Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
For many people these days, working remotely is the way business gets done, and California Document Preparers is able to accommodate clients who live outside the greater Bay Area. We frequently get calls from those who are located in different parts of California or even different states who would like our assistance in creating legal documents.
Last month, “Jo” called to inquire about our Living Trust package. We provided a brief explanation of our services, detailed the pricing and suggested that she come into our office so we could show her samples, review the process, and answer her questions. As it turned out, Jo lived in Calaveras County and driving to our office represented two-plus hours each way. We further explained our process and the documents we would be preparing. She gave us her email address and we sent her our Trust overview, workbook and price list.
Barely one week later, Jo emailed us the completed workbookShe was very impressed with our customer service, paid us by credit card and scheduled a meeting to review and sign the Trust and other estate-planning documents because she had decided it was worth the long drive.
We are always happy to work remotely with our clients by answering questions, forwarding materials and transacting as much business as possible by phone and email. Most of our clients are from the greater Bay Area, so we develop a face-to-face relationship while working on their documents. We look forward to clients from the Central Valley, Southern California and northern counties coming in to complete the signing of their Trusts. It gives us the opportunity to meet them in person, walk them through the contents of the Trust and explain the funding process.
Remote clients can arrange for the Trust’s signing in a convenient locationIn those cases where our remote clients cannot meet in our offices for the signing, they can arrange the signing with a local notary. We send detailed instructions for the signing process, highlighting those areas of the Trust and other estate-planning documents that require signatures, initials and dates.
Because of our personal attention and service, Jo’s brother and friends have become Living Trust clients as well. We believe our thoroughness makes a difference. We do not charge for our time and are happy to answer questions. We want our clients to be informed and comfortable about the decisions they are making. Ask any small business owner: the best compliment he/she can receive is a referral of new business from a happy client.
Creating a Living Trust is an important part of your retirement planningContact California Document Preparers at one of our three Bay Area offices today to schedule an appointment. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
If you think you’ve lost your Will
In the eyes of the law, if a Will is lost, it is presumed to be revoked
What happens if you have lost your Trust?
If you lose your Trust or Will while you are still alive
Where should I keep my Trust?
Is a safe deposit box the answer?
Most importantly, make sure your family knows the location of your Trust
Creating a Living Trust is an important part of end-of-life planning
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Remember the old thing about “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?”
Summary Dissolution: A simplified Divorce process
Qualifications for Summary Dissolution are fairly stringent:
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
“Julie” came in to our Oakland office to get more information about creating a Living Trust. She and her husband headed a blended family, and theirs was a complex scenario. Wanting to avoid going to an attorney, she was hoping we could help her. She and her husband, “Jerry”, had both been previously married, and each brought children and assets to their relationship.
Julie and Jerry owned two properties together, and they agreed that these properties would go to Jerry if she passed away first; after he died, they would be divided among their collective five children. Julie also owned four properties that were in her name only, and she wanted these properties to go directly to her three children when she died--not to Jerry or his two children.
After carefully reviewing her estate and options, she decided to prepare two Trusts:
- A Joint Trust would be created to hold their community assets, including the two properties that Julie and Jerry owned together. They agreed that the surviving spouse would inherit these assets. After he the surviving spouse died, these assets, including the properties, would be equally distributed among the couple’s five children.
- An individual Trust would be created just for those four properties Julie owned as her separate property; upon her death they would be distributed among Julie’s three children only.
This was a clever way to separate assets, allowing for different distribution strategies
- We would help Julie and Jerry transfer title of their jointly owned properties into the Joint Trust, and these assets would go to the surviving spouse. After the death of the survivor, these would go to the beneficiaries they named in their Joint Trust.
- We would also help Julie transfer title of her separate properties to her Individual Trust. Since their Joint Trust can be amended by the surviving party, Julie took the extra precaution of segregating these properties because her Individual Trust becomes irrevocable and unamendable after she dies. Julie wanted to avoid any confusion about wanting to distribute the four separate properties among her three biological children.
Creating a Living Trust is an important part of end-of-life planningContact California Document Preparers at one of our three Bay Area offices today to schedule an appointment. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Jane Bryant Quinn discusses timing of Social Security payouts
What about the strategy of drawing social security at 62 and investing the money?
A valid case for drawing Social Security at 62
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
A recent experience with a Living Trust client brought up an issue that frequently surfaces for those who are dividing their estates among their children. “Joe” and “Marilyn” were planning to gift real property equally to their son, “Tony” and daughter, “Sarah”. In the beneficiary section of the Trust, they also were granting the residue (the remaining assets after all specific gifts have been made) of their Trust estate to Tony and Sarah equally.
In each case they named an alternate beneficiary in the event something happened to either Tony or Sarah. For both the property and the residue, the alternate beneficiary was the other sibling. This seems straightforward, but it creates potentially significant property tax ramifications for Tony and Sarah.
Background: Prop 58 excludes transfer of real property from reassessmentIn 1986, voters in California approved Proposition 58, which excludes real property from being reassessed when it is transferred from parent to child. When the primary residence is transferred, there is no limit on the value of the property. For property other than the primary residence, there is a limit of $1 million per transferor.
This means that instead of reassessing the property at its current value, the assessment of the current Prop 13 value results in significantly lower property taxes. For Joe and Marilyn and their family, this means that when the property is transferred equally to Tony and Sarah, there will be no reassessment at that time (if they wish to exercise their exemption).
Sarah and her family are living in the primary residenceThe situation gets a little more complicated with this family, as it does with many of our clients. Sarah and her own family are currently living in the property and plan to remain there after Joe and Marilyn die. Sarah can buy Tony out, but the assessor will treat the transfer this time as that of one sibling to another—which means that this time it will be without the exemption, so that 50% of the property would be reassessed at current values. In today’s inflated real estate market, this could result in an increase of a few hundred thousand dollars in assessed value and skyrocketing property taxes.
This scenario caused our clients to reconsiderJoe and Marilyn began rethinking how they would split their estate between their children. If they included the property as part of the residue of the estate, this gave Tony and Sarah additional options. If the Trustee valued the total of the estate and then split the estate, one half could include the home that one child wanted and the other half would include a total of equal real and liquid assets. With this scenario, the transfer of the home to Sarah would qualify for the exemption on the entire value of the home. No buyout would be required and no transfer from one sibling to the other would be necessary—avoiding the potentially huge property-tax burden. Tony could receive real property and assets equal to the value of the property that Sarah was inheriting.
California Document Preparers assists clients with the creation of Living Trusts, transferring property into the Trusts, and assisting Successor Trustees in transferring properties to beneficiaries. We also can assist in transferring property to your children now. The implications of the Parent-Child Exemption should be considered in any Deed transfers between parents and children.
Contact California Document Preparers at one of our three Bay Area offices today to schedule an appointment or to get more information to help make informed decisions. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable.