Doing it all can be exhausting!


Hey There! 

Never feel like there are enough hours in a day to get EVERYTHING done?! So much on that never ending to-do list….

I’ve been there. I can totally relate.

Working all day. Taking care of the kids. Making sure the house isn’t a ​TOTAL ​mess.

Wanting a little more sleep. A little more “me” time.

The truth is though, if we don’t take the time for a little self-care, we can’t be the best at our career, the best mom, the best friend, sister, daughter. Catch my drift?

Nope. We can’t.

We become Little Miss Cranky Pants.

So, this week I am proposing a little challenge. Are you ready?

Take 15 minutes out of your day (yes, everyday) to focus on YOU! Say yes to what YOU want without feeling guilty.

If it’s YES to an extra glass of wine, do it!

If it’s YES to creating that budget (or ::cough cough:: starting your estate plan), DO IT!

This is the week of SAYING YES TO YOURSELF!

Just know that these 15 minutes for the next 7 days will be absolutely life changing. I PROMISE.

I really want to keep you accountable, so go ahead and rtag me on Facebook or Instagram to let me know what you’re doing everyday.

And, because I know staying on track can be tough, I’m going to do it too- so be sure to follow me online to see what I’m saying YES to!



P.S. Happy 4th of July! Don’t forget to join me on Thursday July 7th for tips on legacy planning and how you can check items off your bucket list! 

What’s the ROI of You?!

Hey There! 

Is it just me, or does there really need to be a day in between Saturday and Sunday?! The weekend always seems a little too short.

This past Friday I went to something called an “unconference”- no agenda, no set speakers. The attendees were all in charge of creating what was discussed. Oh, and did I also mention it was made up of 80 women lawyers?! Dope, right?

It was amazing and motivating to see so many individuals dealing with similar issues- work/life balance, being a perfect mom and being a great employee/er, wanting career growth, etc. Absolutely EMPOWERING and I made some really awesome new friends!

Obviously, it got me thinking about you and how much energy you spend on things you can change but don’t. Double standards, pay inequality, and lack of women in certain careers are all issues that are being addressed within society…..slowly but surely. But your personal issues and concerns- well those you can deal with head on and RIGHT NOW.

As your business and your family grow, it’s important to make sure you take some time to step back and re-evalute how you’re spending your time. Where are you investing your energy and whats the return on investment (ROI) of that energy?

Not only is caring for the kiddos, the house and the business important, but so is self-care. You don’t want to burn out. So, take steps to tackle things that have been lingering and taking up too much of your energy.

Whether its creating your estate plan, incorporating a new business, or deciding how your business will run when you’re gone- you have items on your mind that could have been checked off a loooooong time ago. Let’s be honest, if you would stop being afraid of the uncertainty and stop procrastinating, you could deal with some of the energy-suckers.

Stop spending your time on the “WHAT-IFs” and put some plans in place so you can spend more time snuggling with those babies and building your squad.

Moral of this story: Stop with the excuses already! Invest in yourself, your business, and your family. Meet new people. Get out of your comfort zone.

And I can promise you that the ROI on getting your ducks in a row and taking care of yourself outweighs the stress, time and financial impact of dealing with the clean up after a storm.

So, cheers to new beginnings- a new week and new month- and to getting sh!t done!



P.S. There’s still time! Have burning questions? Want us to discuss something in our Newsletter? Send us an email and let us know what’s on your mind!


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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!






What a living trust DOES NOT do for you

Chaos Planning

There are so many benefits of a revocable living trust that people sometimes think it will do everything they want. As you know by now, one of the biggest benefits of a revocable living trust is avoiding probate. Here are four things a living trust DOES NOT do.

