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Estate Planning

Monday, June 25, 2018

All You Need to Know


I have been writing a bi-weekly column for the Cedar Street Times and its predecessor, The Pacific Grove Hometown Bulletin, since 2007.  Although the content of my column sometimes varies, it mainly focuses upon aspects of estate planning.  I am often asked – and I sometimes wonder myself – if I will ever run out of topics about which to write!  However, there always seems to be something new that I can say about this vast and highly nuanced area of the law.  Indeed, being able to apply complex legal concepts to a host of varied applications requires an almost infinite infrastructure of knowledge, the pursuit of which never ends.  While that can sometimes feel daunting, I am encouraged by a famous quote from Albert Einstein: “The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How to Have a Genuine End-of-Life Discussion with a Loved One

This article is courtesy of guest columnist Beverly Nelson, the operator of standupforcaregivers.org.

There are a few times in everyone’s life when words fail and we just don’t know what to say to someone else. One of the most awkward situations anyone will ever face is having to discuss death and end-of-life arrangements with a loved one. If you aren’t tongue-tied and at an absolute loss for how to begin such a discussion, you’re apt to be harshly self-critical for not having said the “right thing.” It’s a necessary conversation, but some people never figure out how or when to broach the subject, even with someone they’ve known their entire lives. Anxiety, sadness, guilt, and fear may afflict you all at once. The important thing to remember is that there’s no right or wrong way to handle it. Every situation and individual is different. But there are several tips that can help you find ways to be open and honest with a loved one who faces their own mortality.


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Monday, May 28, 2018

California Asset Protection Trusts



As American society is becoming more litigious, there is the increasing threat that you might end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit even if you did not intend any wrongdoing. Car accidents, health bills that exceed the coverage of your health insurance, bad business deals, and professional malpractice can all present threats to your hard-earned assets.  Estate planning can provide many opportunities for asset protection planning. 

Traditionally, the law has not allowed asset protection for persons who establish trusts for their own benefit with their own assets.  Some states, such as Nevada, Delaware, and Alaska, created statutory exceptions to this general rule that allow people to utilize special types of trusts to create asset protection for their own assets.
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Friday, May 25, 2018

Protecting Your Intent



Creating an effective estate plan that carries out your wishes years into the future is challenging.  Over time, laws, legal strategies, and the circumstances of beneficiaries can dramatically change.  Typically, an estate plan centered upon a living trust will remain revocable by the trust-maker as long as the trust-maker is living and has mental capacity.  As such, it is important to review your estate plan on a regular basis with a competent attorney to make sure that your plan is still effective.  

However, what happens when you are no longer able to keep your estate plan current by making adjustments to it due to your incapacity or death?  Is there any way to ensure that your estate plan can navigate unforeseen change in the future?

The Trust Protector Concept:

One of the most effective mechanisms for ensuring that your estate plan stays current and navigates changes in law, changes in legal strategies, and changes in the circumstances of beneficiaries is to include provisions for a “Trust Protector.
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Guidance for Future Generations



It has taken you a lifetime to figure out your financial strategy.  You have finally reached a point where you feel confident about your approach to saving, investing, and spending your hard-earned assets.  You think about all the wasted years where you either did not make any effort to be deliberate with your finances or where you made mistakes through trial and error.  You want your children or other loved ones to be able to avoid making your mistakes and to begin where you ended up.  A comprehensive estate plan can help you achieve this goal for the next generation in a variety of ways.
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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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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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