Although you likely won’t need to have an entirely new estate plan prepared for you, upon relocating to another state, you should definitely have your existing plan reviewed by an estate planning lawyer who is familiar with your new home state’s laws. Each state has its own laws governing estate planning, and those laws can differ significantly from one location to another.
Given this, you’ll want to make sure your planning documents all comply with the new state’s laws, and the terms of those documents still work as intended. Here, we’ll discuss how differing state laws can affect common planning documents and the steps you might want to take to ensure your documents are properly updated.
Last Will and Testament The good news is, states will generally accept a will that was executed properly under another state’s laws. However, there could be differences in the new state’s laws that make certain provisions in your will invalid. Here are a few of the things you should pay the most attention to in your will when moving:
Your executor: Consider whether or not the executor or administrator you’ve chosen will be able to serve in that role in your new location. Every state will allow an out-of-state executor to serve, but some states have special requirements that those executors must meet, such as requiring them to post a bond before serving. Other states require non-resident executors to appoint an agent who lives within the state to accept legal documents on behalf of the estate.
Marital property: If you are married, give special consideration to how your new state treats marital property. While a common-law state might treat the property you own in your name alone as yours, community-property states treat all of your property as owned jointly with your spouse. If your new state treats marital property differently, you might need to draft a new will to ensure your wishes are honored.
Interested witnesses: Another important role under your will to consider when moving to a new state is an interested witness. An interested witness is someone who was a witness to your will who also receives a gift from your will. Some states allow interested witnesses to receive the gift, while other states do not allow such gifts. And still other states allow such gifts provided the witness is a family member.
Revocable Living Trust
A valid revocable living trust from one state should continue to be valid in your new state. However, you need to make certain that you transfer any new assets or property you acquire, such as your new home, to your trust, so that those assets can avoid the need to go through probate before being distributed to your heirs upon your death.
Power of Attorney A valid power of attorney document, such as a durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, or financial power of attorney, created in one state is likely to be valid in your new state. However, in some cases, banks, financial institutions, and healthcare facilities in your new state may not accept a power of attorney document if it’s unfamiliar to them. Also, simply as a practical matter, it may be a good idea to have your power of attorney agent live in the same state you do, so keep that in mind as well.
Beneficiary Designations If you have accounts with beneficiary designations, such as 401(k)s, life insurance policies, and payable-on-death bank accounts, these should be valid no matter which state you live in. That said, you should still review these documents when you move to ensure that your address and other personal information is updated.
Keep Your Plan Current As with other major life events, such as births, deaths, marriage and divorce, moving to a new state is the ideal time to have your plan reviewed by a professional.
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beginning of the month, and bills are coming due. If you are stressed out, it’s
important that you know where and how to get access to financial relief. Please
consider this not only for yourself, but for your adult children and elderly
parents, too, even if you do not need it for yourself.
On March 27,
President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill into law that will
hopefully provide some relief for many, perhaps including you. The CARES Act
(Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) sends money directly to
Americans, expands unemployment coverage, and funds loans and grants for small
businesses. So, let’s look at how you can access these funds.
Who gets direct stimulus money and how much do they get? All eligible adults who have a Social Security Number, filed tax returns in 2018 and/or 2019 will automatically get a $1,200 direct stimulus deposit from the government within a particular income bracket. This is true whether you have been laid off, are currently employed, or are currently self-employed or an independent contractor.
To get the full amount:
A single adult must have an adjusted gross
income of $75,000 or less.
Married couples with no children must earn
$150,000 or less for a combined total stimulus of $2,400.
Every qualifying child 16 or under adds $500
to a family’s direct stimulus.
If you have filed as head of household, have
dependents, and earned $112,500 when you last filed, you will get the full
is not considered income—it’s essentially free money from the government.
Therefore, it will not be taxed. It also is not a loan, so if you are eligible,
you will not be charged interest or expected to pay it back. As of right now,
the stimulus is a one-time payment.
