Articles Posted in Real property

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Announcing my new book: Every Californian’s Guide to Estate Planning!

My new book, Every Californian’s Guide to Estate Planning is available now and I’m excited to share it with all of you. I wrote it because there isn’t a California-specific estate planning book out there, and we, as Californians, have some special things to deal with. In…
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New Tax Act Doubles Gift and Estate Tax Exemption: Now What?

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed a bill that makes huge changes to the American tax system—including the estate and gift tax. As of 2018, individuals can give away up to $11.2 million free of estate and gift tax, and couples can combine that to give away up to $22.4 million!…
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Refinancing a house held in a living trust

I can usually tell when mortgage rates begin to drop because my phone starts ringing with former clients who are trying to refinance.  Often, their loan broker wants them to supply assurances that, if the living trust owns the house, the trust gives the Trustee the power to mortgage the…
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Buy Low: Sell High. Pay Capital Gains Taxes.

Many of my clients come to me with a very Californian problem: they bought their home many years ago for a fraction of what that home is worth today. For example, their mid-century house near downtown cost them $125,000 in 1973 and could be sold for $3.2 million next weekend. While…
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Revocable Transfer on Death Deeds Now Allowed in California

Governor Brown has just signed into law a bill that, for the first time, allows people in California to transfer a home at death with a deed that names beneficiaries. Transfer on Death Deeds are an inexpensive way to transfer real property without having to go through the time and expense of…
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How to Work with Your Trustee/Your Beneficiaries

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article entitled, “The Trouble with Trustees” that outlined the issues that can come up between a trust beneficiary and a Trustee. The article focused on several themes that we’ve seen over the years: Frustration–a…
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State Inheritance and Estate Taxes

California is a big state, and it’s easy to get near-sighted. Because California has no state-specific gift or estate taxes, it’s easy to focus almost exclusively on the federal estate and gift tax exemptions when planning for the taxes due after there’s been a…
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Summer Time Is Here: Estate Planning on the Run

Inevitably, in the summer months, I get phone calls from people who are about to take a trip somewhere, often within just a few days. Sometimes they have a Will or a trust that’s out of date; sometimes they have no estate planning documents at all; sometimes they have just…

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