Should You Serve As Trustee?

Maybe you’ve been named as trustee of an estate and are wondering if you should take on this responsibility. The first factor to consider is whether you have the time to do so. Administering a trust typically involves all of the following duties, and sometimes many more: Locating and protecting trust assets Collecting life insurance… Read More »

How Is An Estate Probated?

Yesterday we discussed when an estate must go through California probate. Today, we will talk about how an estate is probated. While every situation is unique, here are the basic steps involved in probating an estate: 1. In most cases, the person requesting appointment as personal representative (executor or administrator) hires an experienced probate lawyer… Read More »

Advice for Non-Professional Trustees

Acting as a trustee for a trust created by a close friend or family can be complicated. A recent article discusses three common mistakes made by non-professional trustees that can be easily avoided. First, a non-professional trustee might not provide complete records and reports. Many states require trustees to maintain records of all income and… Read More »

What is Durable Power of Attorney?

Durable power of attorney is a legal agreement that allows you to designate an attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf. You can grant the attorney-in-fact authority to perform a wide variety of tasks on your behalf, including paying bills, trading stocks, applying for public benefits, selling property, signing contracts, and filing your taxes. You can… Read More »

The High Cost of a Long and Healthy Life

Many Americans are fortunate to live a long and healthy life. The downside is that this can sometimes mean outliving your retirement account. Luckily, there are many government benefits available to senior citizens. In fact, there are so many different government programs available, that it can be hard to keep track of them all. Following… Read More »

How Do I Update My Will?

Executing a last will and testament is a great first step in a comprehensive estate plan. However, it is important to not stop there. You should periodically update your will as your circumstances change. For example, getting married, having children or grandchildren, and significant changes in finances are all situations after which it is important… Read More »

What is Stepped Up Basis in Estate Planning?

Basis is the amount that a person has invested in an asset for tax purposes. Basis is used to calculate a variety of other aspects of an asset such as depreciation, amortization, depletion, casualty losses, and the loss or gain the owner experiences on the sale, exchange, or disposition of a property. This post discusses… Read More »

Disclaiming Assets

Disclaiming an inheritance is an unusual decision that can make perfect sense. A disclaimer occurs when a beneficiary named in the will refuses to accept an inheritance. It seems absurd to refuse a gift but a disclaimer can solve common estate planning issues. Persons over 65 who are well-off may disclaim an inheritance to protect… Read More »

What to Look Out for in Annuity Contracts

Annuity sellers promise a lot – but do they deliver? Fixed annuities seem to provide secure income that many seniors seek. However, there are several important considerations to think about before investing in an annuity. Lock-in period. Most annuities have a period where the purchaser pays into the annuity but cannot withdraw from it. The… Read More »