Hinshaw Estate Planning Blog

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Modern Estate Planning

Modern estate planning is not a transaction; it is a process. It involves not only our clients but many generations. It allows our clients to care for their loved ones with resources, love and wisdom.  It truly is "wealth counseling."  Modern estate planning is not just something done to plan for death – it is planning for life, and life involves changes and uncertainties.
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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Inheritance Protection

Back in the 1930s Joe and Rose Kennedy wanted the kids inheritance protected from five major possible attacks: (1) law suits (2) divorce (3) making sure that Kennedy wealth went only to Kennedy descendants and not gold digging son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws who could remarry after the death of a Kennedy descendant and spend Kennedy wealth on a replacement spouse (4) living and death probate and (5) estate taxes.  In order to accomplish their goals, they set up a living trust to protect their children's inheritance.

On November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy died the separate trust that his parent’s created for him continued to be held in trust for his two children, Caroline and John, Jr.  There were no estate taxes or probate costs and his wife Jackie was not a beneficiary.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Shifting the Burden of Proof

One way of proving undue influence is to shift the burden of proof onto the person that you feel exerted the undue influence over the decedent. If done successfully, the individual who allegedly exerted the undue influence must then prove that no such influence existed. This is a challenging position to be placed in during a trust or will contest proceeding.

Since shifting the burden of proof is an ideal way to prove undue influence, how is it best accomplished? Undue influence will be presumed under California law if three facts can be proved. These facts include:

  • That a confidential relationship existed between the person exerting the undue influence and the decedent.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Planning for the Unexpected

Estate planning is not just for older or wealthy people. Younger people, especially those with minor children, need to have an estate plan in place in order to give instructions to their loved ones to follow in the event of a debilitating accident or untimely death.

You may recall the media circus surrounding Terri Schiavo's unexpected incapacity.  In 1990, Terri Schiavo certainly did not anticipate slipping into a coma when she was only twenty-six year old. She did not have a Living Will and/or an Advanced Health Care Directive in place which led her husband and parents to fight over her medical care and ultimate wishes for the next 15 years.
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Saturday, April 9, 2016


Affluenza [af–floo–en–zuh]


1. Acute shopping frenzy infection casued by in an immediate lump sum of cash provided through an inheritance.  Symptoms may be intensified when the inheritance is received on a birthday and may include the immediate need for a Mercedes S-Class automobile and other luxury items. 

Does your revocable living trust provide for outright gifts of money to your young adult beneficiaries?  Are the outright gifts of money scheduled to occur on your beneficiaries' birthdays (i.e.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Three Big Reasons to Avoid California Probate Court by Establishing a Revocable Living Trust

Its Public!

Probate is a public proceeding— meaning anyone can examine your file, make a copy of your Will, and get a list of your family members and their addresses, their ages, and what they are receiving from your estate.

Its Time Consuming!

Probate also takes considerably longer to complete than a typical trust administration. Probate will usually delay distribution of estate assets and take anywhere from 9 to 24 months to complete.

Its Expensive!

The California Probate Code sets the maximum statutory fees that attorneys can charge for a probate. Higher fees can be ordered by a court for more complicated cases.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Now is a Perfect Time to Discuss Estate Planning

As a Forbes article recently explained, the holidays are a perfect time to discuss estate planning issues, because the planning is all about helping out one's family. One of the main goals of an estate plan is to ensure that surviving family members will be taken care of and not forced to endure stressful, complicated, and costly procedures to get financial affairs in order following a death.

One way to broach the topic over the holidays, is to frame the talk in the context of high-profile celebrity stories. Of course all marriages (short and long) have significant effects on one's estate planning documents, and an estate planning attorney should be consulted when a marriage is entered into or ended. It is smart to make appropriate changes even before a divorce is finalized; otherwise the estranged spouse may still retain control if a death occurs before the separation is official.
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Hinshaw Estate Planning is a practice group of Hinshaw, Marsh, Still & Hinshaw and assists clients in matters related to Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Planning for Children, Inheritance Protection, and Estate & Trust Litigation in the areas of Saratoga, San Jose, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, and Palo Alto within Santa Clara County, the areas of Menlo Park, Woodside, Atherton, Portola Valley, San Carlos, and Redwood City within San Mateo County, and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.

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