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The KRASA LAW, Inc. Estate Planning Blog

Monday, February 19, 2018

PG Rotary Job Shadow Day



Each year the Rotary Club of Pacific Grove hosts “Job Shadow Day.”  Rotarians volunteer to take one or two high school students with them to work for half a day.  At noon, the Rotarians bring the students to the club for lunch and they are further introduced to other professionals in the community.  For students, it is an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of various occupations at a time when they are beginning to think about life after school.  For Rotarians, it is an opportunity to take a fresh, bird’s eye view of their vocations to reflect upon and appreciate their accomplishments and skills.
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Friday, February 16, 2018

The Most Valuable Asset


 

Estate planning generally focuses on two key elements.  First, in the event of your mental incapacity, having an Advance Health Care Directive, a HIPAA Waiver, and other related health care documents will ensure that your wishes with regard to your health care and your personal comfort and well-being will be carried out by the person of your choice in accordance with your own specific guidelines.  Second, in the event of your mental incapacity and upon your death, having a well-drafted revocable living trust, financial power of attorney, and other related documents will ensure that your monetary assets are managed by the person of your choice and distributed to your selected beneficiaries under any conditions that you provide.

While these two elements are crucial, there is a third element that is often overlooked: your legacy.  After you pass away, how will you be remembered? What “life lessons,” observations, and values do you want future generations to understand and appreciate?  What family history do you have stored in your mind that will be lost with your death if you don’t make a record of it?  Indeed, these are your most valuable assets and yet traditional estate planning avoids addressing their preservation.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How to Avoid Drowsy Driving



I have always loved cars.  From a very early age, my dad took me to car shows and shared his passion for “rolling art.”  When I was a small child, each birthday was a countdown to how many years it would be until I was old enough to get my own driver’s license.  Once I had my driver’s license, I happily became my grandmother’s chauffeur, driving her to the grocery store, her doctor appointments, and on other routine errands. 

Even for those who are not car fanatics, the ability to drive is a powerful force that represents freedom.
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Friday, January 5, 2018

Legal Clarity



Legal terms can be confusing.  Often, terms can sound similar to a non-attorney but have very different meanings.  Below are some of the most common legal terms related to Estate Planning that sound similar but have important distinctions.  

Will v. Trust 

Both a Will and a Trust are documents that are used to direct the disposition of your assets upon your death.
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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The End of the Death Tax. Sort of.



The Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is now law. It overhauls much of the federal tax code, including the Estate Tax, often referred to as the “Death Tax.”

What is the Death Tax? 

The Death Tax is a tax on inheritance. However, the Death Tax does not apply to every estate.  Decedents who leave inheritances to their spouses who are U.
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Monday, November 27, 2017

Running with Dad



When I was a child, I enjoyed watching the television program, The Golden Girls, with my grandmother. The show portrayed retirement to be active: full of fun escapades, late-night problem-solving chats over cheesecake with your best friends, and lots of laughter. Indeed, the adventures of Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia challenged the stereotypical image of retirement as nothing more than sitting in a rocking chair and playing bingo (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But, as ground-breaking as the sitcom was, it did not go as far as portraying retirees competing in marathons and triathlons.
 
My dad has taken the term, “active retirement,” to a whole new level.
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Monday, November 20, 2017

The Power to Choose Your Tax



Traditional revocable living trusts provide that upon the death of the trust-maker, the assets of the trust are to be distributed outright and free of trust to the beneficiaries, provided that the beneficiaries are old enough to manage their inheritance.  However, this popular method of estate planning overlooks a key planning opportunity: the ability to provide the beneficiaries with a significant degree of divorce protection and creditor protection.  In order to provide such protections, the trust could instead be drafted to distribute each beneficiary’s share in a separate “beneficiary controlled trust.”  The idea is to keep the inheritance in a trust that can be completely controlled by the beneficiary but can also feature divorce and creditor protection.

In order to give the beneficiaries complete control over their beneficiary controlled trusts, it is often advisable to give the beneficiary a testamentary “power of appointment.
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Kyle Krasa Awarded "Golden Pine Cone"


I am honored to have been awarded the 2017 "Golden Pine Cone" from The Golden Pine Cone as "Best Estate Planning Attorney."  Below is the text from the paper:

"Best Estate Planning Attorney

Kyle Krasa — 704-D Forest Ave., Pacific Grove - Call for an appointment - (831) 920-0205 - krasalaw.com

Talk about local roots! Kyle Krasa’s grandfather, Karel A. Krasa, taught Czech at the Defense Language Institute while his grandmother, Zdena, worked at a Monterey cannery.
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Monday, October 23, 2017

Stealing a Decedent’s Identity



As identify theft has increased over the past decade, most people know to carefully guard personal information, especially Social Security Numbers.  People don’t give their Social Security Numbers out to third parties without caution and careful deliberation and Social Security cards are stored in safe locations rather than carried around in wallets.  Parents are even starting to monitor the credit scores of their minor children as identify thieves target Social Security Numbers that are issued at birth but whose credit is not reviewed until adulthood.  

With the recent security breach of Equifax, people might want to consider taking the extra step of “freezing” their credit reports if they have no need to use their credit in the foreseeable future.  To freeze one’s credit, all three of the credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – must be contacted individually.
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Monday, October 23, 2017

Does Your Trust Have a “Flight Clause”?



Estate planning seems simple on the surface.  You sign a series of documents naming a responsible party to manage your assets in the event of your incapacity and directing how your assets should be distributed upon your death.  However, once you start to really think carefully about all the issues that are involved in the transfer and stewardship of your hard-earned assets, you begin to realize that an estate plan should be comprehensive and should address a multitude of detailed considerations.  One important but often overlooked consideration is which state governs your trust?

With the exception of federal tax considerations, estate planning is mostly governed by state law.  Each state has its own unique rules regarding the administration and interpretation of trust provisions.
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Death and the DMV


The Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) has a reputation for layers of bureaucracy.  Indeed, many people might consider waiting in line at the DMV without an appointment as a “fate worse than death.”  As challenging as it can be to deal with certain aspects of the DMV, handling the transfer of a decedent’s vehicles in California can be surprisingly efficient.

If the decedent did not have a living trust and had other assets necessitating a probate, then the decedent’s vehicles will be subject to probate which will generally be a time-consuming and costly process.  However, if the decedent had a living trust, then the process of dealing with the DMV to transfer the vehicles to the beneficiaries can be painless.
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KRASA LAW assists clients with Estate Planning, Elder Law, Pet Trusts, Asset Protection, Special Needs Planning and Probate / Estate Administration in Pacific Grove, CA(93950), Monterey (93944, 93940, 93943, 93942), Salinas (93901, 93905, 93906, 93907), Hollister (95023,95023) Pebble Beach (93953), Carmel By The Sea (93921), Seaside (93955) and Carmel (93923, 93922) in Monterey County and San Benito California.

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