If something unexpected happens to you and you haven't planned for everyone you love and everything you have, the State of California has a default plan for you.
Sound scary? Well, it can be. Those you love would have to deal with the red tape and bureaucracy of government procedures and regulations.
We at Sky Unlimited Legal Advisory help you understand the legal and financial consequences of not having a comprehensive Estate Plan to protect your loved ones ... and more.
Before meeting, we'll ask you to complete a Family Wealth Worksheet, which will help you understand what you own and what needs to be decided for the well-being and care of your loved ones and cherished belongings. We'll meet for a Family Wealth Planning Session™, where we spend some time together reviewing this document. You'll learn about our Planning for Life process and we will both decide if it makes sense to work together to design an estate plan that will best suit the needs of your family.
The foundation of your estate plan will often include a revocable living trust, which when done properly and maintained over time, should help your family to avoid the cost and delay of probate and minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
At Sky Unlimited Legal Advisory, we do not offer a "one size fits all" estate plan. We form a working relationship with our clients. We educate you, take the time to get to know you and your family. We will discuss your concerns, your goals, and will gladly and patiently answer all of your questions. Our goal is to create an estate plan that is exactly right for you.
Our services include a no-charge three-year review to ensure that as your lives change, so will your estate plan to safeguard your assets for maximum protection.
The strategies that are appropriate for protecting your assets are different for every family. Check out our proven process that gives you peace of mind...
So let’s start with clarity around what a blended family is and whether you have one. If you have stepchildren, or children from a prior marriage, or other people you consider “kin” who are not considered legal relatives in the eyes of the law, you’ve got a blended family.
Bottom line: if you have a blended family, you need an estate plan, and not just a will you created for yourself online, or a trust that isn’t very intentionally designed to keep your family out of court and out of conflict. Period. End of story. Unless you are okay with setting your loved ones up for unnecessary heartache, confusion, and pain when something happens to you.
While you may have outsourced all of this to a broker in the past, you can no longer afford to allow your investments to be made without your clear understanding of exactly what you are investing in, how and whether your investments align with your plans for the future.
My colleague shared a story that hit home with me, and it may for you as well.
After my colleague’s grandmother died, her grandmother’s retirement and investment accounts went directly to her mom, due to the estate planning they had set up. No court process. No intervention. No conflict. Great!
But my colleague’s mom then never looked at the investments in those accounts. She just let them stay as they were for four years, until finally, her daughters convinced her to look.
As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we’re dedicated to improving the public’s perception of lawyers by offering family-centered legal services specifically tailored to provide our clients with the kind of love, attention, and trust we’d want for our loved ones. With that in mind, this post gives some insight into how this vision for a new law business model first came about.
If you’re like most people, you likely think estate planning is just one more task to check off of your life’s endless “to-do” list.
You may shop around and find a lawyer to create planning documents for you, or you might try creating your own DIY plan using online documents. You’ll then put those documents into a drawer, mentally check your estate planning to-do list, and forget about them.
When it comes to putting off or refusing to create an estate plan, your mind can concoct all sorts of rationalizations: “I won’t care because I’ll be dead,” “I’m too young,” “That won’t happen to me,” or “My family will know what to do.”
But these thoughts all come from a mix of pride, denial, and above all, a lack of real education about estate planning and the consequences to your family of not planning. Once you understand exactly how planning is designed to work and what it protects against, you’ll realize there is no acceptable excuse for not having a plan.
Indeed, the first step in creating a proper plan is to thoroughly understand the potential consequences of going without one. In the event of your death or incapacity, not having a plan could be incredibly traumatic and costly for both you and your family, who will be forced to deal with the mess you’ve left behind.
Yet considering what would happen to your business upon your death or in the event of your incapacity is one of the single most important things you can do for your business.
Indeed, without a proper estate plan, the business you worked so hard to build could be in serious jeopardy should something happen to you. What’s more, because your business is likely your most valuable asset, estate planning is vital not only for your company’s continued survival, but for your family’s future well-being as well.
