Category Archives: Trusts

Discussion of Revocable Living Trusts (inter vivos trusts), Irrevocable Trusts, ILIT Life Insurance Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, and Trust Administration.

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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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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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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Top 10 Mistakes People Make in Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts: # 2 – Too Much Reliance on Self Help


A frequent mistake people make is relying too much upon self help. Most self-made plans or informal arrangements sound good on the front end, but turn out bad in the long run. For example: Don’t put property into joint names … Continue reading

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Top 10 Mistakes People Make in Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts: # 3 – Inadequate Planning for Adult and Minor Children


Many people mistakenly think that planning for children only applies to minors. Not so! While minor children certainly present unique planning issues, it is just as important to think through the needs of your adult children as well. Some of … Continue reading

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Top 10 Mistakes People Make in Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts: # 4 – Failure to Avoid Probate


California probate is well worth avoiding! Unlike many states, where probate of a will is a fairly quick and easy process, California probate is expensive, time consuming and very public. California probate is very expensive. The probate court filing fees … Continue reading

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Top 10 Mistakes People Make in Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts: # 5 – Failure to Follow the Estate Plan


Don’t go through the time and expense of making an estate plan, then fail to follow it!  It is an estate plan and, as they say, the best laid plans are only as good as their execution.  Failure to follow the estate plan … Continue reading

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Top 10 Mistakes People Make in Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts: # 7 – Failure to Plan for Incapacity


Planning for Incapacity is easily overlooked for two reasons: (1) most people associate estate planning with death; and (2) thinking about one’s own mortality is discomforting enough — thinking about the possibility of Alzheimer disease, dementia, coma or other mentally … Continue reading

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Top 10 Mistakes People Make in Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts: # 10 – Failure to Plan for Liquidity


Failure to Plan for Liquidity is a common error. This mistake can occur regardless whether you’ve made a Will or estate plan, and even if you have a trust. For example: →  You want to keep your vacation home available … Continue reading

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