Is it Okay to Add My Adult Child’s Name to My Account or Deed?

Is it okay to add one of my kids’ names to my bank account or property to avoid probate and make it easier on my family? The answer depends upon your situation. It is frustrating that I cannot give you legal advice on this topic, but truly, without knowing your situation, I can give zero advice.  But I can share this information, and maybe you can guess which way I…

Increased Recorder Fees in California

Beginning January 01, 2018, a new $75 fee will be attached to certain real estate documents (and others) that are recorded at the county recorder’s office. This new fee is due to Senate Bill 2, which was signed into law this week. The funds are to be used to address California’s affordable housing crisis. HOW DOES THIS AFFECT ME? When you plan for your estate, frequently the best planning includes…

Are Business Legal Fees Deductible?

Starting and maintaining your business can be challenging. You need all the help you can get, and sometimes that help needs to be from a professional. Disclaimer: I am not a CPA. I know a few good ones that specifically help businesses. I am a lawyer, who also happens to do her own taxes (for now) and wants to share some knowledge with my fellow business owners.  Legal Fees are…

Medi-Cal Estate Planning

Medi-Cal Estate Planning For the last 20+ years, California has attempted to recover some of the fees it has paid out on your behalf if you are a recipient of Medi-Cal services. (Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicare/Medicaid.) While personal opinions may differ on the validity of this recovery, the fact of the matter is, Medi-Cal recovery after your death had the potential to wipe out your estate and your…

Transfer on Death (TOD): What is it?

California recently became consumer friendly when AB 139 was enacted. For now, Californians are able to transfer the title of their homes to a beneficiary when they die using a TOD deed, or “transfer on death” deed. This is great news, and makes it so much easier for many, many people to protect their biggest asset from probate: their home! Q: Why would you want to use a TOD? A:…

A Revocable Living Trust: What is it?

A revocable living trust is both simple and confusing at the same time. It can take a while to wrap your head around it. It probably doesn’t help when you see a trust full of really big words and complex paragraphs. Trusts are boring to read, and trusts seem like something only rich people do. You know, like in the movies? Or perhaps you’ve met someone who was a trust…

Why do I Need an Estate Plan?

Most people I know don’t think they need an estate plan. “The kids can take care of it after I’m gone.” “It’s too expensive.” “I want one, but I don’t know where to start.” “I don’t have the time. I keep forgetting.” I’m with you on this. Once upon a time, after the birth of our fourth child and an anticipated weekend away without kids for our anniversary, I was…