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Estate Planning For Blended Families

Many of our clients have so-called “blended” families. In such a family, one or both spouses have children from a prior marriage. Each spouse often has an equally strong desire to provide for their spouse (should spouse survive them) as well as provide for their children from a prior marriage. As a result, practitioners frequently recommend the type of revocable living trust that creates a decedent’s trust upon the first spouse’s death. In most cases, this decedent’s trust will provide the surviving spouse with income and...


Maximizing Your Parent-Child Exclusion

Introduction – Why the Parent Child Exclusion is Important California real estate owners pay property taxes based on the net assessed value of their property at a rate of around 1.2% per year. For example, if the net assessed value of your home is $1,000,000, your property tax bill is likely around $12,000 per year. There is often great disparity between net assessed value and fair market value as a result of the voter initiative referred to as Proposition 13. Proposition 13 “caps” the annual increase...


Unitrust conversion

Investment performance is measured, in large part, by total return on investment under modern portfolio theory. For most, not much thought is given to whether the return on investment is dividend/interest income or growth. However, the difference is critical when it comes to income-only trusts. A staple of estate planning for married couples involves the division assets between a survivor’s trust and a decedent’s trust after the first spouse’s death. Most decedent’s trusts grant the surviving spouse a right to all income from the decedent’s trust....


Structuring The Sibling Buyout For Inherited Property

A new client told me that she wants to “buy out” her brother. They recently inherited an apartment complex from their father’s estate. They both want to manage it, but they know they won’t work well together. Their management styles differ – she wants to apply income to much needed repairs and updates, while he wants to raise the rent and put money in his pocket now. I reviewed the property’s chain of title and learned that the property had already been distributed out of her...