  1. It does not control medical decisions. A living trust is not the same as a living will. Although the names are similar and they are both legal documents, they do very different things. A living trust lets you keep control of your assets. A living will lets you keep some control over medical decisions, but it is very limited—it only lets others know how you feel about life support in case of terminal illness. A better document is a health care power of attorney (also called an advance directive or health care proxy). This lets you give legal authorityto another person to make all health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
  2. It does not protect your assets from creditors while you are living. Because a living trust is revocable (meaning you can change or cancel it), you still have control of your assets and have access to them at all times. Even the IRS considers a revocable living trust to be a “non-event” because you can put assets in and take them out at any time. If you still have access to your assets, so do your creditors. However, after you die, assets that remain in your trust for your beneficiaries are protected from their creditors, including divorce proceedings. If you are concerned about asset protection, talk to your attorney as soon as possible about your options.
  3. It does not help you qualify for Medicaid (or other government medical assistance). Medicaid is a federally funded health care program that was created primarily to provide health care services for the poor. It also pays for an unlimited number of days of nursing home care, which makes it appealing to some people who are not poor. To qualify for Medicaid, you can only have a limited amount of assets and receive a certain amount of income. Some people think putting their assets into a revocable living trust will help them qualify for Medicaid because the assets are no longer titled in their individual names. But because a living trust is revocable, you still have control of your assets and have access to them. As a result, assets in your living trust are “available” and counted if you apply for Medicaid—so transferring your assets to a living trust will not help you qualify for Medicaid. If you are interested in qualifying for Medicaid, talk to an attorney who specializes in elder law and Medicaid matters.
  4. It has no effect on your income taxes. You must still report any income you earn each year and pay any taxes due on that income. As long as you are living, you continue to use your own social security number and file the same income tax returns. (A separate tax identification number and separate tax return for your trust are required only after you die.) Some irrevocable trusts may be able to save income taxes. If you are interested in this, talk to your estate planning attorney.

“A Good Plan Today is better than a Perfect Plan Tomorrow” 
– George Patton

Annoying (but Required) Disclaimer: This blog is a resource guide for educational and informational purposes only and should not take the place of hiring an attorney. No information on this blog creates an attorney-client relationship between us. If you would like to hire an attorney, you can give us a call at (650) 503-3770.

Mom? Divorced? Unmarried? If any of those apply, this is for you.


If you have a kiddo under the age of 18, you have a minor. If you’re divorced or unmarried, you could face issues when appointing a guardian.

There is the “Guardian of the Person” and “Guardian of the Estate”- sometimes it’s the same person, others its not.

So what’s a mama to do? Let’s walk through this.

Guardian of the Person

Guardian of the Person is the person your kid will live with on the day-to-day- think location, home, school.

In California, dad will automatically receive “custody” of the child, especially since there are likely court orders in place that indicate the dad already has rights.

When working on your guardianship appointment you must take into consideration (because the court sure does) what is in the “best interest of the child”- if being with dad is best, then that’s what happens. If not, then you can appoint a “guardian of the person” or someone else who would get physical custody of your kiddo. You’ll also want to make sure you have supporting evidence as to why dad isn’t the best option.

Guardian of the Estate

Guardian of the Estate is the person who will manage all your moolah for your kid- think trust fund. Now, if you’re divorced or your baby daddy can’t keep up with child support, you don’t want him to manage the money for your kid.

Most times, mamas will appoint the same person she appoints as her trustee- someone she trusts with money.

So you have a couple of things to consider. Have questions or want to chat some more? Give us a call or shoot us an email to set up a time. You can even head on over to our CONTACT page and schedule it online.

Happy Hump Day!

Estate Planning Tips for a 2nd Marriage

What does QTIP mean? It stands for “Qualified Terminable Interest Property.” But that doesn’t explain what it is. So what is the purpose of the QTIP trust?

The QTIP Trust can help you put specifications on your property. For example, if you are in a 2nd marriage but want to divide your property between your current spouse and any children from a previous marriage, the QTIP trust would help in such a situation.

Essentially, with a QTIP trust, when the first spouse dies the surviving spouse would become the “life beneficiary.” When the second spouse passes away, the trust assets would be automatically passed to the children of the first spouse, the “final beneficiaries.”

In the current times of continual change and uncertainty about estate taxes, QTIP trusts are very useful. For example, if one spouse were to die, the QTIP trust would allow the survivor to decide how much of the property should be placed in a trust to maximize the estate tax savings.

Although a QTIP trust doesn’t eliminate estate tax, having one can postpone the estate tax until the death of the second spouse. If a QTIP trust is in place, then at death, there will be no estate tax placed on the assets within the trust. Instead, the assets would qualify for “unlimited marital deduction” which allows for all property to pass to the surviving spouse, regardless of estate tax.

How Life Insurance is Important to Estate Planning

If you are working on your estate planning documents, and you want to make sure it is included in your financial plans, life insurance is one thing you definitely want to look into.

As the main purpose of life insurance is the protection of your family after you pass away, it is an obvious tool recommended by attorneys, financial planners, life insurance agents, financial reporters and even bloggers whether or not they have any financial incentive to recommend it.

