Tag Archives: lawyer

Advance Directives (also known as Living Wills)

The content below is a transcript of the NBI webcast Elder Law: Start to Finish, held October 2016

Anybody who has had any interactions with estate planning attorneys knows that we like to come up with as many names as possible for the same exact thing. Advance Directives are also known as:

  • Living Wills
  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Proxy

All of these legal devices essentially do the same thing: Setting a set of directions, to an agent, that you as the principal set forth so that somebody knows what your choices are for your end of life and after life decisions.

There is federal law that governs Advance Directives known as the Patient Self Determination Act (1992). This Act requires that all providers of services give written information to each individual concerning:

  • Rights to make decisions under State Law
  • Right to accept or refuse medical treatment
  • Right to formulate an advance directive

Every institution must provide you with information about advance medical directives, including the right to make your own decision, under the applicable state law. Under federal law, if any institution (including hospitals and health care agencies) wants federal funding they need to abide by this.

If you have additional questions about Advance Directives (also known as Living Wills) contact our estate planning attorney in Woodland Hills today.

It’s Official – 2016 Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Increased!

Estate Planning Woodland HillsIt’s official — for 2016, the estate and gift tax exemption is $5.45 million per individual, up from $5.43 million in 2015.

That means an individual can leave $5.45 million to heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax. A married couple will be able to shield $10.9 million from federal estate and gift taxes.

The annual gift exclusion remains the same at $14,000.

For more information about estate planning, please contact our Estate Planning Attorney in Woodland Hills today: (818) 501-5800

What Happens to Reward Points When You Die?

Reward PointsTom was fairly successful in life and had a love for travel.  To maximize his options, Tom was enrolled in several different programs which generated reward points.  These points could then be redeemed for travel, hotel stays, car rentals, etc.  Tom assumed that when he passed away, his accumulation of reward points would simply pass on to his kids, or whomever else he designated as part of his estate plan.  Despite Tom’s intended plan, the reward programs had a different plan in mind.

Tom was enrolled in three specific reward programs, each of which was linked to a specific credit card:

  1. Citi/Aadvantage
  2. American Express
  3. Chase Marriott Rewards

Continue reading

Don’t Leave Your Fiduciaries Floundering (Part 2)

Estate Planning Attorney Woodland HillsContinuing from Part 1, here are 2 more suggestions you can do to make the task of being a fiduciary easier:

  1. Digital Assets. As e-commerce and money transfers become more common, consider adding a second called “Digital Assets” and include the following:
    1. Online only accounts like PayPal
    2. Accounts which you have opted to access online, such as banking accounts, online businesses or activities involving the electronic transfer of funds.

It would also be of assistance to leave your online account information and passwords in a secure location that your legal representatives can access — bearing in mind the need to Continue reading

Don’t Leave Your Fiduciaries Floundering (Part 1)

Estate Planning Attorney Woodland HillsThe task of a fiduciary (e.g. executor, trustee or attorney in fact), when you are no longer around or able to provide guidance, can be a difficult one. He or she is charged with the job of gathering/marshalling all your assets. Effectively he or she is taking your place when you are unable to act or are no longer with us. To make that task easier, there are a number of things you can do. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Non-Legal Records. There are documents, in addition to the legal ones, that may also assist your legal representative. Consider adding a section called “Records” and include the following:
    1. Any information on pre-paid funeral or cemetery arrangements;
    2. A list of valuable assets (such as stocks/bonds, artwork, jewelry, collectibles) and their location (such as closet safe, freezer, lockbox under bed);
    3. Deeds for real estate holdings (residential, commercial or timeshares) with copies of related insurance policies;
    4. Continue reading

How to Protect your Digital Assets (Part 3)

Digital AssetsContinuing from our Blog series on Digital Assets, here are a couple ways you can protect you and your family:

Identify your digital assets
You can break them down into broad categories (email, domain, storage, finances, banking, stocks, bonds, securities, taxes, retirement, insurance, credit cards, debts, utilities, businesses, social, media, loyalty and other) and for each asset identify the username, password, account number and any other identifying information necessary to access the asset.

There are many sites to store this information or you can store it to a tangible media source (such as a DVD, portable hard drive or flash drive) or Continue reading

The Care and Preservation of Your Digital Assets (Part 1)

Digital AssetsHow many of you get “paper” bank statements?  How many you write “paper” checks to pay your monthly bills?  How many of you pay your bills through automatically scheduled payments?  How many of you store and save your personal information on your computers and on third party sites? And what happens to this information if you are no longer around?  Can your family get access to it?

According to a 2011 Census more than three-quarters of all Americans owned a computer.  That number increased to nearly 90% of all Americans who had a bachelor’s degree or higher.  Today, the vast majority of the population owns a computer and with it, what are now referred to as “digital assets”.

A digital asset has been defined as “information created, generated, sent, communicated, received or stored by electronic means on a digital device or system that delivers digital information.”  In common parlance, digital assets include personal information contained in:

  • Online accounts with financial institutions (e.g. banks or credit card companies)
  • Social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, where a third party allows the account holder to store personal information
  • Online accounts with forums such as Amazon, eBay or Craigslist, that not only allow users to buy and sell but facilitate such transactions with on-line currency accounts such as Paypal.
  • Reward programs, such as frequent flyer miles or reward points.

Click here for Part 2 of “The Care and Preservation of Your Digital Assets”, where we will be discussing examples of digital asset disasters. If you have specific questions regarding your digital assets, you can contact our Estate Planning Attorney in Woodland Hills, Ca today.

What Happens to My Assets After I Pass Away?

Whomever you named as successor trustee will take over the administration portion of our trust and distribute your assets in the manner you specified.

Please see the following previous posts for additional information regarding trustees:


Google++KCMarieKnox