Beware the Boilerplate: Lessons from Donald vs. Shelly Sterling0

The recent battle between Donald and Shelly Sterling over control of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team provided a valuable lesson for clients who have created trusts, or are considering creating trusts.  Not only is it critical for those who create trusts to understand the dispositive provisions of their trusts, but they also need to understand the so-called “boilerplate” provisions included in their trusts.

“Boilerplate” typically refers to the standard provis [...]

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Forget Hamlet. “To Click or Sign, THAT is the Question!”0

In daily life today, most of us put our electronic “John Hancock” on the screen every day, whether at the grocery store, drug store or other businesses.  We’re used to it as a perfectly valid way to seal- the-deal for routine retail transactions.

But what about other forms of documents, such as business contracts or wills and trust? Are electronic (no ink, no paper) signatures valid?

The answer is MAYBE.

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Property Tax Relief for Seniors0

A wise man once said, “the only two things certain in life are death and taxes.” Although we have very little control over when the first occurs, many of us go to great lengths to try to minimize the “ouch” factor of the second. When my parents turned 70, they felt the 3,000 square foot home they lived in for over 30 years was way too much for them. They knew they could sell their home for a lot of money and buy a smaller home very easily. However, my parents were worried about paying a much higher annua [...]

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Tuition and Medical Expenses Gifts Aren’t Taxable0

It’s been said, “It is better to give then to receive.” I think we can all agree it is much better to receive without worrying about paying taxes.  Under current federal law, most individuals can receive annual gifts of up to $13,000 without being subjected to a federal gift tax. This amount is set to increase to $14,000 in 2013.  While many may know about the $13,000 gift-tax exclusion amount, many may not know that there are two exceptions that provide for greater gifting opportunities without taxation. [...]

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How Should You Take Title to Your Home?0

We are often asked by clients “How should I take Title to My Home?”  It is important to make sure you have titled your home and any other real property correctly to insure that your real property passes to your heirs.  There are 3 common ways people hold title to their homes:

Joint tenancy: If real property is held in a joint tenancy, the owner who dies first does not control what happens to the property after his death.  A house will pass to [...]

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Estate Planning for Young Families: Protecting Your Assets and Passing on Your Values0

Preparing your estate plan can feel like a daunting task, but once your estate plan is completed, it is a comfort to know that just in case something happens to you, your family is protected. Many young families preparing an estate plan are focused on the distribution of assets to their c [...]

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Joint Tenancy: Is it really a convenience?0

In the short term, adding a joint tenant could be convenient however, in the long run it could cause family ripples. For a good read on this topic, see a recent article by Forbes.com:

Top 5 Reasons To Beware Of Joint Ownership Between Generations

Celebrities are not the only ones to make mistakes with their estate planning.  It happens to people all across the country on a regular [...]

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