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California’s End of Life Option Act Will Be Effective June 9, 2016

On October 5, 2015, Governor Brown signed the End of Life Option Act into law. The law requires that two doctors determine that a patient has six months or less to live before the lethal drugs can be prescribed. Patients also must be mentally competent to make medical decisions and be able…
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Do You Know Where Your Parents’ Will or Trust Is?

If the answer to that question is, “N0!” you are in good company. A recent survey by Caring.com of 1,000 adults found that less than half of the adults surveyed (45.8%) knew where their parents’ documents were. When asked if they even knew whether or not their parents had…
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Sometimes It is the Little Things: Arguing About Stuff

Estate planning is often motivated by the big things. I’m not getting philosophical here. Forget about life and death. On a practical level, what brings families into my office are often the big financial assets–the house, the brokerage accounts, the retirement assets, and a…
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Taking Parents Off the Hook

The New York Times published an interesting story this weekend on the expectations that parents and children have with respect to inheritances. The article summarized a study published in The Gerontologist last year, in which older adults and their children were polled on whether or not they…
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Too Old to Drive?

This week, an elderly driver lost control of his car and crashed into a cafe on University Avenue in Palo Alto, injuring six, including himself. News reports say that the driver was trying to park, and accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal. As we, or our parents, age,…
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Building Up Your Own Credit Score After Your Spouse Dies

Losing your spouse is hard enough. But some surviving spouses also discover that they lose their ability to get credit  as well.  This is because they have no independent credit history since all of the couple’s credit cards and loans were in the name of the deceased…
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Beware of gifts that are pegged to the tax code

Today, I was reading a trust written in the late 1990’s. In it, the Grantor made a gift to her grandchildren that was to be equal to the Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) tax exemption. This is the amount of money that a person can give to someone, like a grandchild, who is more…
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Who to Name as a Beneficiary for Your Life Insurance

Lately, I’ve had a lot of questions from clients about life insurance policies and who to name as beneficiaries. Here’s what I tell most people to do: Name YOUR TRUST as the beneficiary (if you have a trust) Name YOUR SPOUSE as the beneficiary (if you don’t have a…

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