Estate Planning

For Everyone You Love and Everything You've Built

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.

 

If this sounds like the kind of relationship you're looking for, please call us at (650) 761-0992 to schedule your personal Family Wealth Planning Session™ today or schedule online now.


Having a will simply is not enough.  It doesn't guarantee the care of your children if the unthinkable happens!  See how we do it differently...

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...

Our unique legacy process gives your loved ones a precious gift - a lasting expression of your love.  Find out what we offer with every plan... 



Estates Weekly

Articles from the Chief Counsel's desk.  Sign up for our newsletter to receive these in your email with additional discounts, offers and rewards.

Are You Clear About How Your Parents Estate Plan Will Impact You?

Do your parents have an estate plan? Is it up to date?

No matter how rich or poor you or your parents are, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to be asking these and several other questions. When your parents become incapacitated or die, their affairs will become your responsibility, and it will be impossible to ask them to clarify anything. So, if you do not know whether or not they have estate planning in place that will help you best support them, read on.

 

The Best-Case Scenario

In a best-case scenario, your parents have an updated estate plan, and they’ve walked you through it. They have provided an inventory of their assets that’s easy for you to find listing out everything they own, how it’s titled, and who it should go to and how. Ideally, it also includes directions on how to handle their non-monetary assets, and an audio recording or written stories that pass on their values, insights and experience. On top of all that, it’s best if they’ve introduced you to the lawyer who set it all up, so you know who to turn to when the time comes.

 

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Ensure the Security of Your Senior Parents' Identity and Financial Assets

Today, we live in an uber-connected world, where nearly every type of financial transaction—shopping, banking, investment management—can be made online using a computer or mobile device.

In light of this, it’s critically important to have the appropriate safeguards in place to reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft, especially for your senior parents. Because your parents are probably not as savvy about digital technology and may be losing some of their powers of discernment as they age, it’s quite likely up to you to help them protect themselves—and ultimately your inheritance.

 

Along with traditional estate planning strategies to ensure your parents’ planning is handled in the event of their incapacity or death, you should take the following four precautions to ensure the safety of their identity and finances while they’re still alive and well.

 

1) Secure their computer: Your first step should be to make sure all computers they use are protected by robust security software bundled with anti-virus, anti-spam, and spyware detection features. Always go with the latest version of software, and make sure it’s configured to provide automatic updates, including security patches.

 

2) Use strong passwords and PINs: Create strong passwords and PINs that contain numbers, letters, and symbols, and change them regularly (once every six months). Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts—each account should have its own unique password. Never share passwords, don’t store them on a computer, and keep them in a secure location.

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Protect Your Aging Loved Ones From Undue Influence

Following the death of a loved one, close family members are sometimes surprised to learn that they didn’t receive the inheritance they were expecting, and that the deceased instead left most of their estate to an individual they only recently met, who wasn’t even a relative.

While it’s not always the case, in some situations, this can mean your loved one was taken advantage of by a bad actor, who manipulated him or her into cutting out close family members from their plan and leaving assets to the bad actor instead. 

 

This is called "undue influence," and it’s not only unethical, it’s illegal and considered a form of elder abuse. Given the growing number of seniors, the prevalence of diminished capacity associated with aging, and the concentration of wealth among elderly Baby Boomers, we’re likely to see a serious surge in the number of cases involving undue influence in the coming years.

 

Undue influence can have a disastrous effect on your aging parents and other senior relatives’ estate planning. To this end, we encourage you and your family to be aware, educated, and empowered in knowing what risks are for your elderly loved ones—and for your future inheritance.

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What Your Last Will & Testament Will (And Will Not) Do—Part 2

August is “National Make-A-Will Month,” and if you have already prepared your will, congratulations—too few Americans have taken this key first step in the estate planning process.

 In fact, only 33% of Americans have created their will, according to Caring.com’s 2022 Wills and Estate Planning Study. 

 

Yet, while having a will is important—and all adults over age 18 should have this document in place—for all but a few people, creating a will is just one small part of an effective estate plan that works to keep your loved ones out of court and out of conflict. With this in mind, this series discusses exactly what having a will in place will—and will not—do for you and your loved ones in terms of estate planning.

 

Last week, in part one, we looked at the different things having a will in place allows you to do. Here, in part two, we detail all of the things that your will does not do, along with identifying the specific estate planning tools and strategies that you should have in place to make up for the potential blind spots that exist in an estate plan that consists of only a will.

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What Your Last Will & Testament Will (And Will Not) Do—Part 1

August is “National Make-A-Will Month,” and if you have already prepared your will, congratulations—too few Americans have taken this key first step in the estate planning process.

In fact, only 33% of Americans have created their will, according to Caring.com’s 2022 Wills and Estate Planning Study.

