What’s a vision board and does it work?

Hey Mama!

Our second vision board party is underway and if you still need tickets, there are a few more days to purchase. visualize-flyer-1

I’ve been getting lots of questions about vision boards and whether or not they work- they do!


What’s a Vision Board? 
A vision board is just that- a board with your vision. It’s a board where your highest priorities and intentions are planted.

It’s what you want your life to be. Where you want to go. Who you want to meet.

{Note: The image in the background of the VISUALIZE flyer is a digital vision board I did in early 2016. I had healthy eating, a growing family, travel, love, spiritual awareness.}

You flip through magazines, draw pictures, print items, and/or attach mementos to a board that has the highest vision for your life.

The only rule to creating a vision board is THERE IS NO RULE. It can be whatever you want it to be.

But does it really work? Visualization is one of the most powerful exercises you can do. What you think you become. Not only does your vision board focus on the things you want, more importantly it focuses on the things you want to FEEL!  Do you want to be happy, peaceful, empowered, loved?

One thing you have to remember though, is a vision board is simply a tool.

It works if you work. In the process of creating the vision board, you get clarity on what you want to happen in your life and how you want to feel. By creating the board, you are setting the intention to manifest those things with the help of God and/or the Universe and of course taking action.

Want to know more, come join me in the first VISUALIZE vision board party happening THIS SATURDAY JANUARY 14th at 1:00pm! 

I will walk you through some exercises to get clear on where you want your life to go. What you want your legacy to be. What not to do. And of course the best steps to take to get you there.

You can buy tickets here. Space is limited so you won’t want to wait until the last minute!

 

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!

xo

Carmen

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!

 

xo,

Carmen

 

 

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.

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 to Prevent Family Feuds Following Death

How often have you heard about a family feud following a death in the family? Whether it is a personal relation or the story of Anna Nicole Smith or the Koch Brother – everyone has heard a horror story about wills and inheritances. Rather than risking a similar situation occurring in your own family, it’s important to protect your assets and familial relationships before you pass.

How do you do this? Rather than simply dividing an estate into portions, which can lead to estate litigation, designate a specific recipient for your most valuable assets. Put the specific designations into a will, which cannot be refuted.

Don’t think this could apply to you? Here’s an example: Ms. Clark has 2 daughters ages 30 and 26. Upon her death, her will designates that her estate be split 50/50 between her daughters. As her assets and items are being distributed, the younger daughter asks for a pair of earrings that belonged to her mother. However, the older daughter wants to keep the earrings for herself. At this point, the two daughters would have to go through a series of legal proceedings to work this situation out. However, had Ms. Clark designated the earrings to go to a specific daughter, there would be no problem.

Another way around this issue would be for Ms. Clark to have given her earrings away before she passed away. By giving away your prized possessions when you are still living, there is no room for misunderstandings regarding who was to receive what.

There are plenty of ways to assure that your personal effects are taken care of but it is important to be informed.

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.

Young-Couples-Financial-Tips

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.

The Missing Piece of Your Estate Plan

Happy New Year and Cheers to 2015! Can you believe it’s the 6th of January 2015 already?! Time is flying by!

As I perused my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over the past few days and came across everyone’s new years resolutions, I began to think about how many were to lose weight or get fit. Which then got me thinking about society and our focus on the physical- trying to be a size 2, remaining “youthful” or seeking out the best “anti-aging” cream. But, is staying young all it’s cut out to be?

phasesWell, when it comes to estate planning, I say it doesn’t. Without worldly education- i.e. working summer jobs, having to live with roommates while going to school or getting their first apartment- or without getting through each developmental phase adults usually go through, individuals get stuck in that one place until the stage is complete. If that phase is never complete, the individual never moves on. At each stage of life the individual learns to navigate certain challenges and responsibilities. But sometimes in the effort to “stay young” individuals become stuck.

If you have a decent size estate- own a home, have a retirement account and life insurance- and leave your estate to your children outright, the wealth and assets you leave behind could potentially handicap your child.

With a living trust you can appoint trustees to distribute your estate in phases to ensure that your child goes through each phase of life and doesn’t end up a millionaire at the age of 18 without any direction.

If you want to know how a trust can help ensure your child grows to be a responsible adult, financially, give us a call or send an email. We will be more than happy to discuss.

Should you hold a family meeting to explain your estate plan?

I received the following question from clients very often: “SHOULD I HOLD A FAMILY MEETING TO EXPLAIN MY ESTATE PLAN?”

Here’s my Answer:

265359183_640Parents are often reluctant to share their estate plans with their adult children. Some feel its a private matter and shouldn’t be revealed until death. Many are afraid of creating relationship problems within the family, for example if one child is chosen to be a trustee or executor over the others or if inheritances are not equal. But explaining your decisions now to your family, in a general way, will avoid surprises later and make it more likely that they will accept them.

Holding a family meeting is a good way to do this. You can ask your estate planning attorney and financial advisor to be there. They will be able to explain how your plan will work and why these decisions were made, as well as answer any questions. This will also introduce your advisors to your family members so they will be more comfortable working together in your absence.

Choose a date and time that is convenient for everyone and a place that is appropriate. Limit the meeting to adults; arrange for childcare if necessary. Have a beginning and ending time.

Make a list of topics you want to cover. No specific financial information or values of assets need to be disclosed at this time. This meeting should be a general explanation of what you have planned and why, in order to prepare family members for what they can expect and may need to do if you become disabled or die. Allow for and encourage questions and discussion.

It is likely that there will be some kind of anxiety when the meeting begins, but will allow your children and family members to ask questions to understand your intent.