Actually, an estate plan is about so much more than money. It says who should care for your children and pets if you are hospitalized or die. It tells your family and doctors what kind of medical care you want if you can't speak for yourself. It can protect you from financial disaster if you… Continue reading I’m not wealthy so I don’t need an estate plan, right?
Being loved by an animal feels special and magical. It also creates an obligation for pet owners who are responsible for the food, shelter, comfort and regular medical care of their furry charges. It is no wonder then that so many owners want to make sure their pets are cared for if they pass away… Continue reading Caring for Your Pet After You Die
One of my favorite podcasts, Hidden Brain: Tunnel Vision, described the phenomenon of tunnel vision and offered ideas on how we can defend against it. The host, Shankar Vendantam, explained that when we experience scarcity of time, money, sleep or other resources, we can become hyper-focused on bridging that gap, causing us to strive for… Continue reading Tunnel Vision
Q: I was recently married and my husband died suddenly. There is a Will but I am not in it because it was written before we were married. What is going to happen to his assets? - Ima Survivor A: Dear Ima, I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Know that you are not alone.… Continue reading Help! I was left out of my husband’s will!
If a loved one is disabled and receives needs-tested public benefits, you should know that an inheritance, gifts or other assets can cause a disabled person to lose their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medi-Cal benefits, partially or entirely. Disabled Californians with financial need may qualify for SSI or Medi-Cal benefits to help pay for… Continue reading My disabled child receives SSI and Medi-Cal. How does that affect my estate plan?
Trusts are unique to the US and a handful of other countries. Simply, they are contracts between you and the state, in this case, California, that control how to deal with property. As the person creating the trust, you are the “settlor” (sometimes also called the “trustor”). As settlor, you are responsible for putting assets… Continue reading What is a trust?
Do I need a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust? People sometimes tell me that they want to create an irrevocable trust. What they really mean is that they want to create a revocable trust (also called a living trust) that cannot be changed after they pass away. What, then, is an irrevocable trust? Trusts that are… Continue reading Do I Need a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust?
Occasionally people ask if they or their parents can make a DIY will. In California, a person can draft a handwritten will without an attorney and I’m sure there are even YouTube videos on how to do it. However, unlike learning to cut hair or French a seam on YouTube (both of which I’ve done),… Continue reading DIY Estate Planning