Are there exceptions? Payment decreases and eventually stops for single people earning $99,000 or more or married people who have no children and earn $198,000 annually. Additionally, a family with two children will no longer be eligible for payments if their income is over $218,000.
If you are an
adult claimed on your parent’s tax return, you do not get the $1,200.
What do I need to do to get my stimulus money? For most people, no action is necessary. If the IRS has your bank account information already, it will transfer the money to you via direct deposit. If, however, you need to update your bank account information, the IRS has posted on their website that they are in the process of building an online portal where you can do so.
note: if you have not filed a tax return in the past couple of years, or you
don’t usually need to file one, you should file a “simple tax return” showing
whatever income you did have, so you can qualify for these benefits.
You can continue to check for updates on how
to make sure you get your payment by regularly checking for updates on their
Coronavirus Tax Relief page. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
When will that money come through? Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin says that he expects most people will get their payments by Friday, April 17th, though other sources say that it could take up to 4–8 weeks.
Loans (and Grant Money) for Independent Contractors If you have a business, are an independent contractor or are self-employed, you can apply for loans, and get a $10,000 grant from the government via the CARES Act.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
loans. Please note that there are still elements of these loans that are not
fully understood, and we are giving our best legal interpretation based on
information from the Small Business Administration and the US Chamber of
VERY IMPORTANT: If you apply for EIDL right now, you can claim
a $10,000 advance that does not need to be repaid. It’s essentially a grant
that can be used to keep your business alive. You can apply for it right here: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/ Do it, now. This is applicable if you are an
independent contractor, or a self-employed business owner. Basically, if you
file a separate tax return for your business or a Schedule C on your personal
tax return, you SHOULD qualify. But please see note above that we don’t really
know how all of this will be implemented. What we do believe is that you should
get your application in for the EIDL grant money.
The PPP applications will be made through your bank, so contact your banker, if
you believe you will need the PPP loan, which will be forgiven if used for
payroll specifically in the weeks after receiving the loan funds.
have the following information on hand to fill out either of the two loan
IRS Form 4506T—Tax Information
Authorization—completed and signed by each principal or owner,
Recent federal income tax returns,
SBA Form 413—Personal Financial Statement,
SBA Form 2202—Schedule of Liabilities listing
all fixed debts,
Any profit and loss statements, recent tax
returns, and balance sheets.
Here’s a bit
more information about both loan programs.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (Above and Beyond the $10,000 Grant) Every state has been declared a disaster area due to COVID-19, and therefore your business may be eligible for an SBA economic injury disaster loan (EIDL). This is a low-interest loan that has terms that can last as long as 30 years, and can provide you with capital loans of up to $2 million and an advance of up to $10,000.
Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) can be used to cover:
Paid sick leave to employees unable to work
due to the direct effects of COVID-19,
Rent or mortgage payments,
Maintaining payroll (to help prevent layoffs
and pay cuts),
Increased costs due to supply chain
Payment obligations that could not be met due
to revenue loss.
application used to take hours, it now only takes about 10 minutes to fill out.
A couple of important notes, however:
SBA loan reps have said that they are focusing
on processing applications filed after March 30th, so if you have a
confirmation number starting with 2000, you should probably reapply.
Be sure to check the box toward the end of the
application if you want to be considered for an advance up to $10,000 (as I
mentioned at the top of the article, this amount does not need to be repaid and
so is essentially a grant!).
Coronavirus Emergency Paycheck Protection Loan The CARES Act’s $350 billion allocation to small businesses is specifically called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It specifically incentivizes borrowers who maintain their payrolls, i.e., don’t lay off their employees. This program will fully forgive loans where at least 75% of the forgiven amount is used to pay employees for the eight weeks following the loan. If you lay off employees or cut salaries and wages, your loan forgiveness will also be reduced.
