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Should I Add My Child to the Home?

Many answers to questions from attorneys begin with, “It depends,” followed by a long list of rules, which themselves are followed by a longer list of exceptions. This is not one of those answers! Instead, the answer to whether you should add your child to the home deed is almost always, “Never.” There are many…

Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) – A Primer

What is Qualified Small Business Stock and Why Is It Important?  Shares of a “qualified small business” (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code) issued after August 10, 1993 are referred to as “qualified small business stock” or “QSBS”.  Provided certain requirements are met, the sale of QSBS receives favorable tax treatment. This is particularly…

AB150: What you need to know to save on taxes

On July 16, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 150 into law. This bill enables certain California taxpayers to write off more than the $10,000 limit placed on state and local tax (SALT) deductions — but it’s not automatic, you need to know what to do to get this relief. BRIEF HISTORY OF SALT…

They say we die twice.

This is a picture of me and my uncle (who I call “Mama”) taken when I first moved to Michigan from India. Mama was the world’s greatest listener, as you can see even in this picture. He passed away in February of this year. Almost ten years ago, when I left the DA’s office, I flew…

What does per stirpes mean?

Per Stirpes vs. Per Capita at Each Generation? Say What? While engineering your estate plan, you’re likely to come across the terms “per capita at each generation” or “per stirpes.” (No, we are not talking about stripes here. Unfortunately, your estate plan is not available in stripes, houndstooth, or gingham).  Instead, these terms are options…

Why file a Form 706?

IRS Form 706 is commonly known as an “Estate Tax Return.” It is not well-known even by most accountants and is rarely filed. But estate planning lawyers will swear by them! So what’s the deal? Why are they so elusive to some, and yet so important to file according to others? Usually, there is a…

How Trust Administration Works: Each Step Explained

HOW TRUST ADMINISTRATION WORKS What happens if someone creates a trust and then dies? Now what? The person in charge is called the “successor trustee.” Being a successor trustee is an honor and privilege since the person who created the trust (the “Decedent”) trusted your judgement and character to allow you to exercise control over…

How a Probate Works: Each Step Explained

How Probate Works If your loved one has passed away and left behind certain assets, you may or may not have to go to court in order to access or inherit those assets. You can learn more about what a probate is generally and why it occurs by reading our article, What is a Probate? …

Should I name my trust as the owner or a beneficiary?

This is a common question from those who set up living trusts. First off, if you are contemplating NOT doing a trust because you plan on just owning an account in your personal name, and you figure by naming other individuals as your beneficiaries, you are fine, then please read why you should not rely…

Do beneficiary or joint accounts avoid probate?

Whether intentionally or not, some people are of the opinion that a trust is not necessary either because they have someone else named on their account or because there is a beneficiary. So does beneficiary-designated accounts or joint accounts still go through probate? Well, it depends. Keep reading… Beneficiary Accounts If an asset has a…

What is a probate?

WHAT IS A PROBATE? You may think that after your loved one passes away, everything they own will simply go to their spouse, children, siblings, or closest family members. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.    With a few exceptions discussed below, when you die, your assets will go through court. This is called probate. (For…

What is a QTIP Trust?

It’s not the QTIP you’re thinking of! To better understand this concept, it’s advised that you first read my article about estate taxes and then my article on bypass trusts. The QTIP trust is a popularly-used strategy to limit potential estate taxes among married individuals, while also being able to control the destination of assets…

What is an ILIT?

Why set up an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT)? An irrevocable life insurance trust (referred to as an ILIT) is a type of irrevocable trust that typically is used to own life insurance policies on your life.  Instead of you owning the policy and naming your family members as the beneficiaries, the ILIT will own…

in-SECURE: Why you May Need to Update your Trust

Feeling in-SECURE? In January of this year, a new law came into effect known as the SECURE Act, which is the most impactful legislation affecting retirement accounts in decades.  You may have read politicians applaud the bill but be very weary — what Congress cloaked under the guise of “freebies” turns out to be nothing…

What happens when a beneficiary dies?

When a Beneficiary Dies “When the RMS Titanic sank into the icy waters of the North Atlantic, one of the lesser-known problems it raised was how to handle the estates of married couples who refused to part as the ship went down. Several women chose to remain with their husbands on board the ship instead…

What is the estate tax?

Understanding the Estate and Gift Tax There are two types of federal taxes.  The first, and more well-known one, is called income tax. The second type of tax is known as transfer taxes.  There are three kinds of transfer taxes: the gift tax, the generation-skipping transfer tax, and the federal estate tax.   One of the…

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