Posts by saradiamond

Estate planning—should you do it yourself?

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Estate planning—should you do it yourself?

I like do-it-yourself projects as much as the next person. When it comes to professional services, such as legal work (or medical, dental, automobile, tax preparation and on and on) I go to people who know what they’re doing in these areas. Regina attended one of my public talks and then called me for an appointment to review her existing estate planning documents. When she got to my office, it turned out that she did not want to pay for services to have an attorney prepare her documents. She was convinced that this was all a big do-it-yourself project. She showed me her own handiwork in...

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Who gets my stuff?

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Who gets my stuff?

How do we think about whom we want to name as beneficiaries for our Wills and Trusts? For some people, it’s a no-brainer. A couple or single person may have lovely, well-adjusted children, and there’s no question that they will inherit it all. But one of the not-so-secret features of our society is that we don’t all have lovely, well-adjusted children. Leo Tolstoy wrote that “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I find that to be so true in estate planning. And, at the same time, I have some general advice. Gina is 80 years old and has had a lively,...

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Marriage and property

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Marriage and property

It was excellent news last year when a pair of Supreme Court decisions allowed same-sex marriage to remain legal in California, and for it to be recognized under federal law. I’m seeing lots of newly married and soon-to-be-married same sex couples for estate planning. Some of have been together for decades and have well-established ideas about how they want to own property and have it distributed after their deaths. Others are just starting to understand what it means, legally and financially, to be married in California. Marriage changes, among other things, one’s relationship to one’s...

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What is property?

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

What is property?

It’s so much more than what many people think of when they hear that word. They may think it’s the house or their Tahoe time share or the motorcycle in the garage. Property is a legal term meaning anything one owns. In the law, traditionally, property falls into three categories: Real property which is buildings and land—you can pick up a brick or a clump of dirt—it’s “real”; Intangible personal property, which is cash and its equivalents. It’s sort of invisible (and, yes, it can easily disappear); and Tangible personal property: that’s anything you can touch, such as jewelry, artwork,...

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Take care of your loved ones by creating or updating your estate plan!

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Take care of your loved ones by creating or updating your estate plan!

Harold made a trust-based estate plan 20 years ago after his wife died. The idea was to make sure that his house and any others assets would pass to his three middle-aged children without having them have to go through an expensive probate proceeding. In the last few years of his life, one of Harold’s sons, Bill, came to live with him and helped out a lot. A few years before he died, Harold wrote on a piece of lined note paper a list of which child should inherit the china, silverware and other family heirlooms and that he wanted son Bill to be able to continue living in the house as long as...

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