Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Updates

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Choosing a Foreign Guardian in California? Three Vital Clauses for Your Will

In our last blog post, we discussed the five clauses that every parent should include in their will to ensure that their children are raised safely and correctly – and by the friend or family member of your choice. In this...more

Keep Your Collection Away from the Collectors: Tax Planning for Fine Art

Appreciation of fine art can create challenging tax issues, but with proper planning collectors can minimize the estate, gift, and income tax consequences of their collections. For taxpayers hoping to keep their works...more

Should I Name My Minor Child as a Beneficiary or Contingent Beneficiary of My Life Insurance Policy?

As an estate planning attorney in Mesa, Arizona I am frequently asked the question by parents: Should I name a minor child as a beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of a life insurance policy? This question has very...more

5 Guardianship Clauses You Need in Your California Will

Writing a will is one of the most important things that you can do for your children: you are ensuring that they will be taken care of after you are gone – both financially and emotionally. However, the time and effort that...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: Watch out for IRA traps

An IRA can be a valuable estate planning tool, offering tax-deferred growth (tax-free in the case of a Roth IRA) and asset protection. But two recent developments create traps for the unwary: the “one-rollover-per-year” rule...more

Qualified Domestic Trust (QDOT) Frequently Asked Questions

When an international couple comes into our office to plan their estate, they often have a lot of questions about qualified domestic trusts (QDOTs) – especially if they own a significant amount of property or assets. Below,...more

Good intentions: Don’t let asset transfers run afoul of the law

With the current estate tax regime of a high gift and estate tax exemption amount and low estate tax rates, transferring wealth is becoming the focus of estate planning rather than reducing estate tax liability. And with...more

Recognizing the Signs of Special Needs Financial Abuse

This month we have been discussing financial planning for your special needs child as well as how to protect your child from financial abuse and financial issues after you can no longer care for him or her. One of the best...more

Bankruptcy Bleak House—The Limited Ability of Bankruptcy Courts to Enter Final Judgments

In Stern V. Marshall, ____ U.S ___, 131 S. Ct. 2594 (2011), the Supreme Court held that bankruptcy courts cannot issue final judgments on state law counterclaims even though they are “core proceeding”. Stern V. Marshall is...more

Superman Dodges a Bullet: Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Heirs’ Bid to Reclaim Character Copyright

Close on the heels of the settlement between Marvel Comics and Jack Kirby’s heirs, which ended their dispute over copyright in a number of iconic comic book characters, the heirs to one of Superman’s co-creators, artist...more

International Estate Planning Decisions: Create a QDOT or Get Citizenship?

If you are married to a non-U.S. Citizen, estate planning in California is going to be more complex for you than it is for other couples, especially if you have a significant amount of property and assets. However, you do...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide If Accountant-Client Privilege Applies to Will Contests

In the closing days of its September term, the Illinois Supreme Court allowed a petition for leave to appeal in Brunton v. Kruger. Brunton involves the scope of the accountant-client privilege – more specifically, what...more

7 Questions to Ask When You've Been Invited to Be Trustee of a Special Needs Trust

So you have been asked to serve as the trustee of a friend or family member's special needs trust. While your selection is a great honor, it is also a great responsibility. Here are seven questions to ask before saying...more

Now’s the time for a charitable lead trust

Affluent families who wish to give to charity while minimizing gift and estate taxes should consider a charitable lead trust (CLT). These trusts are most effective in a low-interest-rate environment, so conditions for taking...more

The Crummey trust: Still relevant after all these years

Traditionally, trusts used in estate planning contain “Crummey” withdrawal powers to ensure that contributions qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion. Now that the gift and estate tax exemption has reached a higher level,...more

Special Needs Trusts: Countable & Non-Countable Resources

One of the reasons you may fund a special needs trust for your child is so that they can have your financial support while also receiving needed government benefits, including Medicaid, Medi-Cal, and Supplemental Security...more

The Donald Sterling Case Provides Valuable Trustee Incapacity Insights - Establishing the Most Effective Instruments to Evaluate...

The ideal individual trustee has a wide variety of real world experience and judgment that can only be acquired over decades. Thus, many trustees are middle-aged or older at the start of their tenure. While some people remain...more

Your Living Trust is Not Complete if it is Not Funded Properly #Estate-Planning-Attorney

If you have taken the time, either on your own or with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, to create a trust based estate plan, and you have not taken the next step to ensure all of your assets have been...more

One Big Issue That Can Endanger Your Child’s Special Needs Trust

One of the major reasons to create and fund a special needs trust for your disabled child is so that your child can still receive means-tested government benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and...more

Getting the Best Medical Care: a Newsletter from Patrick Malone - October 2014

In This Issue: - Plan Early for End of Life - Advance Planning Leads to Better Care - Medicine Is Not Magic - Medicine as Part of the Problem - Design Your Plan of Action - The Four Big...more

Insight on Estate Planning - October/November 2014

In This Newsletter: - The Crummey trust: Still relevant after all these years - Now’s the time for a charitable lead trust - Good intentions: Don’t let asset transfers run afoul of the law - Estate Planning...more

Environmental Claims: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Asarco LLC v. Goodwin, 756 F.3d 191 (2nd Cir. 2014) – A reorganized company (Asarco) sought contribution for payment of environmental claims from beneficiaries of trusts created under John D. Rockefeller’s will. The...more

Cat Bond Litigation: Unambiguous Bond Documents Cause Court To Dismiss With Prejudice Complaint Seeking to Claw Back Payments Made...

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed, with prejudice, claims relating to the triggering of the Mariah Re severe weather event cat bond. Mariah Re Ltd. v. American Family Mutual...more

California Trust Attorney – Three Things You Should Know About a Trust

What is a trust and how does it differ from a will? Before planning your California trust you should know three important things: 1. A Trust Defined - A trust provides for the allocation of assets when you...more

Special Needs Trusts: Writing a Letter of Intent

A special needs trust is vital if you are the parent or caretaker of a child (or adult child) with mental or physical disabilities. A trust can make certain that your child is cared for properly, that they have enough...more

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