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Three Things You Need to Know About Estate Planning

This quick article from the Wall Street Journal hits the three most basic estate tax concepts in a pretty concise and straight-forward way. If you have any questions about the interplay between the annual gift exemption ($14,000), the estate tax exemption (currently $5.43 million per person) or the lifetime gift exemption (it ties in with the

Route to an $8 Million Portfolio Started With Frugal Living

My “Millionaire Next Door” clients and their advisors would probably get a kick out of the story of Ronald Read – a former JC Penny janitor and service station worker who passed away earlier this year with $8 million. Ronald Read passed away with $8M fortune None of his friends and family knew of

Author of “The Millionaire Next Door” dies

Photo courtesy of ThomasJStanley.com I was sad to hear of the passing of Thomas Stanley, the author of the hit 1990’s book The Millionaire Next Door as reported from this Yahoo! Finance article. My Dad first gave me his book shortly after I graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1996. The premise of the

2018-03-01T15:58:40-08:00February 10th, 2015|Tags: , , , |

HIPAA and Misinterpretation of the Law

One of the components of the comprehensive estate plans we establish for our clients is a HIPAA authorization. This form allows our clients to name trusted loved ones or professional advisors to have access to their otherwise-confidential records. I found this New York Times article regarding HIPAA authorizations interesting. It discusses how many institutions have incorrectly

The New Rules of Estate Planning

Forward-thinking estate planners and certified estate planning specialists are the most likely to be creating and following the new rules of estate planning as outlined in this Wall Street Journal article. One of the most important "new rules" is the enhanced focus on minimizing and avoiding capital gains taxes for higher-net worth families whose level of

2018-03-01T16:00:30-08:00February 28th, 2014|Tags: , , , |

A Respectful Deference to Elders Curdles Into a Fight Over Assets

This NY Times article from late November focuses on a film, “Black Heirlooms” that describes a family dispute over a relatively modest amount of money that ended up tearing the filmmaker’s family apart. Besides the strained family relationships, the article mentions that “money goes to lawyers that could have gone to heirs.” That sentence resonated with

2018-03-01T16:02:28-08:00February 28th, 2014|Tags: , , , , |

Plan B Eased Clippers Deal: Sterling’s Diagnosis

A recent article in the New York Times on the Donald Sterling saga illustrates the uses and effectiveness of incapacity planning as a part of estate planning. Although this case is by no means a model for how any of us would want our incapacity handled, it underscores how incapacity planning may work in the event

2018-03-01T16:03:14-08:00February 22nd, 2014|Tags: , , |

Focusing on the Human Element of Estate Planning

This NY Times article - about estate planners who focus on a more holistic approach to planning than those who laser in almost exclusively on tax strategies and savings – really resonated with me. I often describe my sweet spot as working with “Millionaire Next Door”-type families and helping provide a bridge between legal issues and

Estate Tax Exemption for 2015

According to this Wall Street Journal article, the rise is now official. When the new estate tax laws were passed at the beginning of 2013, the law set the applicable exclusion amount (the value of assets that an individual can pass without any estate taxes) at $5,000,000. That amount was indexed for inflation based on the

2018-03-01T16:05:33-08:00February 22nd, 2014|Tags: , , , |

7 Tips From Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gandolfini, & Other Celeb Estates

What do Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Gandolfini, Heath Ledger, and Amy Winehouse have in common? Unfortunately, two things: an unexpected and early demise and the other -- problematic estate issues. This Forbes article from earlier this year provides some key lessons to take away from these celebrities’ untimely passings. There are numerous stories about families having

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