The KRASA LAW, Inc. Estate Planning Blog

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:


• 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”


• 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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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

No “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” for an Estate Plan?


Legendary singer Aretha Franklin recently passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  A few days after her death, it was revealed that Ms. Franklin had joined the very popular “club” of celebrity estate planning blunders. Mr. Franklin – with all her wealth, her illness, and professional advisors – failed to create an estate plan.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Sentimental Journey

Last week, to celebrate the reopening of Highway One, Visit California, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and the California Highway Patrol arranged a convoy of over 80 cars from Monterey to Morro Bay, each representing a model year from each year that the famous route has been in existence. Members of the media traveled in each car to write about their adventures and to spread the word that Highway One is again open for business.  The convoy stopped in Ventana for brunch, at Hearst Ranch for hors d’oeuvres, and at Morro Rock for dinner.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to participate with my beloved 1953 Chevy Bel Air, “Maybellene,” named after the Chuck Berry song of course! The media members who rode with me were a husband and wife travel writing team, Hannah and Adam, who own a travel website, www.gettingstamped.
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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Learning from TV Lawyers

Legal dramas are popular.  Hollywood has an endless supply of television shows and movies featuring lawyers in an assortment of situations.  Many non-lawyers ask me whether these programs are an accurate reflection of the legal profession.  I often respond by relating an anecdote from when I studied for the Bar Exam: to prepare for the legal ethics portion of the Exam, our instructors advised us to watch any legal show and write down all the ethical rules that the characters routinely break!  In another words: in real life, lawyers couldn’t get away with anything that makes for engaging entertainment.    

Lately my wife and I started watching the USA Network television legal drama, Suits.
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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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