Estate Planning = A Woman’s Issue

Hello Sunshine! 

Why is estate planning be considered a “woman’s issue”, you ask?

Well, because the truth of the matter is women outlive men. Yup. In fact women are three times more likely than men to be widowed by the age of 65.

So, for women, estate planning is a crucial planning tool. Since they usually survive their spouses, women more often have the last word about how much wealth goes to family, charity or the taxman.

And, for those single or unmarried women, if you have no documents in place, your partner will not get anything per the laws of intestate succession (also known as probate). You will want to make sure you have basic documents to ensure your partner is provided for (if that’s what you want of course..)

How about those divorced with a second marriage? Make sure your kids aren’t disinherited by your new spouse. And you’ll want to make sure your ex is no longer listed on your beneficiary designations- or he will get a pretty penny from your life insurance or retirement account.

Remember- estate planning isn’t for the rich- it’s for EVERYONE. Yes, really. An estate is essentially your “stuff” and if you don’t care who it goes to, then don’t create a plan. Or if you don’t care about who will make health and financial decisions for you when you’re unable to, then don’t create a plan. Catch my drift?

Estate Planning is YOUR issue!

Want to get started? Call the office or shoot me a note and we can figure out how to best meet your needs. Need an update to your plan? We, can help too!






4 months left until 2015…What are YOU doing to achieve your goals?

ED-image-postWith summer winding down, wedding season ending, new babies coming into the world, school starting and only 4 months left of 2014, what are you doing to achieve your goals?

If reviewing or creating an estate plan is on your “to-do” list, now is the perfect time to meet with an attorney to get started on designing a plan perfect for your family or to review your plan to make sure there are no deficiencies.

Here are a couple of documents I have created to help you get started:

Estate Planning Deficiencies Checklist

Estate Planning Checklist- Do you need a trust?

If you want to schedule an appointment with me, visit the contact page or send an email to Carmen (at) CarmenRosasLaw (dot) com. I would love to chat with you about your options!



What to expect when working with me!

This is what Our First Year Together will look like.

Remember most of our estate plans are created based on a flat fee, so you will get all of our services for one low cost- no surprise bills!

To schedule a meeting or chat with a client specialist, visit the contact page or call us at 650-503-3770.

Talk to you soon!

Are you a “Successor Trustee”? Here’s a checklist of responsibilities to help!

When the Successor Trustee takes over the role of Trustee – whether due to the death or incapacity of the original Trustee – generally speaking the initial work is outlined below:

checklist21Determine what the assets are.

Determine the liabilities.

Change title to reflect the new trustee.

At that point – if the change in the office of Trustee is due to incapacity, then the ongoing duties of the Successor Trustee are to manage everything for the incapacitated person.

If the change is due to death, then once the assets have been marshaled and liquidated if necessary, and all final expenses and debts have been paid, and potential liabilities have been calculated, the Successor Trustee will distribute the remaining assets according to the terms of the trust for the remainder beneficiaries.

Additionally upon a death, review the following actions as a guide to help you in the first few weeks of administration of the estate.

  • You need to secure the assets and personal belongings consider removing valuables from the residence and place of business and store safely.
  • Consider changing locks if any property is not occupied by the spouse or a primary beneficiary.
  • Determine immediate cash needs for any beneficiary, never give a beneficiary money without first getting advice from an attorney; identify accounts where cash is immediately available; determine if any immediate expense must be paid (Hint: there are not many).
  • Request Postmaster to forward mail.
  • Inquire and determine about utilities (gas, electricity, telephone).  Don’t have these shut off yet.
  • Cancel charge accounts, credit cards, and newspaper, magazine subscriptions, internet, cable tv etc. and ask for refunds, if applicable.  Also inquire as to possible insurance benefits.
  • Make certain that property and casualty insurance coverage continues on personal effects, automobiles, real estate and any goods in storage.  NEVER say that a home is VACANT.  It is simply UNOCCUPIED, if in fact there is no other person currently living there.
  • If you have personal access to a safe deposit box with the deceased, do not remove the contents; the box should be inventoried in the presence of a bank officer and only then should the contents be removed.
  • Gather personal records, including checkbooks and statements for the last three years; obtain copies of income tax returns for the last three years.
  • Contact individuals who owe money to the deceased and arrange for continued collection.
  • Gather all life insurance and accident insurance policies; don’t forget to check travel clubs, alumni associations, trade associations, and any other organization that might make life insurance available to its members.
  • Contact Social Security and VA if applicable.
  • Hold any Social Security received after the date of death.  Don’t close a bank account into which automatic deposits may have been paid for awhile.
  • Check fire insurance on dwelling (does it cover if dwelling is vacant/UNOCCUPIED?

Have questions or want some help dealing with these responsibilities? Contact my office and we can assist you! 650-503-3770

The Trouble with DIY Estate Planning

vacation-estate-plan-review Everyone is always looking to save money! (I know I am). But, there are some things you shouldn’t do yourself, like estate planning. Work with a professional to ensure your peace of mind!

Although having a DIY estate plan is better than having nothing at all, unless you are single and have no assets, you shouldn’t be going at it alone.

People tend to make mistakes when filling out the forms and sometimes don’t understand the language or terms involved in the legal documents. Add “trust funding” to the mix and it could spell a recipe for disaster.

Another risk is that when it comes to transferring your money to family members after you pass away, a self-written will might contain holes that lead to errors. Without the help of a lawyer—or sometimes even with the help of a lawyer—a person might not prepare for contingencies such as being pre-deceased by children, divorce, or the births of new children. (Think the King of Pop or Anna Nicole Smith.)

And, if you think estate planning is expensive, probate costs about $12,000-$20,000 in attorneys fees  and correcting mistakes in DIY plans could cost the same amount, if not more in order to litigate.

My office offers a variety of payment plans and workshops to help you create an estate plan that fits within your budget. For peace of mind, contact the office today 650-503-3770 or visit our contact page to set up a 15 minute telephone consultation.


Casey Kasem + End-of-Life + Step-Children

Casey KasemAfter two weeks of being in a hospital in Washington, Casey Kasem has passed at the age of 82.

His passing did not come without notoriety. The pubic battle over his health care began in October 2013 when his oldest children protested in front of their father’s home after their step-mother would not allow the children to visit with Kasem.

In 2007, when Kasem found out he had Parkinson’s, he signed a Health Care Directive granting authorization to his two oldest daughters to make decisions for him.

This document, which snubbed Kasem’s wife, set the stage for the legal battle that would erupt six years later as his health deteriorated and his children accused the stepmother of shutting them out of their father’s life. It would serve as a legal basis for his daughter to have doctors discontinue infusions of water, food and medicine.

So, what can we take from this public and emotional battle:

  1. A health care directive is helpful to give instructions and appoint an agent to act on your behalf.
  2. A health care directive does not however, guarantee that no one will contest it.
  3. A health care directive allows you to pass on your wishes regarding life support so a judge can use it to make determinations in court if the issue arises.
  4. A situation like this is one reason why blended families (especially) should have a comprehensive estate plan.

May Mr. Casem rest in peace.