PPP loans can
be used to cover:
Group health care benefits during periods of
paid, sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums;
Interest on a mortgage obligation,
Rent, under lease agreements in force before
February 15, 2020,
Utilities, for which service began before
February 15, 2020,
Interest on any debt incurred before February
businesses with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships,
independent contractors, and those who are self employed) are eligible. You can
apply through SBA 7(a) lenders, federally insured credit unions, or
participating Farm Credit Systems (ie your bank). Other lenders might be on the
scene soon as well, but a lot of them are currently being reviewed for approval
to the program.
What if I am not eligible or need more money? If you don’t qualify for stimulus money, all is not lost. There are several other ways that the CARES Act has made it easier for you to get a short term financial boost.
Unemployment The CARES Act has also legally expanded unemployment benefits, expanding them for 13 more weeks and adding an additional $600 per week. Some self-employed, freelance, and independent contractors may be eligible, too. These benefits vary from state to state, and you can find how to apply at the Unemployment Benefits Finder site: https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/UnemploymentBenefits/find-unemployment-benefits.aspx?newsearch=true. Be sure to have your Social Security number, the Social Security numbers for dependents you are claiming, and your driver’s license or state ID handy while you apply.
Private Loans If you’re in good standing with your bank, you may be able to get a “bridge loan” extended to you in order to cover your bills. Several major banks have set aside money specifically for the purpose of supplying these loans to customers that they deem eligible for them.
Retirement Account If you don’t have another rainy-day savings account, the CARES Act waives the 10% penalty tax that you would normally get for withdrawing money early. The criteria is pretty open-ended, and applies to people who experience financial hardship because of COVID-19 in some way.
If you are experiencing fear about
affording to pay your bills, remember that you do have options for accessing
savings, loans, and stimulus money. Stay up to date on the above resources, and
if you need any help navigating your way through this uncertain period, we are
here to help.
https://www.calilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/CARES-ACT-close-scaled-e1585882477755.jpg9181410CaliLawhttps://www.calilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Cali-Law-Logo-A5-1-300x99.pngCaliLaw2020-04-06 21:12:052020-04-06 21:13:15How To Get Access to Your COVID Stimulus Money
can take a wide variety of forms, but I think the worst of the worst is caused
by unscrupulous adult guardians appointed by a court to care for seniors who
are no longer able to care for themselves. And though you may not want to
believe such a thing could happen, you need to know that without the right
planning in place, even the seniors in your own family could be at risk.
In fact, there are currently 1.5 million American adults under guardianship,
with an estimated 85% of them over age 65. All told, these guardians control
nearly $273 billion in assets. And a 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found
hundreds of cases where guardians were involved in the abuse, exploitation, and
neglect of seniors placed under their supervision.
Exploitation disguised as protection Although most of the reported abuse was committed by family members, an increasing number of elder abuse cases involve professional guardians.
These predatory guardians search for seniors with a history of health issues, and they’re often able to obtain court-sanctioned guardianship with alarming ease. From there, they can force the elderly out of their homes and into assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. They can sell off their homes and other assets, keeping the proceeds for themselves. They can prevent them from seeing or speaking with their family members, leaving them isolated and even more vulnerable to exploitation.
What’s more, though it’s possible for a guardianship
to be terminated by the court if it can be proven that the need for
guardianship no longer exists, a study by the American Bar Association (ABA)
found that such attempts typically fail. And those family members who do try to
fight against court-appointed guardians frequently end up paying hefty sums of
money in attorney’s fees and court costs, with some even going bankrupt in the
door for potential abuse Obviously, not all professional guardians exploit the
seniors (known as wards) placed under their care. But with the combination of
the exploding elderly population—many of whom will require guardians—and our
overloaded court system, such abuse will almost certainly become more common.
Indeed, as the swelling aging population strains court resources, strict
oversight of professional guardians is likely to become increasingly more
difficult, enabling shady guardians to more easily slip through the cracks.
