Silicon Valley Estate Planning Journal

News and Articles from the Law Offices of John C. Martin

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29 Posts in Estate Plan Maintenance

Recovering Emotionally from Past Financial Errors

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Most of us will admit to having made some financial mistakes we regret—running up credit card debt, impulse buying, or making a bad investment or business decision. While there can be significant devastation, the key is to move beyond regret into productive action. What, then, are some strategies that can restore a person’s self-confidence and […]

Passion Investing as a Spark to Your Life

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Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and over 50% of the Fortune 400’s The Richest People in America list have decided to give away their wealth for charitable pursuits. Of course, not many of us have that kind of money or are inclined to give away all we own. However, giving to charitable organizations is something that […]

The (Un)Usefulness of a Bypass Trust and How to Avoid the Consequences If You Are Stuck With One

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During the past several decades, estate planners recommended the use of AB Trusts for nearly every client. The use of AB Trusts was based upon the fact that the estate tax applicable exemption amount (“AEA”) was not automatically “doubled” if one was married. The AB Trust was developed to solve this problem, by providing that […]

Budgeting, Part 1: Budgeting as a Friend and not a Foe

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Budgets do control spending behavior. However, budgets also allocate resources to the areas of highest impact or interest. When a budget is structured based on priorities and values, much of the controlling element is removed. Using budgets at work is understood and expected. A company has a limited amount of money and so must allocate […]

Strategies for Those Awkward Financial Discussions

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There may be people close to you (spouse, parents, children) who are practicing financial behaviors that are unproductive or destructive. You want to help them get back on track, but you don’t want to come across as judgmental or condescending, or put them on the defensive. The Key Takeaways • Living within one’s means liberates […]

Who Should Be Your Successor Trustee?

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If you have a revocable living trust, you probably named yourself as trustee so you can continue to manage your own financial affairs, but eventually someone will need to step in for you when you are no longer able to act due to incapacity or after your death.  The Successor Trustee plays an important role […]

How to Choose a Trustee

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When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee basically does what you do right now with your financial affairs—collect income, pay bills and taxes, save and invest for the future, buy and sell assets, provide for your loved ones, keep accurate records and generally keep things organized and in […]

Organize Information for Your Family

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Think for a few moments about what would happen if you suddenly became incapacitated or died. Would your spouse or family know what to do? Would they know where to find important records, assets and insurance documents? Would they be able to access (or even know about) online accounts or files on your computer? Would […]

What to Do with an Inherited IRA

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IRAs are among the largest assets inherited by heirs and beneficiaries. These accounts have been able to grow to such large amounts because income taxes are deferred until the owner begins to take distributions, usually after reaching age 70 ½.   Those who inherit an IRA must be very careful to follow the rules, which […]

Young Adults Need Estate Planning, Too

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Once a child turns 18, parents lose the legal ability to make decisions for their child or even to find out basic information. Learning you cannot see your college student’s grades without his/her permission can be mildly frustrating. But a medical emergency can take this frustration to a completely different level. The parents (or a […]

Planning For Incapacity and Long-Term Care

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Planning For Incapacity and Long-Term Care With people living longer due to advances in medicine and changes in lifestyle, odds are that most of us will become disabled for some time before we die and may need long-term care. Unfortunately, too few plan for an event that is more likely to be a probability than […]

Time is Running Out to Save Unprecedented Amounts in Taxes

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Time is Running Out to Save Unprecedented Amounts in Taxes For the rest of 2012, every American can transfer up to $5.12 million free of federal gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax—and estate planners are doing everything they can to motivate their clients to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. To understand why this is […]

Naming a Guardian for Your Minor Child(ren)

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Naming a Guardian for Your Minor Child(ren) Parents with minor children need to name someone to raise them (a guardian) in the event both parents should die before the child becomes an adult. While the likelihood of that actually happening is slim, the consequences of not naming a guardian are great. If no guardian is […]

Life Insurance: How Much and What Kind?

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Life Insurance: How Much and What Kind? Life insurance can be an affordable way to provide for our children, spouse, a sibling, aging parents and others if we should die while they are depending on us. Life insurance proceeds can provide extra income to help pay ongoing household bills and child care; pay off a […]

Estate Planning for Women

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Estate Planning for Women  While estate planning is important for everyone, women especially need to understand estate planning and have a plan of their own in place. Here are some issues that are of particular interest to women and their estate planning. Incapacity. Because women, on average, live longer than men, there is an increased […]

Using an Advisory Team

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The Advisory Team Approach to Estate Planning Estate planning is not simply the documents prepared by an attorney, nor is it the insurance and financial plan recommended by a financial advisor. Properly done, estate planning encompasses at least the legal and financial elements, but it may include more, as estate planning often points out the […]

Four More Common Estate Planning Mistakes

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Here are four more common mistakes in estate planning. If your plan is in place and current, this will serve as more validation that you are on the right track. Feel free to share this information with friends and family members, especially those who may not have a plan in place.  1. Not having a […]

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

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From time to time, it’s good to review why having a complete, up-to-date estate plan is so important. In addition to confirming our own actions, it can provide us with valuable information to pass along to friends and family who, for whatever reasons, have yet to act. So, here are five common estate planning mistakes […]