Estate Plan Signing – Could Virtual Notarization Be Used?

Estate Plan Signing – Could Virtual Notarization Be Used?

Currently, you cannot virtually notarize a document, but what do you do if you need to get your estate plan signed during the current coronavirus pandemic?

You probably do not want someone coming inside your home to notarize your documents right now. During this time, you may feel especially compelled to finalize your estate plan with so much uncertainty. Mendes Weed, LLP is open and willing to help you with your estate plan. However, this still does not solve the issue of how to get these documents formally signed.

In CA, your will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who also sign and attest to the document. Many of your documents, including your trust must be notarized. According to this article, many estate planning attorneys across the country are running into issues with getting their clients’ estate plans fully executed during this time. One attorney even described all parties involved in the estate planning signing having to stand in the driveway far away from each other while the client signed documents, and everyone wore masks.

Could it be that notaries will finally be able to notarize documents virtually? We will be keeping an eye on this issue over the next few weeks.

If you have any questions about your estate plan, including your will, trust, durable power of attorney, or advance healthcare directive, please feel free to reach out to us at (925) 390-3222. We are here to help you during this difficult time.

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Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667

Estate Planning After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Estate Planning After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The new tax laws increased the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) exemptions to $11.2 million in 2018.  The annual gift exclusion has been increased to $15,000 in 2018.

It is still very important to plan even with the new tax laws.  The tax laws related to estate planning automatically expire after 2025.  Also, many states have estate taxes as well.  While California currently does not have an estate or inheritance tax, that could change in the future.  Even if there is no estate tax, your estate could be subject to probate which is a long and expensive process.  Finally, with the rise of financial elder abuse, it is important to have an estate plan in place while you are still able to have one prepared and eventually implemented.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did not make changes to some of the following:

  • Step-up in basis of appreciated assets at death
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs)
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs)
  • Charitable Trusts
  • Crummey Trusts
  • Lack of Control or Marketability Discounts

The preceding list is not exclusive.

If you have questions about any of this, it is important to speak with an estate planning lawyer who understands the tax laws.

Christina Weed has an LL.M. in Taxation, and assists clients with their estate planning and tax questions.

Mendes Weed, LLP is here to help you if you have any questions.  (925) 390-3222.

The tips and materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information on this website should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667

Make Time During the Holidays to Discuss Estate Planning with Your Family

Make Time During the Holidays to Discuss Estate Planning with Your Family

While the typical holiday get-together includes great food, a gathering of those we love the most, and festivity, it’s also a perfect time to discuss Estate Planning.

Chances are, the members of your family are all present, which provides an opportune moment for everyone to communicate their needs and wishes for assets. When you document detailed instructions in an Estate Plan in the event you die or become incapacitated, you are avoiding any stress or confusion when the time comes. Your wishes will be fulfilled and your family will have advance knowledge when the time comes.

Creating an Effective Estate Plan

A trust and estate planning attorney can help you prepare or review how your estate and assets will be managed after your death. Estate plans can also include your end of life care requests so that family members know your wishes.

Please visit our website to find out more information about Estate Planning.

How to Ease into a Discussion about Estate Planning with Your Elderly Parents

It’s not always easy to discuss after-life care with your elderly parents.  The holidays are no exception. But with the tips and techniques we have provided in our blog, How to Properly and Carefully Assist the Elderly with Their Estate Planning, you may find that now is the best time to talk.

Tips to an Effective Holiday Estate Planning Meeting

Consider these helpful tips when discussing your end-of-life plan:

  • Tell everyone what you want to discuss and why, but only if you are comfortable doing so.
  • Set a time and day when all the family can be included. Consider face-timing family who cannot be there.
  • Distract younger individuals who may not understand or who might be scared and confused. Consider having an older cousin or friend take them out for the duration of the meeting.
  • Consider what other family members may hold as sentimental to help you divide your assets.
  • Keep the meeting light and brief and thank all members.
  • Transition into something meaningful and fun after the meeting to offset what could be a heavy tone.

For Help with Estate Planning, Contact Mendes Weed, LLP

Contact us to find out how we may be able to help you with our estate planning needs.

Disclaimer: The tips and materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information on this website should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

 

 

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667

[Video] Estate Planning for the Blended Family

It is very common for clients to come to me regarding their estate plans when they have blended family issues.  Blended families are not only the result of divorce.  Many individuals live longer now and may want to remarry if they outlive their spouses.

If you are a member of a blended family, you will want to make sure your estate plan is well-suited to your specific needs.  A well-drafted estate plan can help minimize the risk of accidentally disinheriting children from a prior marriage, of a former spouse inheriting certain accounts even though the deceased spouse willed them to her children, or countless other scenarios that you may not wish to occur.

