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 »

Quick and Easy Ways to Transfer Property Immediately at Death

Perhaps the most convenient way to transfer property is simply registering the asset you wish to transfer as “transferrable on death” or “payable on death.” In California, a person can complete a transferrable on death registration form indicating who should receive the account or asset once the account holder is deceased. Payable-on-death designations in savings… Read More »

Tread Carefully: Planning for Medi-Cal

Many Californians lose access to Medi-Cal benefits simply because they are unfamiliar with the system. What most Californians do not realize is that there several options available to establish or maintain their Medi-Cal eligibility. Medi-Cal eligibility is based on age, financial means, or disability. The State requests information on an individual’s income and expenses to… Read More »

What Happens When an Executor Goes to Probate Court?

When one winds up in probate court, there is one saving grace: the Independent Administration of Estates Act (IAEA). This Act is quite helpful to executors because it permits them to take care of estate issues without obtaining formal approval from the probate court. This means fewer court appearances, calls, and less documentation in administering… Read More »

Avoiding Probate 101

Much of estate planning regards how to keep loved ones from going through the burdensome and time-consuming process of probate administration. In California, three popular means exist to keep assets out of the probate process. They involve harboring assets in a living trust, titling property as joint tenancy, or titling property as survivorship marital property…. Read More »

Taking on Dementia

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the cost and prevalence of dementia will double by 2040. At staggering cost, how do families deal with this devastating disease? And how do they know if the wishes of their loved one should be honored? Below are some proactive and remedial steps families… Read More »

Help for Alzheimer’s At Home

Across the country, 70 percent of those with Alzheimer’s live at home, and are cared for by their family members. This is often a struggle. As Cathi Slade, who cares for her father with Alzheimer’s explains, “It’s exhausting dealing with someone that has dementia . . . because you have behaviors like they ask the… Read More »

The Long-Term Care Insurance Decision

As the costs of medical care continue to rise, many people wonder whether they should purchase long-term care insurance. While life insurance policies deal with a person’s eventual death, long-term care insurance deals with the possibility that a person becomes so ill that they require some sort of constant care. A recent article discusses whether… Read More »

Do I Need To Pay My Trustee?

The issue of trustee compensation is sometimes a confusing one. Not every trustee expects to be paid. Conversely some trustees expect compensation. A recent article discusses the “when and how” of trustee compensation. Trustee compensation is determined in the trust documents. When setting up the trust, the trust creator can specify whether there will be… Read More »

Did You Pick the Right Executor?

It may be difficult to select the person who will be responsible for managing and distributing the assets in your estate after your death. A recent article offers five tips to determine whether you have selected the right executor. Consider Expertise, as Well as Common Sense: While you can hire a business or professional to… Read More »

Was the Will Valid?

If a loved one passes on, it is important to determine whether or not he or she had executed a valid will during life. As a recent article explains, a will is the most common estate planning tool because it is the most simple way through which a person can state his or her wishes… Read More »