Professional Trustee of Family Member Trustee?

I always call a trust a legal bucket because it holds property just like a bucket holds property. If you spend all the time to create a trust and you do not fill it with your property it may not be affected by the terms of your trust document. I also call the trust a bucket so that people understand their relationship with the property that they transfer into a trust. A “trustee” is the boss of the trust. Most clients create a “revocable” or “living” trust. This kind of trust is good for most of my clients because it can later be amended when life situations or the law changes. In these cases, the client is typically the first trustee of the trust. This means they are the boss. They are the

Taking advantage of your “Step Up” in Basis

If a loved one has passed away and left you property, you may be entitled to what is referred to as a “step up” in basis for tax purposes. Knowing what it is and how to take advantage of it is an important tax avoidance strategy. If you have recently received property through and inheritance, read on to find out more. Form 8971 An executor who is administering over an estate is required to file two different tax forms. One is the estate or trusts income tax statement, which is like the statement that you regularly file as an individual. The second form is not one that you typically file with the IRS as an individual, this is called the form 8971. The 8971 form lists the property that each be

Three Ways to Protect your Important Documents when a Natural Disaster Strikes

You never know when a natural disaster will strike your family’s home. When I was just eleven our family suffered a house fire which destroyed almost all our possessions. Some family photos and heirlooms survived, but still smell of smoke to this day. You may have seen the recent images of the wild fires that swept California last year. Your hearts probably go out to the victims of these disasters. You may have even questioned whether you are ready for such a natural disaster yourself. When creating a plan for your family if a natural disaster does strike, you should include in that plan a section for how to protect your important papers. I have, and I have mentioned a few methods that you m

5 Grave Estate Planning Mistakes that Might be Present in your Plan or your Loved One’s Plan

Many do not pay enough attention to estate planning, which can often cost families tens to hundreds of dollars, but worse can sometimes cost the family precious relationships. When people do become interested in estate planning as a gift to themselves and their loved ones, however, there are critical mistakes that many families make. Below I have listed five such mistakes for you to look out for: 1. Failing to make an estate plan at all. This mistake is most common among younger families who mistakenly think that estate planning is only for the elderly. In the state of California, if you own a home or have minors and a life insurance policy, it is time to create an estate plan. When you do n

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