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.

House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes To Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact On Business Taxation and Estate Planning—Part 1

On September 13, 2021, Democrats in the House of Representatives released a new $3.5 trillion proposed spending plan that includes a wide array of changes to federal tax laws.

Specifically, the Democrats have proposed a number of significant tax increases and other changes to fund the plan, including increases to personal income tax rates and the capital gains tax rate, along with a major reduction to the federal estate and gift tax exclusion and new restrictions on qualified business income (QBI) deductions.

 

While the proposed legislation is still under consideration and far from being finalized, given the broad-reaching impact these changes stand to have, we strongly encourage you to take action now if you would be affected by the proposed legislation if it does pass. With the exception of the capital gains rate increase, which could  go into effect on transactions that occur on or after Sept. 13, 2021, most of the proposed changes would be effective after December 31, 2021, meaning that you have time to plan now. 

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House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes To Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact On Estate Planning—Part 1

On September 13, 2021, Democrats in the House of Representatives released a new $3.5 trillion proposed spending plan that includes a wide array of changes to federal tax laws.

Specifically, the Democrats have proposed a number of significant tax increases and other changes funding the plan, including increases to personal income tax rates and the capital gains tax rate, along with a major reduction to the federal estate and gift tax exclusion and new restrictions on Grantor Trusts that would basically eliminate such trust’s ability to be used as planning vehicles.

 

While the proposed legislation is still under consideration and far from being finalized, given the broad-reaching impact these changes stand to have, we strongly encourage you to take action now if you would be affected by the proposed legislation if it does pass. With the exception of the capital gains rate increase, which could go into effect on transactions that occur on or after September 13, 2021, most of the proposed changes would be effective after December 31, 2021, meaning that you have time to plan now.

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A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next To Nothing—Part 2

As the host of the wildly popular The Joy of Painting TV series on PBS, Bob Ross became a pop-culture icon, who was equally famous for his giant head of hair, soothing baritone voice, and folksy demeanor as he was for his iconic landscape paintings. And like so many other artists, Bob’s artwork and image would become even more popular following Bob’s death in 1995.

Bob’s philosophy in both painting and life was that there “were no mistakes in life… just happy little accidents.” Sadly, as detailed in the recent Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed, Bob’s failure to coordinate his business agreements with his estate plan was anything but happy, leaving his only son largely unable to benefit from his father’s fame and fortune. 

 

Bob’s planning failures led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting to control the lucrative intellectual property rights of the Bob Ross brand. And while Bob’s son Steve ultimately lost his fight to benefit from the business empire built on his father’s persona and painting skills, here in part two, we’ll explain the steps you can take to ensure that your loved ones don’t suffer the same fate and are able to fully benefit from all of your business assets following your death.

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A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next To Nothing—Part 1

As the host of the wildly popular The Joy of Painting TV series on PBS, Bob Ross became a pop-culture icon, who was equally famous for his giant head of hair, soothing baritone voice, and folksy demeanor as he was for his iconic landscape paintings. And like so many other artists, Bob’s artwork and image would become even more popular following Bob’s death in 1995.

Bob’s philosophy in both painting and life was that there “were no mistakes in life… just happy little accidents.” Sadly, as detailed in the recent Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed, Bob’s failure to coordinate his business agreements with his estate plan was anything but happy, leaving his only son largely unable to benefit from his father’s fame and fortune. 

 

As we’ll discuss in this series, Bob’s planning failures have led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting for control of the lucrative intellectual property rights to the Bob Ross brand. And while Bob’s son Steve ultimately lost his fight to benefit from the business empire built on his father’s persona and painting skills, we’ll explain the steps you can take to ensure that your loved ones don’t suffer the same fate and are able to fully benefit from all of your business assets following your death.

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Estate Planning Must-Haves For Single Parents

If you are a single parent, life for you right now probably couldn’t get any busier. You are likely being pulled between work, school activities, and home - and the inevitable emergencies that fill the lives of single parents everywhere.

Being a single parent is a huge responsibility, even if you do share time with a parenting partner, and especially so if you don’t. Regardless, as a single parent, your children’s lives are now largely in your hands.  So what would happen to them if something happened to you?  Who would take care of them?  Who would pay for their housing and food?  Who would pay for their education?  These are questions you need to get answered, and the best way to do that is through estate planning.

 

Having an estate plan that covers the care of your children in case you should be in a severe accident, fall ill, or die, welcomes peace of mind for the single parent knowing everything and everyone they love is taken care of.  Here are the must-haves that can protect your children if something were to ever happen to you:

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3 Ways To Benefit By Incorporating Charitable Giving Into Your Estate Plan

You are likely well aware of the tax benefits that come from donating to charity during your lifetime—donations to charity are tax-deductible. But you may be surprised to learn about the numerous benefits that are available when you incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan.

