Author Archives: Helene P. Dreyer Koch

About Helene P. Dreyer Koch

Estate Planning Attorney (Wills, Trusts, Probate) Indian Wells, California * 760.360.2400

What Is a Discretionary Trust?


A “discretionary trust” gives the trustee discretion over how, when, and if the beneficiaries may access trust assets. Certain uses of the money might be deemed acceptable, whereas other uses will be restricted. For instance, the trustee might distribute funds … Continue reading

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How Can You Help with Their College Expenses?


If you have children or grandchildren who have not yet completed their college education, you may be wondering how to help them achieve that goal. Two popular choices are the 529 College Education Plan and an Education Trust. A 529 … Continue reading

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What Is a POLST and Do I Need One Instead of a Medical Power of Attorney?


POLST stands for “Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.” It differs from an Advance Healthcare Directive (aka medical power of attorney or power of attorney for healthcare) in several ways and is NOT intended to replace the power of attorney. A … Continue reading

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California Passes Right to Die Law


New Law Permits Terminally Ill Patients to End Their Lives. Known as the End of Life Option Act, California’s newest law decriminalizes self-end to one’s life and allows terminally ill people to end their lives humanely.  The law becomes effective … Continue reading

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DIY Death Transfer by Deed Is No Substitute for a Good Estate Plan


Joint Tenancy or California’s new “Transfer on Death Deed” May Help with Do-It-Yourself (DYI) Planning, But It Is Easy to Make Mistakes.  Existing law allows a “joint tenancy with right of survivorship” deed (“JTWROS”), which gives two or more persons … Continue reading

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Supreme Court Upholds Same Sex Marriage


In a landmark decision issued June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court has upheld the right of same sex couples to marry in the United States. My fellow members at Wealth Counsel issued a succinct summary of this ruling … Continue reading

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Remember: Update Insurance Policies When You Put Property In Your Trust


Keep Your Real Estate Titled to Your Trust. Good planning includes having a Trust and keeping your major assets titled to yourselves as Trustees of the Trust.  (This does not apply to retirement account assets.)  Failing to maintain proper titling … Continue reading

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Dangers of Do It Yourself Wills and Trusts


In a previous post, I discussed An Example of What Can Go Wrong When You Make Your Own Will, as well as an article, Consumer Reports: Write Your Own Will? We tested 3 software products that claim to help you … Continue reading

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An Example of What Can Go Wrong When You Make Your Own Will.


Do-it-yourself Wills: a sad story of planning gone wrong.  Here is a case study by Janet L. Brewer, detailing some of the bad things that can happen when you make your own Will. Read about John, widow and father, faced … Continue reading

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What to Do with Your Business When You Die or Retire


Business Succession Planning Business succession planning is the process of providing for the passage of ownership and control of your business to others when you decide to retire, or if you should die or become incapacitated. Planning for the succession … Continue reading

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