Facing these facts, it’s critical for both seniors and their adult children to
take proactive measures to prevent the possibility of such abuse. Fortunately,
there are multiple estate planning tools that can dramatically reduce the
chances of you, or your elderly loved ones, being placed under the care of a
professional guardian against your/their wishes.
What’s more, because any adult could face court-ordered guardianship if they become incapacitated by illness or injury, it’s crucial that every person over age 18—not just seniors—have planning vehicles in place to prepare for their potential incapacity.
Should you become incapacitated and not have the proper
planning vehicles in place, your family would have to petition the court in
order to be granted guardianship. And it’s this lack of planning that leaves
you vulnerable. In most cases, the court would appoint a family member as
guardian, but this isn’t always the case.
If you have no living family members, or those you do have are unwilling or
unable to serve or deemed unsuitable by the court, a professional guardian
would be appointed. And in certain cases, particularly when your family doesn’t
live close by, guardianship can be granted without your loved ones—or even
you—being aware of it.
loss of autonomy Once you’ve been placed under court-ordered guardianship, you essentially lose all
your civil rights. Indeed, whether it’s a family member or a professional,
guardians have complete legal authority to control every facet of your life.
Given the extreme power guardianship affords, courts
are supposed to exercise tight oversight over adult guardians, yet the reality
is that only cursory supervision is provided. What’s more, courts often don’t
even keep complete records of guardianship cases, and those that do typically
keep those records sealed from public view.
With no real system in place to prevent abuse
by professional guardians, it’s up to you to protect yourself and your elderly
parents through proactive estate planning.
Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,
Nobody likes to admit they’ve fallen for a
financial scam, but the fact is, it’s easier than ever to get caught up in one.
This is especially true in today’s all-digital world, where practically every
shred of data related to your personal and financial background can be found
While no one is forcing you to use the Internet to manage your financial accounts,
purchase goods and services, or communicate with the outside world, these days
it’s nearly impossible to live your life without the web. This net-based
existence can feel somewhat unnerving for those of us who came of age while the
tech revolution was already underway, but for the elderly, who lived the vast
majority of their lives offline, it can be absolutely overwhelming.
Given their lack of tech experience, coupled with the fact that many of them
are undergoing varying levels of cognitive decline and sometimes live lonely,
isolated lives, scammers view seniors as easy targets. And many of today’s con artists
are so sophisticated, even the most intelligent and educated can be duped.
To protect your aging loved ones (and
yourself) from such predators, it’s critical to know the warning signs of
financial exploitation. The following are three big red flags to watch for:
1. Unexpected requests If a family member or friend contacts you out of the blue asking for money,
especially via email or text, you should be wary. If the request comes from an
unfamiliar email address or phone number, you should be extremely wary. While such requests aren’t totally unheard of,
never send money unless you can verify the individual’s identity.
A popular con, known as the Grandparent Scam,
involves someone calling and pretending to be your grandchild. The “grandchild”
explains he or she is in trouble and needs money immediately. The caller then
asks you to wire the money or give it to a third party, usually someone posing
as a lawyer or police officer.
No matter how urgent the caller may sound, you should always verify their identity. One of the easiest ways to do this is by having the person call you back on his or her phone. Or if the individual’s phone is dead or lost, you can ask them questions only the actual person would know the answer to, such as the name of their first pet. If they refuse, seem unusually aggressive, or act odd, do not send money.
Unsolicited money-making ventures Whether through a savvy business deal or by winning the lottery, we all
fantasize about striking it rich. And if you’re retired on a fixed income, this
fantasy can be all-the-more alluring. Scammers know this and will use your
dreams of easy money to trick you into investing in a too-good-to-be-true
venture that promises big bucks for little or no effort.
There are endless variations on this popular
con, from wealthy foreign nationals needing assistance transferring money to
more legitimate-sounding business deals offering huge payoffs with no risk.