Fortunately, you can shield your company and family from such consequences by putting in place a few basic estate planning tools. Although you should consult with an experienced planning professional like us to determine the specific planning vehicles best suited for your particular situation. The following tools are among the most essential for small-business owners.
There are two types of trusts, and each has different tax consequences.
Revocable trusts, which are the far more commonly used trusts, have no tax consequences whatsoever. A revocable trust has your social security number as its tax identifier and is not a separate entity from you for tax purposes. It is a separate entity from you for purposes of probate, meaning if you become incapacitated or die your Trustee can take over without a court order, keeping your family out of court. But, until your death, it’s treated as invisible from a tax perspective. At the time of your death, if your revocable trust provides for the creation of irrevocable trusts, then the tax implications will shift.
When you have an irrevocable trust, either created during life, at death through a revocable living trust, or through a will that creates a trust, that trust has its own EIN or employer identification number (also called a TIN or taxpayer identification number). Generally, it pays income taxes on income earned by the trust, as if it’s a separate tax-paying entity.
This week, I’m going to give you the steps to take in creating a pet trust to provide for your companion animal, or animals, if you cannot be there.
A will is not enough
You might think that merely including a letter laying out the specifics of your pet’s care with your will is sufficient to provide care for your companion animals. However, you need to remember that the directions in your will won’t take effect until the estate is administered.
In the meantime, what happens to your pet? If there’s no provision for their immediate care, you may as well have just made an informal agreement, which is not enforceable.
Trusts lead to peace of mind
When you have money in a trust for your animals, it gives their future caretaker the ability to fund their needs in exactly the way you want them to. A trust is a legal arrangement that dictates how your pet, or pets, will be cared for if you pass away before they do.
Go-bags originated with the US military, which requires its personnel to always keep one on-hand packed with the essential items needed to survive for at least three days following a disaster.
When you have just minutes to evacuate, you won’t have time to think about what you should pack to survive the days—or weeks—to come, so the time to prepare for your family’s safety is now.
In 2020, we’re not only dealing with deadly wildfires again in California, but we’re also experiencing multiple hurricanes on the East and Gulf Coasts, and a number of devastating tornadoes and floods in the Midwest. And on top of all that, we’re still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already killed more than 180,000 Americans and seems unlikely to disappear anytime soon.
In light of the increased dangers posed by the pandemic, we decided to update our previous go-bag article. Although most of the items you should have in your go-bag remain the same, here we’ll cover the supplies and documents you should pack to deal with COVID-19.
As you’ll learn here, there are a number of reasons why you may want to start strategizing now if you could be impacted, because if you wait until after the election, it could be too late.
While we don’t yet know the outcome of the election, Biden could win and the Democrats could take a majority in both houses of Congress. If that does happen, a Democratic sweep would have far-reaching consequences on a number of policy fronts. But in terms of financial, tax, and estate planning, it’s almost certain that we’ll see radical changes to the tax landscape that could seriously impact your planning priorities. And while it’s unlikely that a tax bill would be enacted right away, there’s always the possibility such legislation could be applied retroactively to Jan. 1, 2021.
This two-part series is aimed at outlining the major ways Biden plans to change tax laws, so you can adapt your family’s planning considerations accordingly. Last week in part one, we detailed Biden’s plan to raise roughly $4 trillion in revenue by implementing a variety of measures designed to increase taxes on individuals earning more than $400,000.
Unfortunately, wishing for their good fortune isn't enough. Too many animals are abandoned when their owners die and face rehoming, life in an animal shelter, or worse.
To make sure your furry friend is taken care of when you become incapacitated or upon your death, you can leave assets for their care and custody. The best way to leave your faithful companion assets is to set up a pet trust.
With a pet trust, you can create certain rules for how the trust's funds can be used. You can name a trustee - the person who will control and manage the funds - and a caregiver for your pet. By having a trustee manage the funds, you can be ensured the caregiver will only benefit from them if they are used according to the rules of the trust.