Articles Posted in Trust administration

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Keeping Your Important Docs Safe From Fire

California’s recent fires in Butte County certainly got me thinking about my family’s important documents and how best to store them safely. It is so hard to imagine losing everything and having to rebuild from the ground up. Storing our most important documents in a firesafe box…
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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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California Passes New Law Allowing Executors and Trustees Access to Digital Assets

As of January 1, 2017, California has a new law (The Revised Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act) that allows executors and trustees to gain disclosure of a person’s digital assets after the original user’s death under certain conditions. This is a good thing because, until…
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FDIC Insurance for Trust Accounts

Most people know that the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insures bank accounts for up to $250,000 per depositor per covered bank. This insurance was increased from $100,000 to $250,000 in 2008, to reassure people during the chaos of the financial meltdown that started in that…
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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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Keeping Families Out of Court: Trust and Estates Mediation

As an estate planner, I get calls often from disgruntled beneficiaries, concerned parents, frustrated Trustees, or distrustful siblings.  Death and money don’t always bring out the best in families. But despite countless books, movies and television shows, rushing to court isn’t…
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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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