Are All Wills a Matter of Public Record?

Your last Will and Testament is essentially your instructions to the Probate Court as to how you would like your estate distributed.   When you die and your will is submitted to the court, a probate case is opened.  As with any legal case brought before the court, it becomes a matter of public record. Most […]

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Is a Living Trust a Public Record?

This seems to be a very common question.  Many clients assume that they, are and ask how they are supposed to go about recording them.  The answer in fact is the opposite.  Living Trusts are not required to be recorded, are not designed to be recorded and in nearly all circumstances should not be recorded. […]

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Are All Grantor Trusts Revocable?

Most, but not all grantor trusts are revocable, but all revocable living trusts are grantor trusts.  Generally speaking, a grantor trust status does not hinge on whether a trust is revocable or irrevocable, but whether the grantor is responsible, in whole or in part for taxes on the income produced by the trust assets.  There […]

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Can An Irrevocable Trust Be Amended?

One of the defining features of an Irrevocable Trust is that it cannot be amended, either at it’s outset, or at the occurrence of a specified event, such as the death of the Grantor. Sometimes an irrevocable trust contains the ability for it to be modified through the use of a power of appointment.  A […]

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Administering an Estate through Probate With or Without a Will

Only a Trust Avoids the Probate Process In California, a probate process will need to be initiated in order to administer the estate if the decedent passed with no estate planning (Will or Trust). Probate is a Court-Supervised processed that involves a 6-8 month minimum process (more often 15 months or more) in order to […]

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Is This Your Situation — Worried about Taxes on an Asset Sale?

There is always a temptation to just sell off assets that you’ve accumulated and take the cash. But that generally  results in a tax bill. There may be a way to profit more from those assets by giving them away.  By setting up a charitable remainder trust (CRT), you might be able to transform a tax liability […]

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Naming Trusts as Designated Beneficiaries of Retirement Accounts

Treasury Regulations Permit Naming Trusts as (Designated) Beneficiaries of Retirement Accounts While often viewed as a “gray” area, the reality is that a trust can absolutely become eligible for designated beneficiary treatment, qualifying as a “see-through” trust where the post-death RMDs are calculated based on the life expectancy of the oldest of the trust’s underlying […]

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Funding a Living Trust

How Do Life Insurance and Qualified Retirement Plans Fit In? The most important aspect of owning a Revocable Living Trust is ensuring that your assets are titled in the name of the Trust and therefore owned by the Trust. There is an exception to this rule, that involves Qualified Retirement Plans (QRP’s), which include your […]

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Can a Creditor Go After Non-Probate Assets?

When someone dies, one of the first questions that close relatives usually have is whether they are personally responsible to pay the credit card bills of the decedent. They may even start getting telephone calls from creditors asking them to pay outstanding balances. Close relatives may also want to know: Who is responsible for paying […]

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What Financial Advisors Should Look for When Reviewing Client(s) Living Trusts

After practicing estate planning for almost 20 years, I’ve learned that having estate-planning documents doesn’t always mean the estate planning goals are being accomplished. Usually, this is a result of not clarifying objectives before legal documents are drafted, or failing to review and update legal documents when significant life changes occur. As a primer for […]

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