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Suze Orman or other form trusts MIGHT work ok

I got a new case recently where the person who died had a Suze Orman will and trust. Let’s just say, in legal terms, it’s all messed up! Before I go on let me make clear that Suze has a well deserved reputation as a financial guru. She has helped millions of people get their […]

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New Tax Laws and YOU

Unless you live under a rock, deep in a cave, you have heard about the new tax act that Congress is putting together. This is not a political commentary on that act. More importantly a few things to remember: – With regards to estate tax very few people reading this need to worry about that […]

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Bad deeds

I have had multiple cases recently where title companies have refused to honor deeds recorded around the time of death. That is, the person just before death signed a deed to transfer the property to another. In each case the facts are slightly different. Before I explain more let me tell you that, in my […]

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Estate planning lessons from other’s mistakes

On March 11, 2016 I got the call of a lifetime… and I do not mean that in a good way. I got the call from the police, in Logan, Utah, that my mother had been shot to death by her husband. This is not a post about domestic abuse, gun control or mental health […]

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New Years Resolutions

Each year I am told of clients who had a new years resolution to “Get our estate plan done this year….” Each year they tell me they failed to do it until finally they came to see me. Often they tell me “the estate planning process was much easier than we thought it would be….” […]

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Stuff happens… so finish your estate plan

Every year it happens. Every year I get to the end of the year and am amazed that some people I met with months ago have not finished their estate plans yet. People who have had rough drafts mailed to them long ago. People who have been reminded that they should get it done.  People […]

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The Most Practical Estate Planning Blog Post EVER

After over 20 years as an estate planning attorney I feel pretty well qualified in giving people advice on estate planning matters. I have helped plan for death and I have helped clean up after death; hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times. Also, this year, I have dealt with the clean up after my […]

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“A good plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow”

“A good plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow” I am told that George Patton gets credit for this quote but it applies to estate planning as well.  Please get your estate plan done and then improve it later. No estate plan means no protection! I often meet with people who can’t decide […]

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Reverse Estate Planning to get a step up in basis

I heard a great presentation recently by a CPA. He was talking about, what he calls, “reverse estate planning.” Say what? Well, we all know that the focus in estate planning has changed from estate taxes (death taxes) to capital gains tax (income taxes). This CPA had a great idea to improve people’s basis. As […]

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Top 10 Estate Planning Mistakes

As a California estate planning and probate attorney I see both sides.  I see the planning process and I see what happens, after death, when the planning wasn’t done right.  Here is a top 10 list of estate planning mistakes: 10. Name your estate the beneficiary on your IRA, 401k, and other retirement plans. This […]

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