Our regularly updated blog discusses a variety of issues related to business, tax, and estate planning in California. Learn why an estate plan is necessary regardless of age or income, what steps you can take to reduce your tax liability and protect your assets, how to ensure your business remains on a solid legal foundation, and much more.

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  • Should We Discuss Rocks, Flossing, or the Alternative Minimum Tax? Congress passed the alternative minimum tax (AMT) some 45 years ago because some wealthy families were legally using so many deductions and tax breaks that they were paying no federal income taxes at all. Talking about the AMT gets about the same response as discussing igneous rocks and teeth flossing—not...
  • Affordable Retirement Locales Try to purchase a home in New York City with a budget of $140,000 and the options are pretty limited–a 375-square-foot apartment in Queens may be the most luxurious possibility. In Los Angeles, buyers may have to look exclusively at inland foreclosures. But in Knoxville, Tennessee, $140,000 buys a 1,750-square-foot,...
  • When Should I Create an Elder Law Estate Plan? The answer is the typically vague "it depends." Elder law estate planning is best viewed by your needs and circumstances, not by your age. The typical concerns prompting a plan include providing for disability, keeping assets out of court when you die or become disabled by using trusts rather than...
  • Take a Look at Last Year's Tax Return! Taxes are one of your largest retirement expenses. Your 2013 federal income tax form is a guide to reducing those taxes in 2014. Before filing away the return for last year’s taxes, take a few minutes to study it. A careful review of the return can point the way to...
  • Medicare and Medicaid: What's the Difference? If you have elderly parents, don’t wait to learn about Medicaid — sometimes referred to by a litany of other state names, like Medi-Cal and MassHealth. By any name, this is government insurance for people who have very little money that covers, among other things, the cost of home care...
  • Wait, Wealth Building Is That Simple? There's endless complication surrounding estate planning, tax and investment strategy. It seems complex, but it really isn't. That's because wealth building is so simple it can be explained in one sentence — Spend less than you earn and invest the difference wisely. "Spend less than you earn and invest the...
  • Will "Old School" Work for Your Family? Traditional estate plans don’t work well for many families these days. A traditional plan is for couples who are in their first and only marriage and have only kids from that marriage. Different plans, tools, and strategies might be needed for people with other life stories. Unfortunately, the divorce rate...
  • Estate Planning in a Nutshell If you don't make arrangements for what will happen after you are gone, the government will step in and make all those decisions for you—and they may not be the decisions you'd choose. The process will also be more difficult and costly for your family, so it's important to do...
  • Taxes and More Taxes? This year the unified federal gift and estate tax exemption was increased to $5.34 million dollars. What this change means is that an individual can now give up to $5.34 million during their lifetime, or pass away with an estate valued up to $5.34 million dollars, without paying any Federal...
  • Get That Retirement Nest Egg Growing! While saving more for retirement is a popular New Year's resolution, it often fails because people don’t have a plan to actually save more. The first months of the New Year are over. Are you on track to save as much for retirement as you thought? Did you catch the...
  • What Will Become of the IRA Charity Rollover? You were so helpful to me in September, clarifying the IRA charitable contribution. Do you know if the government is instituting that same contribution this year? We are well into tax season and planning for the upcoming year. Are you keeping up with the tax laws? As many retirees and...
  • Planning for the Final Chapter Completing the following four tasks can help you meet any last obligations to your loved ones, ensure your final days are spent as you want, and reconcile your dreams with the realities of your life. Is a goal without a plan just a wish? Regardless of the goals you have...