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Estate Planning

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Always Learning



On a recent family trip, we happened pass through the neighborhood of my law school alma mater, UC Davis School of Law. It was the first time I was able to show my seven-year-old son where I spent three dedicated years that served as the foundation for my professional career. My son was very impressed and he said that if he is not able to become a professional hockey player, he’ll probably become a lawyer.  (That was my plan as well!) 

As most professionals will acknowledge, learning does not end with formal education. Even after earning a law degree and passing the Bar Exam, lawyers must periodically take continuing legal education courses in order to improve the breadth and depth of their knowledge as well as stay current on changing law and legal strategies.
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Monday, April 2, 2018

How Many Estate Plans Do You Have?



Most people think of an estate plan as a singular document.  On the surface, it might seem simple.  However, there are many nuances to directing the disposition of assets upon death that can become difficult to navigate.  The reality is that most people have multiple estate plans that control various assets depending upon how they are titled and whether or not beneficiaries are designated.  It is important to understand how these different estate plans work.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Trust Decanting – Revitalizing an Old Estate Plan



Traditional estate planning typically involves the use of a revocable living trust for the purpose of an efficient management and distribution of assets in the event of incapacity or death.  During the trust-maker’s lifetime, the trust is revocable by the trust-maker and simply acts as a manner of holding title to assets.  However, in the event of the trust-maker’s incapacity, the successor trustee chosen by the trust-maker will have immediate authority to manage the assets for the benefit of the trust-maker.  Similarly, upon the death of the trust-maker, the successor trustee will have immediate authority to settle the estate and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries of the trust.  In both cases, the necessity of going to court is avoided.
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Monday, March 12, 2018

Saying “No Thank You” to an Inheritance



Inheritances are often compared to winning a lottery: suddenly, without any work or effort on your part, you are handed a check or title to assets and your net worth instantly increases.  However, being entitled to an inheritance is not always akin to hitting the jack pot.  There might be times when you would before to say “no thank you” to an inheritance.

One common situation might be where you are entitled to assets with liabilities.  If a parcel of real property has environmental contamination, for example, and the owner is legally and financially responsible for the clean-up, you might prefer to decline that inheritance.
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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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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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