plan for these government benefits, you or a loved one may encounter grave, unintended consequences.

What Is A Small Estate Affidavit?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Nov 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

If you have been a reader of our blog for any period of time, you have likely learned that you want to take the steps necessary to avoid probate (see Not just for the excessive cost and time it takes to proceed through that process, but because of the hassle it causes your family (see However, you may be surprised to learn there are some little-known situations when your estate won’t need to go through this probate process.

The Importance of an Estate Planning Checkup

Posted by Jim Filippi | Oct 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

After arranging your revocable trust and other estate planning documents with an attorney, it is easy to assume that you have checked estate planning off of your list forever. The reality is not so simple. Not only do tax laws frequently change, but so does your life. The smallest change could have a big impact on your estate planning. You therefore need to revisit your estate plan each year to ensure your plan still accurately reflects your values, needs, and hopes for your legacy.

Thirteen Estate Planning Terms You Need to Know

Posted by Jim Filippi | Oct 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Estate planning is an incredibly important tool, not just for the uber wealthy or those thinking about retirement. On the contrary, estate planning is something every adult should do. Estate planning can help you accomplish any number of goals, including appointing guardians for minor children, choosing healthcare agents to make decisions for you should you become ill, minimizing taxes so you can pass more wealth onto your family members, and stating how and to whom you would like to pass your estate on to when you pass away.

What is probate?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Oct 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

It is very likely you have heard this term being used when discussing the passing of someone you know. However, it is equally likely you do not quite understand what it is and what the process includes. Well, with this article and future articles, we are going to solve this for you.

Estate Planning Strategies to Consider this Election Year

Posted by Jim Filippi | Sep 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

Regardless of your political affiliation, the next election stands to greatly affect our lives going forward. In regard to the laws taxing your estate, this couldn’t be truer. With a promise by the Democratic party to make sweeping changes to the current tax laws, including a return of federal estate taxes to their historic norms, taxpayers need to act now before Congress passes legislation that could adversely impact their estates.

Do I Have Time for an Estate Plan?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Sep 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

Time is life’s most valuable asset. In economics, scarcity of a particular item often drives up its value. No matter how much wealth you have accumulated, when your time is up, your money cannot buy you anymore. In fact, the minute we were conceived a clock immediately began ticking on our lifespan. We are the only known animals to understand that our life will end at some point in the future. This is the exciting, and scary part of our human existence. Indeed, it can be argued that the meaning of life is finding the best way to cherish our most scarce resource.

Can an Irrevocable Trusts Be Amended or Modified?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Aug 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

When a trust is made irrevocable, either through the death of a settlor (the person who created the trust) or through expressed language in the trust agreement, the trust generally cannot be unilaterally amended or modified. However, this doesn’t mean that if the trust is no longer serving its original purpose, you are stuck with a useless trust.

What is the Difference Between a Will and a Living Trust?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Aug 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

It is likely that you have heard of both a will and a living trust, but you may not be able to discern the difference between the two. You may even think that a living trust is just for the super-rich, or even worse, that both a will and a living trust are only for those in a more “advanced” age. This article is going to dispel these myths and give you the knowledge you need to understand the differences, so you can make the right decision on what is best for you and your family.

What Every Parent Needs to Have Written

Posted by Jim Filippi | Jul 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

If you are a parent, or a soon-to-be parent, you know the love we hold for our children is unlike anything else. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my children and I'm willing to bet you feel the same as well. This article is for the parents out there wondering if they have done everything necessary to protect their children if the unthinkable would happen.

Why Avoid Probate?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Jun 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

You will often hear of talk about why you should take steps to avoid having your estate end up in probate court being divided and distributed by the approval of a judge. Those with the knowledge of how this process works will be the ones leading the charge when it comes to avoiding probate.

Medical Debt Blues?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Jun 08, 2020 | 0 Comments

Does medical debt have you feeling blue? It may not seem fair that on top of needing to see a doctor or go to the hospital, you also must deal with some awfully expensive medical bills that most of us could not even dream of paying because they are so exorbitant.

Is Your Home Underwater? Lien Strip It!

Posted by Jim Filippi | Jun 04, 2020 | 0 Comments

However, if you have found yourself in a place where your income has shifted downward, and you are struggling to make your payments, there are a few options available to you. You can contact your lender and negotiate a deferment of payments, a loan modification, a short sale, or an exchange of a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. You can also use the bankruptcy laws to help you through this situation as well.

What is Trust Administration? And is It Something I Can Do Alone?

Posted by Jim Filippi | May 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

We have spoken extensively in this blog about the importance of establishing a trust to ensure the disposition of your estate is done in accordance to your wishes. Employing a trust as your tool for distributing your estate is by far the easiest method of managing your affairs. But what does that all look like? And is it so easy you can do it yourself? The answer to these questions is exactly what I plan to provide in this article.

Can a Trustee also be a Beneficiary in a California Trust?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Apr 20, 2020 | 4 Comments

The short answer to the topic question is yes, in California, a trustee can also be a beneficiary, but there are several serious concerns you need to be aware of to ensure your trust doesn’t become legally invalid. To truly understand how this can go wrong, we have to dive into a little property law.

What Happens When a Bad Trustee Strikes?

Posted by Jim Filippi | Apr 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

Parents typically chose a child to serve in this trustee capacity because it seems easy and believe it will cause the least amount of fighting possible. However, sometimes this plan doesn’t quite work they way it was intended, and in-fighting amongst the sibling beneficiaries ensues. So what happens when a bad trustee strikes?

You Have Options in this Downward Economic Shift

Posted by Jim Filippi | Mar 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

The current shift in the economy was sudden, unexpected, and indiscriminately harsh on a lot of families that didn't see it coming.  Whether you were prepared or not, this downward shift in the economy has caught us all by surprise, not unlike the Great Recession that began 2007.  This time ...

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