These messages sometimes appear as if they were sent to you accidentally,
making it feel like fortune has finally favored you—just like you always
dreamed it would.
But in reality, strangers don’t just randomly
offer other strangers incredible money-making opportunities. What kind of
trustworthy business person would seek to partner with someone they’ve never
met? And if it’s such a great investment, why not recruit someone they know or
simply do it themselves? Indeed, any unsolicited money-making venture you
receive online from a person you don’t know is almost certainly a scam.
Requests for personal information Whenever someone
unfamiliar asks you for personal information like a credit card number, Social
Security number, or your mother’s maiden name, proceed with extreme caution.
Ask them why they need this information. Request they verify their identity.
Enquire about alternate methods of proceeding that do not require such private
Reputable sources will respect your privacy
and be more than willing to provide you with identity verification, or at least
offer an alternate way for you to proceed without the need for such personal
data. For example, if you receive an email request for your credit card number,
look up the organization’s phone number using a source other than what they
provide in the email, and ask if you can call and give your information over
the phone instead.
your loved ones from all possible threats By becoming familiar with
how such deceptions work and knowing what to look for, you and your loved ones
will be far less likely to be conned. At the same time, you should also do
everything you can to safeguard your family’s finances from other threats that
have nothing to do with fraud.
Without comprehensive estate planning, your family’s wealth and assets
are in real danger of being seriously depleted or lost in the event of your
death or incapacity. Meet with us to
learn about the best planning strategies to put in place to ensure your loved
ones will be taken care of no matter what happens.
Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,
https://www.calilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Scam-91024.jpg8001200CaliLawhttps://www.calilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Cali-Law-Logo-A5-1-300x99.pngCaliLaw2019-05-17 11:31:122019-05-17 11:31:123 Warning Signs of a Financial Scam
When it comes to estate planning, most people
automatically think about taking legal steps to ensure the right people inherit
their stuff when they die. And these people aren’t wrong.
Indeed, putting strategies in place to protect and
pass on our wealth and other assets is a fundamental part of the planning
equation. However, providing for the proper distribution of our assets upon
death is just one part of the process.
And it’s not even the most critical part.
Planning that’s focused solely on who gets what when you die is ignoring the
fact that death isn’t the only thing to be prepared for. You must also consider
that at some point before your eventual death, you could be incapcitated by
accident or illness.
Incapacity can be a temporary event from which you eventually recover, or it can be the start of a long and costly event that ultimately ends in your death. Indeed, incapacity can drag out over many years, leaving you and your family in agonizing limbo. This uncertainty is what makes incapacity planning so incredibly important.
In fact, incapacity can be a far greater burden for your loved ones than your death. This is true not only in terms of its potentially ruinous financial costs, but also for the emotional trauma, contentious court battles, and internal conflict your family may endure if you fail to address it in your plan.
The goal of effective estate planning is to keep your family out of court and out of conflict no matter what happens. So if you only plan for your death, you’re leaving your family—and yourself—extremely vulnerable to potentially tragic consequences.
Where to start Planning for incapacity requires a different mindset and different tools than planning for death. If you’re incapacitated by illness or injury, you’ll still be alive when these planning strategies take effect. What’s more, the legal authority you grant others to manage your incapacity is only viable while you remain alive and unable to make decisions about your own welfare.
If you regain the cognitive ability to make your own decisions, for instance, the legal power you granted others is revoked. The same goes if you should eventually succumb to your condition—your death renders these powers null and void.
To this end, the first thing you should ask yourself is, “If I’m ever incapacitated and unable to care for myself, who would I want making decisions on my behalf?” Specifically, you’ll be selecting the person, or persons, you want making your healthcare, financial, and legal decisions for you until you either recover or pass away.
You must name someone The most important thing to remember is that you must choose someone. If you don’t legally name someone to make these decisions during your incapacity, the court will choose someone for you. And this is where things can get extremely difficult – and costly – for your loved ones.
