Thank Congress if You Made Big Gifts in 2012

Hank Wittenberg has a great article on estateplanning.com on why those of you who did year end planning in 2012 made the right choice, even though Congress extended the generous gift and estate tax exclusions with the American Taxpayer Relief Act. The tax act signed into law by President Obama last week provided some very good estate planning provisions. Surprisingly, I have … [More...]

Thank Congress if You Made Big Gifts in 2012

Hank Wittenberg has a great article on estateplanning.com on why those of you who did year end planning in 2012 made the right choice, even though Congress extended the generous gift and estate tax exclusions with the American Taxpayer Relief Act. The tax act signed into law by President Obama last week provided some very good estate planning provisions. Surprisingly, I have … [More...]

Advice from Jeff Bezos

From the 37 Signals blog (via GeekWire). Jeff Bezos says smart people change their mind. The smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking. This doesn’t mean you … [More...]

Lifetime Bypass Trust

Until December 31, the lifetime gift tax exclusion is $5,120,000 per person. Unless Congress acts, this amount will drop to $1,000,000 on January 1, 2013.  It is usually best to use a tax exemption as soon as possible – use it or lose it. The opportunity, good now through the December 31, is to gift assets out of your estate and forever exempt the assets and all future … [More...]

8. You Can Give Your Children Divorce and Asset Protection

This is part 8 in my series, Estate Planning – What You Need to Know. Part 8 - You Can Give Your Children Divorce and Asset Protection. Of the thousands of clients I’ve worked with, most know how they want to distribute their assets when they die:  For married couples, it’s usually to the surviving spouse and then in equal shares to their children.  For a … [More...]

How We Can Help You

We are an intentionally small California law firm based in Sacramento. We help families with estate planning (things like living trusts, irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts, wills, trust administration and probate), we counsel entrepreneurs and small business owners, set up corporations and LLCs, and we help churches and nonprofits with planned giving. We will treat you like we would want to be treated. This means we will be kind, we will teach you about legal issues- not lecture you.  We will return phone calls and emails usually in a few hours, and we will charge a fair fixed fee (we rarely bill by the hour – we think you should know in advance what it will cost). Our clients like working with us, and almost all our work comes from client referrals.

Recent Posts

cash gift

Year End Gifting

One month left to use your $13,000 per person annual gift exclusion for 2011. You can gift to anyone $13,000 per year with no gift tax. If you are married you can double the tax free gift. That's $26,000 per person. If you are thinking about gifting to your children or grandchildren, now might be a good time. … [More...]

The Future is Here

Here is an amazing presentation by Roger McNamee on the future of the internet, web and your business and life. Fascinating and exciting. Trust me. It's worth 15 minutes of your time even though he's wearing a purple sweatshirt. Thanks to Mitch Joel. … [More...]

This is Grit

In previous posts I've discussed GRIT as the essential attribute for success - not brains, talent, discipline or hard work, which are all important. But Grit is the difference maker. This is Grit. I just met Clare's father last week. And her story is truly amazing.   … [More...]

Trust Administration for a Parent

If your parent passes away there are things you will need to do, even if he or she has a living trust. But not immediately. Take the time to attend to family matters. Usually a few weeks later is soon enough to sort out the estate issues. If your mom or dad had a living trust and had transferred their assets to the trust, then things should go well, but there are things that must be done, including: File pour-over will with the county probate court Mail notice to CA Dept. of Health Care Services Send statutory notice to the trust beneficiaries Send copies of the trust to beneficiaries if they request one Make a list of all the estate assets and values and creditors and debts Keep track … [More...]

Teddy Roosevelt

Entrepreneur’s Creed

Originality is good, but ageless wisdom from old words can cut right to the soul. Worth reading again this classic creed from Teddy Roosevelt tailor made for entrepreneurs and those considering becoming one. It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a … [More...]

Sweater

Give Away That Sweater

We are now shifting from late summer to fall and winter in northern California. Each year at this time, I look in my closet for a sweater to wear when I'm working at home. Each time I find sweaters I really like (comfortable, right look and feel) and sweaters I've never really worn (often the more expensive ones I received as a gift that require dry cleaning). Each year I try to like the expensive stylish sweaters, but I never end up wearing them. I sometimes feel guilty, like I'm wasting them. So to not waste them, I put one on and hate it, and immediately change. This year I've decided to give those expensive sweaters I don't like to my nephews and stick to what I like, and not feel guilty or that … [More...]

Weapons of Mass Instruction

It Is Within Your Reach

We were trained in school that we need specialists. We were not trained to solve problems or to discover on our own what to do next. As John Taylor Gatto writes in his excellent book Weapons of Mass Instruction: How were we ever tricked into believing that specialists are needed for matters well within the reach of ordinary people? How did we come to think so little of ourselves. If you are an entrepreneur or considering becoming one, don't sell yourself short. You are more capable than you believe and more capable then your education system has conditioned you to believe. … [More...]

Old man reading

Fall Reading List

Here is Seth Godin's Fall Reading List. Worth a look and a read. Investing in your brain is investing in your success.   … [More...]

Grim reaper

Gift Tax Exclusion Use It or Lose It

There is a little over one year left to gift up to $5M without a gift tax. If you have a large estate or if your parents have a large estate, you should pay attention. Until the end of 2012, the estate tax exclusion (the amount you can die with without a tax) is $5M. Likewise, the lifetime gift tax exclusion (the amount you can gift during your lifetime without a tax) is $5M. In 2013, unless congress and the president do something, both of these exclusions will drop to $1M. Now is the best time in your lifetime to make a gift to eliminate a potential estate tax for your family. If you have a $5M estate, you can gift $4M now and when the exclusions drop to $1M, your estate will avoid the estate … [More...]

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