 

Yet, while having a will is important—and all adults over age 18 should have this document in place—for all but a few people, creating a will is just one small part of an effective estate plan that works to keep your loved ones out of court and out of conflict. With this in mind, here we look at exactly what having a will in place will—and will not—do for you and your loved ones in terms of estate planning.

 

If you have yet to create your will, or you haven’t reviewed your existing will recently, contact us, your Personal Family Lawyer® to get this vital first step in your estate planning handled right away.

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3 Critical Considerations For How To Save For Your Child’s (Or Grandchild's) College Education—Part 2

If you have started to save for your child or grandchild’s college education, it’s worth considering whether to use a 529 plan, an education savings account, or an irrevocable trust.

Last week, in part one of this series, we discussed 529 plans and education savings accounts, which are both popular options for saving for college education. One of the main reasons for their popularity is their tax-saving advantages. The money you contribute to a 529 account grows on a tax-deferred basis, and withdrawals are tax-free, provided they are used for qualified education expenses, such as tuition, room and board, and other education-related fees.

 

That said, one of the downsides of 529 plans is that they come with strict limits on how you can use the funds (for education-related expenses only), and they also have a limited range of options for how you can invest your funds, primarily in various mutual funds. For these reasons, 529 plans and ESAs aren’t always the best fit for some families looking to save for their loved ones’ education.

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3 Critical Considerations For How To Save For Your Child’s (Or Grandchild's) College Education—Part 1

If you have started to save for your child or grandchild’s college education, it’s worth considering whether to use a 529 plan, an education savings account, or an Irrevocable Trust.

Here’s what we think you should consider as you decide: 

 

First, consider whether you want your offspring to have broader options than just the traditional college experience. 

 

Since the start of the pandemic, college enrollments has declined by over one million students over the past two years, and with college tuition getting more and more expensive, many students are considering alternatives to the traditional higher education path.

 

Gap years, travel, trade programs, and online training are replacing the traditional college education path for many, and if you want that to be an option for your children or grandchildren, you should be aware that the traditional college savings plans may not be the right fit for your family.

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4 Essential Strategies For Protecting Your Family's Assets

You might think that only the super wealthy need to worry about asset protection planning. But the truth is that if you don’t have millions, you may be at even greater risk. For instance, if you are a multi-millionaire, a $50,000 judgment against you might not be that big of a deal.  But it could be devastating for a family with a modest income, savings, and home.

Furthermore, asset protection planning isn’t something you can put off until something happens. Once you are under threat of a lawsuit, it’s likely too late to protect your assets. Like all types of planning, to be effective, you must have your asset protection strategies in place well before something happens. And your asset protection plan isn’t a one-and-done deal: it must be regularly updated to accommodate changes to your assets, family dynamics, and the law.

 

While you should meet with us, your Personal Family Lawyer®, to determine the asset protection strategies that are best suited for your particular asset profile and family situation, here are four essential strategies to consider for safeguarding your family’s most valuable assets. 

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What Happens To Your Business When You Get Sick Or Die? 4 Fundamentals To Know

If you dream of leaving your company to your family one day, but you haven’t properly included your business in your estate plan, that dream could become a nightmare for your heirs—and for your partners, team members, and clients, too.

In fact, properly planning for what would happen to your business upon your death or incapacity is one of the most important things you can do for your company.

 

Without a proper estate plan, the business you worked so hard to build could be in serious jeopardy when something happens to you. Not only that, but since your business is likely your most valuable asset, proactive planning is crucial not only for your company’s continued survival, but for your family’s future well-being as well.

 

Fortunately, you can use a few basic estate planning strategies to make sure your business survives your incapacity or death. Although you should consult with us, as your Family Business Lawyer™, to determine the specific planning vehicles that are right  for your particular business and family situation, the following estate planning tools are essential for nearly all business owners.

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How Estate Planning Can Reduce The High Cost Of Dying—Part 1

Despite the fact that it happens to every single one of us and is as every bit as natural as birth, very few among us are properly prepared for death—whether our own death or the death of a loved one.

Yet the pandemic might be changing this.

 

According to Census figures, the pandemic caused the U.S. death rate to spike by nearly 20% between 2019 and 2020, the largest increase in American mortality in 100 years. More than two years and 1 million deaths later, it's more clear than ever that death is not only ever-present, but a central and inevitable part of all our lives.

 

Yet, in what may be one of its few positive outcomes, some in the end-of-life industry believe that the pandemic’s massive loss of life has created an opportunity to transform the way we face death, grief, and all of the other issues that arise when we lose someone we love dearly. In fact, this sentiment is the mission of the new startup Empathy, an AI-based platform designed to help families navigate the logistical and emotional challenges following the death of a loved one.

Read More

 

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