Why?  Because in the majority of cases, your family will receive more than is paid in, they will get it quickly and without any immediate tax burden.  It is a flexible tool that can be bought in many different forms, and is also not limited to the wealthy.

However, it can be a pretty complex topic, and without your full attention, you can get involved with an expensive policy that could behave very differently than you intended.

We have a few trusted life insurance agents we work with (no, we do not receive a commission), so if this is something you are interested in, give the office a call. Also, keep an eye out for our upcoming workshop on life insurance and estate planning.

Start Planning Now!

Are you in your 20’s or 30’s? Recently married? Have young children or a little one on the way?

When it comes to estate planning, the techniques and tools are somewhat different for young couples with or without children or single parents than for older parents with adult children. For example, because you’re still building your estate and saving for your children’s college educations, gifting probably will not be part of your estate planning strategy. But one powerful technique that benefits you as well as older estate planners is the use of trusts. Let’s take a closer look at how trusts can benefit your estate plan.


A living trust can provide for the secure management of the money you leave your children when you die. If your surviving spouse is not confident about managing substantial assets, or if both you and your spouse die, a living trust may name an institutional trustee to invest and distribute the funds according to your instructions. Such a trustee, usually a bank, will use professional money managers and provide the principal to your children for their basic material needs, education, healthcare, reasonable comfort and whatever you deem important for their support.

A trust not only minimizes estate tax and avoids probate, a primary need for older estate planners, but also protects your children when you or your spouse die.

Even if you don’t have children, an estate plan is still a necessity because you do have heirs. Who are your heirs? They could be your parents and siblings, other relatives, or friends. Unless you have an estate plan, those heirs will have to wait months or years for the probate court to approve their inheritance after your death. In addition, they may lose some of their inheritance to estate tax.

Let’s talk about death, baby!

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twainleap

Sometimes you need to just take the leap! Talking about death isn’t a fun topic, but the truth is, it is inevitable.

It is better to prepare and have a plan in place rather than just sit back and “hope” everything works itself out. Show your loved ones how much you truly care and create an estate plan to help them when you are not around.

By having no plan in place your loved ones face the hassle of dealing with probate which is both time consuming and expensive. Don’t leave your loved ones to deal with probate proceedings all while trying to remember your life.

Why the New Year is a great time to update your estate planning documents

We are now 12 days into 2015! I hope it’s going well for you and you’re sticking to those resolutions!

Happy-New-Year-with-stars-2015The beginning of the year is the best time to update your estate plan. However, you should not only think about the assets and property involved but also the people involved. Carefully consider your beneficiaries, trustees and agents whom you have entrusted to care for your assets, property and loved ones.

So what exactly should you be looking for as you update your estate planning documents? Following are some possible events and circumstances that might require changes in your will or other estate planning documents:

1.   Marriage. Did you, your child or another family member named in your documents get married?

2.   Divorce. Did you, your child or another family member named in your documents get divorced?

3.   Birth or adoption of a child, grandchild, etc. Did you, your child, or someone else give birth or adopt a child that you would like included in your estate planning? Do you have to name a guardian for your children in case of your death?

4.   Child has reached the age of majority. Has a child named in your estate planning documents turned 18 or otherwise reached a milestone set in your estate plan?

5.   Death or serious illness. Has someone named in your estate plan died or fallen seriously ill, especially if it’s someone who has been named as your executor, power of attorney or trustee?

6.   Changes in relationships with people, pets or organizations. Do you have a new relationship with someone or an organization you would like to include in your planning? Alternately, have you severed any such relationships?

7.   Purchase or sale of major assets. Have you bought or sold a house, opened or closed a business, etc.?

8.   New insurance policies or pension plans. Have you acquired new insurance policies or pension plans that require adjustment of beneficiaries in your estate plan? Have you reached the age at which you are required to take distributions from a pension plan?

9.   Change of your state of residence. Have you moved and inadvertently made part of your estate plan invalid?

10. Tax law changes. Are there new or different provisions in the tax law that affects your estate distribution plan?

And of course if you don’t have any estate plan in place or are missing a few of the essential documents, now is also a great time to set that up. You can read my post on  Top 4 (MUST HAVE) Estate Planning Documents to have on the blog.

Likewise, if you’re ready to schedule an appointment with me, give the office a call at (650) 503-3770 or send me an email at carmen  (at) carmenrosaslaw (dot) com. You can also visit the Contact Page!