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The KRASA LAW, Inc. Estate Planning Blog

Friday, February 1, 2019

An Artful Respite


 

Although I grew-up on the Monterey Peninsula, I chose to attend Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, a small liberal arts school located near the shores of Lake Champlain. I sought frigid weather, covered bridges, and green mountains and that’s what I found! I majored in English Literature and I enjoyed reading the works of the 19th Century American Transcendentalists and the 18th and 19th Century British Romantics, especially Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William Wordsworth. It was special to study their works in the same region of the country where Emerson and Thoreau lived and in a similar setting as Wordsworth’s Lake District. 

As a senior in college, after I had made the decision to attend law school, my advisor suggested that I take an art history class. His daughter was an attorney and he thought that in addition to being able to discuss literature with each other, lawyers should also be able to discuss art.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The “Back-Pocket” Trust


 

With regard to the distribution of assets upon death, comprehensive estate planning should focus on three key areas: (1) Who should inherit? (2) What should they inherit? And (3) How should they inherit? Most time and energy are spent focusing on the first two elements. However, the third element should not be overlooked as it might be the most important. The manner in which an inheritance is structured can take advantage of key planning opportunities including protecting an inheritance from creditors, predators, and divorce. In the case of a Special Needs beneficiary, the careful structure of an inheritance will ensure the preservation of crucial government benefits. 

Many public benefits such as Medi-Cal and SSI are “means-tested”: an individual is only entitled to such benefits if his/her estate is below a certain asset threshold.
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Friday, December 21, 2018

Decanting a Trust


A key idea of estate planning is to preserve your wishes. It is important to have confidence that when you make an estate plan, it will be honored by future generations. In order to preserve such wishes, trusts typically become irrevocable upon the trust-maker’s death.  In certain circumstances, a trust might be irrevocable as soon as it is executed.  The irrevocable nature of the trust is intended to create a legally binding agreement that will be enforced in the future, long after you have passed away.
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Friday, December 7, 2018

Be Careful about Non-U.S. Resident Trustees


My wife grew-up in a relatively small town in Maine. Her aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents all lived in the same town.  Her parents’ aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents also lived in the same town. However, her generation was the first to “leave town.” I dragged her to California; her brother lives in New Hampshire; and she has cousins who live in Vermont and Illinois.
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Friday, November 23, 2018

IRA’s and Special Needs Trusts – A Tricky Mix


Inheritances are not always the carefree “jackpots” that people often envision. Sometimes they can create problems if the estate planning instrument is not structured properly. Two areas where inheritances can become especially problematic without careful planning are Individual Retirement Arrangement accounts (“IRA’s”) and Special Needs Trusts for beneficiaries who are reliant upon means-tested public benefits such as Medi-Cal or SSI.  Exceptional care must be taken when both of these areas are combined. 

IRA’s – Preserving “The Stretch”

Traditional IRA’s allow tax deferment in order to encourage saving for retirement.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Making Sense of Legal Jargon


As an English major, I am passionate about vocabulary.  For me, part of the appeal of practicing law is that lawyers have their own dictionaries!  In preparing for law school, I purchased a copy of Black’s Legal Dictionary from Borders in Sand City, California (remember that store?) and learned terms of interest.  Unfortunately, most legal jargon is not readily accessible to the average person.  A lot of the terms are confusingly similar.  In the Estate Planning context, there are several terms that appear to be the same but in fact have very different meanings.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Advanced Trust Planning


Traditionally, basic estate planning focuses on avoiding the unnecessary delay and expense of a court-supervised conservatorship in the event of mental incapacity, avoiding the unnecessary delay and expense of a court-supervised probate in the event of death, and minimizing estate tax.  A basic revocable living trust is usually the best vehicle for addressing all of these concerns.  

While it is important to avoid conservatorship, avoid probate, and minimize tax, an advanced trust can take advantage of many more planning opportunities.  Below is a description of some of the additional planning opportunities that a more comprehensive trust can provide.

Preserving a Beneficiary’s Eligibility for Public Benefits:

Many public benefits, such as Medi-Cal and SSI, are “means-tested,” meaning that a recipient of such benefits must be below a certain asset threshold.
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Monday, October 22, 2018

2018 Golden Pine Cone Winner


 

For the third year in a row and the forth time overall, Kyle A. Krasa has won the Golden Pine Cone as "Best Estate Planning Attorney" from the readers of the Carmel Pine Cone!

Although the award goes to the "Best Estate Planning Attorney," this is really the result of a team effort!

Thank you to the wonderful staff at KRASA LAW, Inc. of Marilyn Beans, Tamana Ayubi, Sara Macfarlane, and Cathrina Bonnelli who are all self-starters and as committed to the clients and the work as is Kyle. 

Thank you to the clients of KRASA LAW, Inc. who continue to show their trust in the firm and who support it in numerous ways.
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Thursday, October 4, 2018

2018 Golden Pine Cone Voting


Voting is open for the 2018 "Golden Pine Cone" awards from the Carmel Pine Cone.  You can vote for your favorite businesses, including "Best Estate Planning Attorney."  Below are instructions on how to vote:

ALREADY SUBSCRIBED TO THE ELECTRONIC EDITION OF THE CARMEL PINE CONE

• Click on the “Golden Pine Cone Awards” Ballot

• Click on the “Services and Health Care” section
• Scroll to the very bottom, and then click on the “Next” button
• Scroll to Number 38 (“Best Estate Planning Attorney)
• Tap in “Kyle Krasa, Krasa Law”
• Click on “Submit”

NOT SUBSCRIBED TO THE ELECTRONIC EDITION 

• Please access the Web site (Read more . . .


Monday, October 1, 2018

Celebrity Estate Planning Done Right?


 

Celebrities are notorious for their estate planning blunders. I have several posters in my office that document the many mistakes that celebrities have made with regard to their estate planning. From Elvis Presley failing to properly plan for the federal estate tax, to Marilyn Monroe accidentally leaving the royalties of her likeness (worth millions of dollars) to a woman she never even met, to baseball great Ted Williams who did not leave clear instructions about how to handle his remains, it almost seems that failure to get one’s affairs in order is a prerequisite to becoming a star. However, there is one celebrity who recently passed away who might have been a celebrity anomaly. 

Actor Burt Reynolds recently passed away at the age of 82.
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Friday, September 28, 2018

Triple Threat


My law school Civil Procedure professor often said: “You write the law and I’ll write the procedure and I will win every time.” His point was that understanding and following proper procedure is often more important than understanding the substantive law itself. While it might often feel like “form over function,” procedural rules are designed to ensure due process.

In the estate planning context, following the proper procedure for executing legal documents that legally effectuate your testamentary intent is critical. Below are three common procedural mistakes that people make when attempting “do-it-yourself” estate planning as well as possible solutions.
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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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