Posts by Sara Diamond

It’s never too early to start your estate planning.

Posted by on Nov 13, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Dan and Melissa were estate planning clients of mine a number of years ago.  They made a revocable living trust to hold their property, both to spare their children from probate court and to have their property held in trust until the children are at least 25 years old. Last year, their youngest child turned 18 and left home to go to college.  Dan and Melissa called me up and asked:  isn’t it time that our son Joseph has his own estate plan?  “Absolutely,” I said, and I applauded them for their foresight. Before a child turns 18, parents have the legal authority to make health care decisions...

Read More

Estate Tax Law: To give or not to give…

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

This time of year, clients are asking me:  what’s going to happen to the estate tax law at the end of 2012?  I wish I knew.  We all need to stay tuned to news events in the coming weeks as the end of the year approaches. Both of the ruling political parties play political games with the estate tax law, and this year is no different. We’re in the same predicament we were in toward the end of 2010 when Congress had not yet acted and the estate tax law was then about to “sunset” at the end of December 2010. Then, in the final weeks of 2010, Congress set the size of an estate excluded from...

Read More

Joint Tenancy

Posted by on Aug 14, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Yvonne was an elderly lady, single with no kids, who had a trust leaving most of her estate to her niece Elizabeth.  Yvonne’s trust also left a generous cash gift to her best friend Monica and several smaller gifts to relatives other thanElizabeth.   Over the years, Yvonne and Monica had often helped each other with their finances when times were rough.  They owned a rental house together in joint tenancy with the idea that when one of them died, the other would naturally become the sole owner and could pass the whole property on to her own respective choice of beneficiaries.   A...

Read More

Community Property Primer

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Tom and Judy live in a four-bedroom house in Berkeley that they think of as belonging to both of them.  Tom bought the house 20 years ago and after he met and married Judy, he never thought to do anything different when the property tax bills kept coming in his name alone.  He simply paid those bills out of their joint checking account, the one they both deposited their paychecks into.   Well after Tom’s and Judy’s kids from previous marriages had long since gone off to college, Tom and Judy made their way to an attorney’s office to start planning their wills and trusts.  The attorney...

Read More

Keeping Your Assets in Your Trust

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

A major purpose of a revocable living trust is to hold title to your property so that it will pass to your beneficiaries without having to go through an expensive probate proceeding.   “Funding” a trust is the term used for putting assets in your name as trustee, after you’ve signed the trust.   When I do a trust-based estate plan, I make sure to prepare deeds for any real property that will go into the trust.  This is part of “funding.”   What about a client’s bank accounts and assets he or she may acquire once she or he has left my office?   I provide instructions to...

Read More