Portability—Game Changer for Estate Planning or More of the Same?

148037463Estate planners are taking a second look at portability—the use of a deceased spouse’s lifetime exclusion by the surviving spouse—now that the law on this subject has been made permanent. Continue reading

Catastrophe or Choice: Actor’s Estate Plan Comes Under Scrutiny

2013-07-catastrophe-122552905The estate plan of deceased actor James Gandolfini has been labeled a “disaster,” a “catastrophe,” and “a nightmare from a tax standpoint.” But was it, in fact, a costly mistake, or was it simply a considered choice?  Continue reading

Should You Go with a Living Trust?

trust_135789295Is a revocable trust—sometimes called “a living trust”—right for you or your client? Continue reading

No Means No for Successor Trustee of Special Needs Trust With No-Compensation Clause

trustee_99933680A trustee is entitled to compensation for services as provided in the trust instrument when the trust “provides for a trustee’s compensation” (Prob C §15680(a)), or “reasonable compensation” when the trust instrument “does not specify the trustee’s compensation” (Prob C §15681). But what if the trust provides for no compensation? In that case, the trustee is out of luck. Continue reading

10 Steps for Developing and Implementing an Estate Plan, Part II

There is no ideal way to handle new estate planning engagements, and it’s important for an attorney to develop his or her own procedure. But there are common procedures taken by many experienced attorneys from which to learn. The first 5 steps in 10 Steps for Developing and Implementing an Estate Plan, Part I set the stage for an estate plan; these final steps take you through the process of putting the plan into place.  Continue reading

10-Steps for Developing and Implementing an Estate Plan, Part I

Every attorney has his or her own style and system for developing and implementing an estate plan, but that doesn’t mean there are no commonalities. In fact, there are certain considerations and practices that are common to the estate planning process for most attorneys. For those of you new to estate planning practice—and those who want to confirm they aren’t missing anything—here are the first five of the 10 steps of this common procedure for developing an estate plan and putting it into place (stay tuned next week for the next 5 steps!). Continue reading

Attorney as Trustee: Watch Out for Double Compensation

When an attorney is also acting as the trustee, there are very specific limitations on the attorney getting compensated both as counsel and as trustee. It may seem like an efficiency to have a two-for-one situation, but it may end up being double the work for half the money. Continue reading