This potential turmoil and expense can be easily avoided through proper estate planning. An effective plan would give the individuals you’ve chosen immediate authority to make your medical, financial, and legal decisions, without the need for court intervention. What’s more, the plan can provide clear guidance about your wishes, so there’s no mistake or conflict about how these vital decisions should be made.
What won’t work Determining which planning tools you should use to grant and guide this decision-making authority depends entirely on your personal circumstances. There are several options available, but choosing what’s best is something you should ultimately decide after consulting with an experienced lawyer.
That said, we can tell you one planning tool that’s
totally worthless when it comes to your incapacity: a will. A will only goes
into effect upon your death, and then it merely governs how your assets should
be divided, so having a will does nothing to keep your family out of court and
out of conflict in the event of your incapacity.
Don’t let a bad situation become much worse You may be powerless to prevent your potential incapacity, but proper estate planning can at least give you control over how your life and assets will be managed if it does occur. Moreover, such planning can prevent your family from enduring needless trauma, conflict, and expense during this already trying time.
If you’ve yet to plan for incapacity, we can counsel
you on the proper planning vehicles to put in place, and help you select the
individuals best suited to make such critical decisions on your behalf. If you
already have planning strategies in place, we can review your plan to make sure
it’s been properly set up, maintained, and updated. Contact us today to get
Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,
https://www.calilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/elder-asian-incapacitated-91024.jpg12771920CaliLawhttps://www.calilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Cali-Law-Logo-A5-1-300x99.pngCaliLaw2019-05-08 12:04:412019-05-08 12:04:41The Real Cost To Your Family: Not Planning For Incapacity
The average age of parents raising children in the US continues to rise, leaving many middle-aged Americans in a category commonly referred to as the “sandwich” generation.
This growing population of professionals are often still raising kids at home when they become responsible for the care of their own aging parents. The stress and financial strain of managing the affairs of both children and parents can easily become overwhelming. The following tips, however, can help make this challenging stage of life manageable if not more enjoyable.
Assess the Financial Situation. Taking time to thoroughly understand the financial picture for your own household is imperative as you step into a role of responsibility for your aging parents. Prepare for the inevitable and avoid surprises by working with a professional to consider how your role in the care of your parent will affect the plans you are making for your family’s financial future. You’ll want a comprehensive planning process that ensures your legal, financial and insurance needs are covered appropriately.
Plan Ahead. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Planning for your family’s future means preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. As you move through helping your aging parent with important Estate Planning decisions, take time to be sure your own wishes are legally binding as well. Be sure to include:
Medical power of attorney – appoints a person to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so
Durable power of attorney – designates a person to make financial decisions if you are unable to do so
Living will – expresses your wishes for end of life decisions
Will – carries out your wishes in the event of your death
Kids Protection Plan – designates a legal guardian for your minor children in the event of your incapacitation or death
Pay Attention to Red Flags. Even if your aging parent is still quite capable, work together to assess their financial situation carefully and be on the lookout for signs that anything is falling through the cracks. Common red flags are:
Frequent calls from creditors
Forgetfulness when it comes to bills and deadlines
Utilize professional legal and financial support when necessary and communicate clearly so everyone knows who is responsible for what.
Practice Good Self Care. Stress is one of the most common consequences of caring for two generations at once. Balancing the responsibilities of raising children and caring for aging parents with relaxation and play is vital over the long-haul. Remember that adequate rest and good nutrition will provide you with the extra energy you’ll need when times get tough. Most importantly, remember that you don’t have to do it alone! Establish a relationship with trusted advisors who are ready to assist you when duty calls.
For example, if you schedule a Family Legacy Planning Session with us, we’ll review your current financial situation in light of your future responsibilities. With our assistance, you’ll gain the confidence of knowing you’re making the most empowered, informed and educated legal and financial decisions for yourself and the ones you love. Begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Legacy Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and securing your legacy,