As with donating to charity during your lifetime, dedicating a portion of your estate to a charitable cause can reduce the taxable value of your estate. You can also receive significant tax savings by naming your favorite charity as the beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k), or other retirement accounts.

 

And if you have highly appreciated assets like stock and real estate that you want to sell, you can even set up a special type of charitable trust that can not only help you avoid both income and estate taxes, but also create a lifetime income stream for yourself and your family, all while supporting your most beloved charitable cause.

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Estate Planning 101: Wills vs. Trusts

Wills and trusts are two of the most commonly used estate planning documents, and they form the foundation of most estate plans. While both documents are legal vehicles designed to distribute your assets to your loved ones upon your death, the way in which they work is quite different.

From when they take effect and the property they cover how they are administered, wills and trusts have some key differences that you need to consider when creating your estate plan. That said, when comparing the two documents, you won’t necessarily be choosing between one or the other—most plans include both.

 

In fact, a will is a foundational part of nearly every person’s estate plan. Yet, you may want to combine your will with a living trust to avoid the blind spots inherent in plans that rely solely on a will. As you’ll learn below, the biggest of these blind spots is the fact that if your estate plan only consists of a will, you are guaranteeing your family has to go to court if you become incapacitated or when you die.

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Legendary Rapper DMX Dies With No Will, Millions In Debt, And 15 Children - Part 2

Legendary hip hop artist DMX—born Earl Simmons—passed away on April 9 at age 50 after suffering a massive heart attack a week earlier at his home in White Plains, New York. The heart attack was reportedly triggered by a cocaine overdose on April 2, which left the rapper hospitalized in a coma. After a week of lingering in a vegetative state, his family made the decision to remove him from life support.

As we reported last week in part one, although DMX was wildly successful in both music and movies, the rap icon experienced serious legal and financial problems, along with frequent issues with drug addiction throughout his career. Having fathered 15 children with nine different women, DMX’s money issues largely stemmed from unpaid child support, but he also failed to pay income taxes, and both of these issues would land the rapper in prison and rehab on more than one occasion. 

 

The combination of child support payments and back income taxes also left DMX deeply in debt. In fact, some estimates put DMX’s net worth at the time of death at more than $1 million in the red. However, as with other famous musicians, DMX’s overall net worth also included extensive recording and publishing royalties—valued at an estimated $17.7 million—so even though DMX’s estate will have to pay off his massive debts, there will likely be a fairly significant sum left for the late rapper’s children to inherit.

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Legendary Rapper DMX Dies With No Will, Millions In Debt, And 15 Children - Part 1

Legendary hip hop artist DMX—born Earl Simmons—passed away on April 9 at age 50 after suffering a massive heart attack a week earlier at his home in White Plains, New York. The heart attack was reportedly triggered by a cocaine overdose on April 2, which left the rapper hospitalized in a coma. After a week of lingering in a vegetative state, his family made the decision to remove him from life support.

Despite selling more than 74 million albums and enjoying a wildly successful career in both music and movies, DMX, who died without a will, left behind an estate that some estimates report being millions of dollars in debt. Even though DMX likely died deeply in debt, just weeks after his passing, multiple members of his family, which includes 15 children from nine different women, petitioned the court seeking to become administrators of the late rap star's estate.

 

While DMX’s estate may currently be in the red, his loved ones are presumably fighting over the right to control the rap icon’s recording and publishing royalties, which will likely be a lucrative source of future income. In fact, following his death, Billboard reported that DMX’s total royalties, which include the release of a posthumous album, master recording royalties, and licensing opportunities, are worth an estimated $17.7 million.

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Don't Forget To Protect Your Furry Family: Estate Planning For Your Pets

It’s sad but true that many pets end up in shelters after their owner dies or becomes incapacitated. In fact, the Humane Society estimates that between 100,00 to 500,000 pets are placed in shelters each year for exactly this reason, and a large number of these animals are ultimately euthanized.

Unfortunately, the law considers pets to be nothing more than personal property just like cars, furniture, and electronic devices. So unless you take the proper steps to include your pet in your estate plan, your beloved companion could end up in a shelter or worse following your death or incapacity.

 

In light of this cold reality, here we’ll detail how you can use estate planning to ensure your pets receive the best possible care when you’re no longer able to care for them yourself. Consult with us as your Personal Family Lawyer® to put the proper legal documents in place to provide for your furry friend’s future care.

 

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