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New Estate Tax Laws

I almost posted this post with no words in it. Frankly, nobody on earth knows what the tax laws are going to be once the governemnt sorts it out.  However, let’s talk about some possibilities. What is the state of the law as of TODAY?  Luckily today is a holiday (Martin Luther King Day) so the state of the Federal estate and gift tax laws TODAY should be in effect at least until Tuesday morning!   The federal gift and estate tax laws have long been called “unified” although right now they aren’t as unified as in the past. Essentially gift taxes are taxes paid on transfers made during life and estate taxes are taxes paid on transfers made after death.  There are some gifts that become more confusing but for today’s blog we will keep things as simple as possible and just refe
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MCLE

Every California lawyer knows what these letters stand for… Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.  Some attorneys dread it.  Yes, sitting in some hotel ballroom listening to non-professional speakers drone on and on can be tiring. As the years have gone on I have learned to really appreciate MCLE. I remember sitting in a session, as a new attorney, down in Coronado.  Could practically see the big blue bridge from the conference room windows!  I was with my mom who also is an attorney. Want to hear something even scarier… my dad was an attorney too!  I’ll tell you about that some other day. Anyway, my mom and I were at at the Southern California Tax Institute which generally has high level speakers. However, this was about 1995 and I was a newbie attorney. Oh boy, some of those
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Legal Zoom – Good and Bad

I was listening to the Dan Patrick show this morning on Fox Sports Radio. He went to a commercial break where he read the commercial. It was for Legal Zoom.  For those of you who don’t know, Legalzoom.com is a website that will draft simple legal documents for you for fees that are typically much cheaper than lawyers like me.  I then flipped over to ESPN Radio and guess what… similar commercial being read on there.  I see adds on TV, bus benches, magazines, and on and on it goes.  Obviously Legal Zoom’s marketing budget is a little bigger than mine, eh!?  I felt frustrated that companies like Legal Zoom mis-represent things and the American consumer buys into it. Let me start by saying that I am not telling you that you can’t get decent legal documents from Legal Zoom. I am me
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New Year’s Resolution – GET TRUST DONE

Ok, maybe it’s not exactly a “resolution” but I think it’s akin to it.  Many people go into the new year with a list of self improvement goals, including the thought to get their estate plan done.  The list might be something like this: - Go the gym at least 5 days a week; - Don’t eat sweets; - Cut down to 2 cups of coffee in the morning; - Get estate plan done this year; etc…. I already go to the gym, or run, 7 days a week so Iam not vowing any change there!  I don’t eat a lot of sweets and I don’t drink coffee. However, I am not changing my iced tea consumption!  I have a great estate plan set up! Oh wait, this blog isn’t about me…. I have found that a lot of people enter each new year with the idea that, “this year we will finally get our trust done.”
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