Articles Posted in Tax Planning

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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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Single? No Estate Plan? Bad Idea
A few months ago, the New York Times published an article entitled, “Single? No Children? No Will? Big Mistake.” I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since. The author writes, “Certain people never reach one of those obvious points in their lives to write one. If…
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How to Keep Your Old Property Tax Rate for a New House if You Are Over 55
I was recently at a friend’s house, and, accidentally made someone’s day. This is not a usual occurrence for me, but I did enjoy it.  Here’s what happened: a woman that I didn’t know told me that she had inherited her parents’ house in Berkeley. Because she had…
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It’s Fall: Custodial Accounts, 529 Plans And Paying For College
As the season turns and it starts to feel like Fall, many parents are either paying college tuition bills or worrying about paying them. Many of my clients have asked me how 529 college savings plans or custodial accounts are counted when colleges consider financial aid. Here are the basic…
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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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What to Do if Your Child’s Custodial Account is Too Big?
Custodial accounts are an easy way to hold money for a minor child’s benefit. They have many advantages.  They’re free-it’s easy to open up a custodial account at any bank or financial services company.  (You’ll know if an account is custodial in California because…
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