In April, President Trump proposed a tax plan that, among other cuts, eliminates the estate tax altogether.  The current federal estate tax is 40% on estates exceeding $5.49 million.  While ending the tax might seem beneficial at face value, it could have serious implications for estate planning and end-of-life decision making.  There are two problems…

The start of a new year is a good time to consider upcoming changes in the tax laws that may affect your estate planning in 2017. The federal estate tax exemption is increasing slightly in 2017.  Estates of individual decedents who pass away in 2017 will be exempt from federal estate taxes up to $5,490,000,…

Families with college bound children face the hurdle of paying for tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses.  While there are many savings options, one of the most popular is the “529 plan.”  This article discusses 529 plans and how they can help with estate planning and saving for college. A 529 plan is…

The Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) has recently submitted to the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission a rule change proposal designed to provide more protection for elderly investors. As recently reported by the Investment News, the new rules modify FINRA’s rules that require its members to maintain the confidentiality of their customer’s financial information.  According to FINRA, the new rules are…

Many California living trusts contain a “spendthrift clause”— a clause designed to protect trust assets from claims made by a beneficiary’s creditors.  Spendthrift provisions commonly include a “shutdown clause,” which stops payments to a beneficiary during any time that the trust could be subject to creditors’ claims.  A recent decision held that under California Probate…

As this dismal election season slouches towards Gomorrah, we examine the candidates’ positions on two issues familiar to San Francisco Bay Area trust and probate attorneys—the federal estate tax and the “step up” basis rule for capital gains. The federal estate tax is a tax levied upon a person’s estate at their death.  (Some states…

Many baby boomers—the 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964—have retired or are heading toward retirement, with roughly 10,000 retiring every day.  Are they prepared?  Based on savings statistics and actuarial charts, the answer is a resounding no.  Insufficient savings and a lack of planning paint a gloomy picture for many retirees.  This means…

What To Do To Make Your Passing Financially Sound Clients typically consider their estate planning at three predictable junctures in their lives: when they first have children and are concerned about who will raise them if “something happens” when their children are grown and need to be named as successor trustees when they are old,…

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