Estate Planning

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Top Five Asset Protection Strategies for 2019

An important goal of estate planning is developing asset protection strategies. With your estate plan, you can put various protections in place that protect property from your creditors and your heirs’ creditors. However, asset protection strategies can also protect your property during your lifetime. A Read more . . .

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Common and Costly Estate Planning Mistake

Q: Could how I leave money to charity cost my children more money in taxes?

A comprehensive California estate plan will not only include a will, and possibly a trust, which disposes of your property after death, but also powers of attorney, healthcare proxies and living wills that protect you and your assets in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to handle your medical or health care decisions.

While your initial estate plan should be created when you are young, it will change, sometimes often, throughout your lifetime as milestones like marriage, children, divorce, and business dealings impact the amount of your assets and who you want to leave them to. The unique LifePlan™ program at the Law Offices of Berge & Berge was designed to make it easy for clients to maintain a life-long relationship with the firm while saving money on certain estate plan revisions.

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

What Veteran's Benefits Are Available in California?

In addition to Federal Veteran’s Benefits, California offers a number of state-sponsored benefits for veterans in California. It may not always be easy to find these benefits, or understand exactly what to do when you find them, so talking with a California public benefits lawyer may be helpful, especially if you find that you have been denied for some reason.

Here is a quick guide to veteran’s benefits available to California resident veterans who have been honorably-discharged.

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Glenn Campbell Estate Faces Will Contest

Can Alzheimer’s disease impact a will contest?

The first line of the last song the late country music legend, Glenn Campbell, performed before succumbing to his longtime battle with Alzheimer’s disease was telling. This song titled, I’m Not Gonna Miss You, begins with the line, “I’m still here, but yet I’m gone…”.

Was he thinking about the three children he reportedly disinherited when he came up with the title? Will the same three children use that first line in their legal efforts to get his last will and testament thrown out? Hopefully, his estate planning attorneys took special care when creating a comprehensive estate plan for someone vulnerable to a will contest.

Sadly, the superstar’s estate has all the makings of a Read more . . .

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Five Reasons You Should Revisit Your Estate Plan After the New Tax Law

The changes to the federal tax laws in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) have far-reaching implications for many taxpayers. In addition to your personal income taxes, the changes in federal tax laws by the TCJA may impact your retirement planning and estate planning goals. As with any substantial change in tax laws, you need to review your estate plan with your..

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The End of Life Option Act Doesn’t Replace a Living Will

Q: What if any impact will California's right-to-die law have on estate planning?

The End of Life Option Act, also known as California’s right-to-die law, was recently reinstated. The highly controversial law allows terminally ill people whose doctor has determined they only have six months or less to live to obtain a prescription to end their life.

A significant portion of a comprehensive California estate plan has nothing to do with transferring assets upon death --which is generally accomplished through a last will and testament and/or trust document.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What is a Tax By-Pass Trust?

Using a By-Pass or A/B Trust was a popular way of avoiding estate taxes by couples that had a high-value estate. With the recent changes to the tax code, many couples no longer need to worry about avoiding federal estate taxes. Therefore, the use of Tax By-Pass Trusts may not be as common in estate planning moving forward. However, for some couples, an A/B Trust may still provide some benefits that outweigh any disadvantages of using a Tax By-Pass Trust.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Housing Market and Fertility Rates May Impact Bay Area Estate Planning

Q: Is the housing market impacting Bay Area estate planning?

Many people don't realize that once they turn 18, they need an estate plan. This is true because tragedy can strike at any age and because a comprehensive estate plan includes more than just a last will and testament disposing of your property upon death. It also includes documents to provide for your incapacity prior to dying.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Five Ways Medicaid Asset Protection Planning Can Benefit You

Eventually, you may need to place a family member in a nursing home or assisted care facility. Unfortunately, the cost of long-term care is increasing each year. The average cost per month for a nursing home in California was approximately $7,450 for a semi-private room according to one

Read more . . .

Monday, June 4, 2018

Sheltering an Inheritance from a Spendthrift Child

Q: How can I prevent my adult child from blowing their inheritance?

From the moment most people become parents, they want to take care of their children. For many, it’s a feeling that never goes away. In fact, children estate planning is often what first brings a young couple into the office for an estate plan.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

How Public Benefits Attorneys Can Help the Disabled

Q: Can a San Jose attorney help me get disability benefits?

One of the reasons that people put off seeing a Bay Area estate planning attorney is that they're uncomfortable facing the inevitability of their eventual death.

And for many who do have professional estate plans prepared, they don't realize the changes in circumstances along life's path often necessitate updates to that plan.

Read more . . .

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