Archives by: judy hicks

Mom Always Loved You Best

When creating an estate plan most people are determined to treat all their children equally. However, in some cases there are legitimate reasons to leave a disproportionate share of one’s wealth to one child. For example, one child may be better able to support herself as a surgeon when compared with her schoolteacher sibling. Proceeding with this same example, parents may have provided greater economic support to one child then to another (covering the cost of obtaining a medical degree versus ... Read more

How Do the Wealthy View Inherited Wealth?

A recent Barclays Wealth study of 2,000 high net worth individuals reveals interesting findings that warrant consideration by all of us when thinking about our estate plan beneficiaries. (more…) Read more

Recent Medical Discoveries May Affect Your Living Will

Most of my estate planning clients sign a Living Will to avoid the type of circumstances Terri Schiavo and her family were subjected to after she suffered a heart attack and brain damage that left her in a permanent vegetative state. For 15 years during extensive state and federal court battles between family members, Terri Schiavo was kept alive by means of a feeding tube. (more…) Read more

Protect Your Beneficiaries With a Special Needs Trust

If you are considering leaving money to a disabled family member or friend it is important to do this properly so as not to disqualify the beneficiary from receiving existing or future governmental benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medi-Cal. Rather than making a bequest directly to the beneficiary your gift should be made to a Special Needs Trust (also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust). Before doing this you should speak with the beneficiary or their legal ... Read more

Immunize Retirement Accounts from Beneficiaries’ Affluenza

Many people give considerable thought to the criteria that will govern the distribution of trust assets to their beneficiaries. The purpose of such criteria is to ensure that an inheritance will enhance the beneficiary’s life without destroying their initiative by transforming them into a trust fund kid. However, because IRA and other retirement accounts are not trust assets your beneficiaries receive those funds without any of the distribution criteria that apply to trust assets. If a significant amount of your estate ... Read more

How to Protect Your Beneficiaries’ Inheritance

An estate planning trust contains language that controls the distribution of trust assets to trust beneficiaries. This language can provide that the beneficiaries receive their inheritance in one lump sum or spread out over time with distributions linked to the beneficiary’s age or specific accomplishments such as graduation from college. Unfortunately, once a beneficiary receives their inheritance their creditors can obtain a court order seizing those funds and transferring them to the creditors. (more…) Read more