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 https://www.filippilaw.com/why-avoid-probate). 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 https://www.filippilaw.com/what-is-probate). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The answer is not as easy as yes or no (of course, it involves attorneys right!). As you may know, the trustee of a trust serves in a fiduciary position in which they manage the trust. The role is different than a beneficiary who receives the benefit of the assets held in the trust.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now is a great time to be proactive and plan ahead should you or a loved one fall ill. One of the most important and relatively easy things you can do (and should do) is to select a medical agent and set up your advance healthcare directive.
News about the coronavirus is everywhere, and we have all been affected by it in some way, even if we are currently completely healthy. Although it may seem as though circumstances are spinning beyond our control, we are not powerless. There are steps we can take to financially protect ourselves and our families.
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.
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?
If you’ve been thinking about your own mortality, you aren’t alone, and such thinking isn’t without merit. This is why many people are blowing up the internet looking for ways to handle their final affairs, and there are many options for drafting your estate plan.
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 ...
Estate planning is a great way to share the value and meaning of these much-loved items with those you leave behind. Through your estate plan, you can explain to your loved ones why you collected these items in the first place as well as the meaning or value they have for you.
If you own a vacation home, timeshare, investment property, or any other asset outside of the state where you are domiciled you must make sure it’s included in your estate plan. If you fail to include these in your estate plan, or fail to have an estate plan at all, your heirs will encounter issues, and usually the expense and hassle of court costs, when inheriting these assets.
We all know that a simple first-offense DUI arrest is typically charged as a misdemeanor. So how can DUI be murder? Murder is defined as “the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” (Penal Code §187(a)) Nothing in that definition even mentions driving under...
As we have discussed in previous articles, estate planning covers more than just financial matters and healthcare decisions. Indeed, many use their estate plan to pass along their values as well as their wealth. One way to do this is to give thanks with your estate plan by designating charitable giving or specific gifts that will help ensure your legacy. It is important, however, to balance your income and the needs of your beneficiaries with the available tax incentives that can come with one’s charitable giving.