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Torrance California Estate Planning Law Blog

A Little Known Tax Saving Strategy

Contributed by Pence Wealth ManagementAs a Financial Advisor, one of the largest client issues uncovered is that people are making charitable contributions with after-tax money and not receiving a tax deduction. That is, they are taking cash out of their savings or checking and donating directly to their favorite charity, religious group, or other non-profit. This is one of the least tax-efficient methods in making charitable contributions given the recent changes to federal tax laws under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA).Under the new tax law, most people will now use the Standard Deduction versus the Itemized Deduction on their tax forms. For 2018, the Standard Deduction for a single person under the age of 65 is $12,000 and doubles to $24,000 if married. This means the taxpayer will need to exceed the Standard Deduction to obtain a higher tax break.

This Simple Tool May Change The Quality of Your Life (or of Someone You Know)

ByAttorney, Philip KaveshWe, our parents and other loved ones are living longer, but does that assure we are living better?I recently came across a great tool that can assist you or seniors you know in:· Keeping mentally sharp and even earning some additional income during your retirement· Staying connected with your family and friends· Allowing you to get where you want and what you want without having to drive

The #1 Mistake Families Are Making (and They Don't Even Know It!)

biggest-estate-planning-mistake-people-make.jpgHave you ever heard of the "silent killer"? It's called PROCRASTINATION. We all do it. Some more than others. However, procrastination is often times called the "silent killer" because too often people continually push off things they know they need to do and, unfortunately, it becomes too late before they realize they should have taken care of those things.I see this on a pretty consistent basis with some of the people that come in and meet with me. In fact, I just saw this the other week. I met with a couple that had come in and met with me about 10 years ago. They never ended up moving forward and finally came back in and decided to get a Living Trust. Thankfully, nothing happened to either of them during that time. But, that's not always the case. We have (more than I care to see) people come to see us when and it is too late to do anything-now someone is disabled and unable to make any decisions for themselves or the family comes in because someone has passed away. I understand, firsthand, that estate planning and making decisions about what will happen to your assets and your loved ones when something happens to you is certainly not an easy thing to do. It can sometimes bring up some uncomfortable or difficult conversations and decisions to be made. However, I will say that having these matters properly taken care of and managed now, particularly while you're able-bodied and mentally capable of making such decisions, is far easier on you (and the rest of your family) than if made out of necessity later on. The good news for those that have already set up an estate plan is that they have already taken the first step; however, a common mistake many people make is believing that having your estate plan prepared is a "one-and-done" type of transaction. Laws change, family dynamics change, your assets and properties may change over time, loved ones may pass away, and new ones may join the family. Like most of the valued things you cherish in your life, your estate plan also requires regular, on-going maintenance and care.

Are Wills Obsolete?

are-wills-obsolete-kavesh-minor-otis.jpgWhen it comes to estate planning, some people know about Living Trusts, but most people know about Wills. Wills are referenced often in movies and television shows, but what most people don't realize is that Wills are effectively becoming obsolete. If you have a Will, you may be thinking, "Wait...WHAT?! What does mean for me?!" Not to fear, what I mean by "obsolete" isn't so much that it isn't valid, but that it's a highly outdated estate planning for most families. Here's why.

Estate Planning Considerations for the Modern, Blended Family

estate-planning-blended-family.jpgEstate planning has become a lot more challenging in more recent years. As the divorce rate has increased, so has the amount of second (and third) marriages. This brings about a number of dynamics with what is known as the modern "blended" family. This involves children from prior marriages or relationships, which can bring about a number of challenging and difficult decisions to be made during the estate planning process.

Pre-Paid Funeral Plans: Buyer Beware

Funerals rank among the most expensive purchases many consumers will ever make. A traditional funeral costs about $7,000, although "extras" like flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards and limousines can bring the total to well over $10,000. Moreover, people often "overspend" on a funeral or burial because they think of it as a reflection of their feelings for the deceased.

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