A revocable living trust can be helpful in instructing the successor trustee about whom should receive which of your assets when you die.  A trust may also provide the successor trustee to make distributions according to certain guidelines, such as for health care, education, or others.

A QTIP trust, or qualified terminable interest property trust, may also be helpful if a client wants to provide for the surviving spouse during her lifetime if she predeceases her spouse, while also preserving assets for the decedent spouse’s children or other designated beneficiaries.

A prenuptial agreement may also be a good way for individuals who are remarrying to emphasize which assets are separate property and, more specifically, which assets should go to their children.  In addition, it is important to remember that following any divorce, former spouses should review their estate plan, ownership of bank and financial accounts, including brokerage accounts, and the title on real estate, insurance, vehicles, and other assets.

Estate planning documents are living, breathing documents that should be changed and updated to suit your needs.  Mendes Weed, LLP helps to advise clients who are undergoing major life events as it pertains to their estate plans.  We hope you will reach out to us if you have questions.

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667

[Video] Revoking a California Will or Trust

In California, a will can be revoked by a new will that specifically revokes the old one, or by destroying the will by physical act.  A physical act can include burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating or destroying the will.  This must, however, be done by the person who created the will.

A revocable living trust revocation is different.  It is governed by the terms of the trust.  For example, the trust may allow for revocation through a signed writing by the Trustor or Settlor that is delivered to the Trustee.  A trustor could also take the assets out of a trust, and the trust would cease to have control over the assets.

Revoking a will or revocable living trust is fairly straightforward, but it is important to make sure it is done in the right way.  An attorney who is knowledgeable of wills and trusts can assist you if you are considering revoking your will or trust.

Contact Mendes Weed, LLP for Advice 

If you want more information about revoking a will or trust, Mendes Weed, LLP may be able to help.  With offices in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek, we’ve been helping clients in the Bay Area and beyond feel confident that their future wishes are taken care of per their instructions. Contact us for more information.

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667

[Video] When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

[Video] When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

When Do You Need to Update Your Estate Plan?

Any time you undergo a significant life event such as:

Marriage

  • First Marriage- In California, your spouse does not receive 100% of your estate under the laws of intestate succession; specify whom you want to receive your assets when you die.
  • Subsequent marriages- If you leave all of your assets to your new spouse, they are not obligated to give whatever is left to your children. There are a number of ways to provide for both your spouse and your children, as well as anyone else. An estate planning attorney can assist you in creating an estate plan that is customized for your needs.

Children

  • If you have children, name a guardian for the them. Set up a trust for your children so that your assets are set aside for your children when they get older. In California, minor children cannot legally inherit your assets outright.
  • As children get older, update your estate plan. Your children may no longer need a trust, and you may want to appoint them as successor trustees, executors, or agents under your power of attorney or advance healthcare directive.
  • Your children can now receive an outright distribution, and you may want to include provisions in your trust for how the money may be used-consider education, healthcare, or other important purposes.
  • You may also want to provide for distributions in stages rather than one lump sum payment when they are young adults.

Divorce or Death of a Spouse

  • You will likely need to appoint new or different successor trustees, executors, and agents.
  • You will also need to make sure to update your beneficiaries on any retirement plans or insurance policies.

Increase in Assets

  • If your estate is well under the estate tax exemption amount, you do not need to worry about estate tax planning as much.
  • If your estate grows, a trust can assist with estate tax planning matters.
  • If you have recently acquired or disposed of significant assets, your estate plan should indicate this change.

If you have questions about estate tax planning, it is important to reach out to an estate planning attorney, especially one well-versed in tax law, to make sure you have an estate plan that is right for you.

Contact Mendes Weed, LLP, Your Estate Planning Attorney.

If you or a loved one in the SF Bay Area want more information about estate planning, please give Mendes Weed, LLP a call at 925-390-3222.  We are here to help. Our main office is located in Walnut Creek, and we serve clients in Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Blackhawk, Pleasanton, Livermore, Solano Counties, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sacramento.

SuperLawyers-RisingStars
Best of the East Bay Attorneys
Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
Walnut Creek Chanber of Commerce logo
Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
lawyers of distinction badge 2020

Walnut Creek Main Office

1990 N. California BLVd.
Suite 1020
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 390-3222

San Francisco Office

95 Third Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 216-5558

Oakland Office

66 Franklin Street
Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 822-2770

San Jose Office

3031 Tisch Way
110 Plaza West
San Jose, CA 94607

(408) 707-1667