2018 Super Lawyers Selection

I am honored to have been selected by Super Lawyers® to the 2018 Rising Stars List.

Only 5% of attorneys are selected for Super Lawyers, and only 2.5% make the Rising Stars List. At Tresp Law, APC, we take tremendous pride in the work we perform for our clients, and I am tremendously honored to have been recognized by the community for the work of our entire team. 

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Will your Trust actually work as intended? A harsh lesson that lost the family home.

So you have a Trust. Good move. But when the time comes, will your Trust actually perform as intended?

A poorly written Trust will only give you a false sense of security, and even if your Trust is well-written, neglecting to fund or follow the provisions of your Trust will render the document worth little more than the paper on which it was printed.

From the annals of "you don't have what you thought you did" comes the instructional story of a Newport Beach homeowner, who thought he had protected his multi-million dollar home with a "QPRT" (Qualified Personal Residence Trust), only to find out at the worst possible time that his Trust failed miserably.

As an attorney with high-net-worth clients who turn to me to protect their assets, I understand well the importance of meticulously drafted Trusts that can withstand all challenges. As a litigator, all too often I see rusts that do not perform as intended.

I encourage you to read this article, published in Forbes by Jay Adkisson, and linked below, but the principal lessons are:

  1. Laws and circumstances change. Your Trust is a living document that must be kept up to date.
  2. A QPRT can be an excellent tool to mitigate future estate tax liability, but only if drafted effectively, which brings us to the next lesson:
  3. Irrevocable means irrevocable. Even if your Trust is supposed to be irrevocable, if provisions therein allow you to revoke it, then you may be at risk.
  4. Finally, filing for bankruptcy must be approached with extreme caution.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jayadkisson/2015/09/30/qprt-deemed-revocable-and-fails-to-protect-home-in-ferrante/

Call me at 888-814-5552 or contact me by email for all of your asset protection, estate planning, and litigation needs. 

How Well-Written is Your Estate Plan?

Even if you have an estate plan, how well-written is it, and have you kept it up to date? The heirs of Robin Williams have commenced an expensive court battle due to conflicting provisions in his trust. Read more here.

Essentially, Robin Williams' estate plan included a trust that granted his children his memorabilia and awards in the entertainment industry and some other specific personal items, but also called for the creation of provisions to benefit his wife, which included the couple's home and "the contents thereof,” according to his will.

Pitfalls and conflicts such as this are all too common in many trusts I have reviewed. Simply put, not all estate plans are created equal.

We can review your estate plan today to ensure that your heirs don't fall victim to the same unfortunate errors that plague Robin Williams' heirs.

Call me at 888-814-5552 or contact me by email for a free consultation.

Protect Your Home With A Trust

Trusts are important for any homeowner, not just the wealthy.

FIRST, WHAT IS A TRUST?

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement in which a grantor transfers their own property to a third party, or trustee(s), to hold for the benefit of another, the beneficiaries.

Trusts may be revocable or irrevocable, and may be in effect during life or testamentary, to take effect when the grantor is deceased.

WHY PUT REAL ESTATE INTO A TRUST?

1. Avoid probate. This is a big one. When a California property owner dies, most assets not held in Trust must be administered and distributed under court supervision as designated in the decedent's Last Will and Testament. If no will exists, State law governs the administration and distribution. Unfortunately, this process causes delays and can eat up a large portion of the estate.

The costs associated with probate are based on the total value of the asset, not the net value after liabilities. For example, if you own a home worth $1,000,000 but owe $950,000 on your mortgage, the value for probate costs is still $1,000,000. In that case, probate would cost $21,000 in statutory fees, plus court costs and fees. As you can see, probate can be very expensive.

Probate will take between six months and two years to complete. During that time, the asset is held up and has not been distributed to your heirs.

2. Avoid reassessment for tax purposes. Usually, a change in ownership causes the property to be reassessed for property taxes, unless a parent/child or other exclusion applies. Transferring the home to a beneficiary through a revocable trust does not cause reassessment. This means that your beneficiary won’t get stuck with higher property tax payments, even if the home has appreciated in value over the years.

3. Ensure your wishes are honored. With a trust, you have full control over exactly what happens to your property when you pass.

4. Protect your property if you are incapacitated. With a trust, you are able to designate someone to handle your financial affairs, allowing you protection should you become incapacitated.

5. Possible savings on estate taxes. Finally, a trust can help you to save, or avoid, Estate Taxes. For more details on how, contact Elizabeth A. Tresp, Attorney at Law today.

ARE THERE DISADVANTAGES?

The only possible disadvantage is the potential inconvenience imposed by some financial institutions. If you ever need to refinance or sell your home, your financial institution may require the additional step of having you transfer the property out of trust and back to you personally in order to sell it. If you are refinancing, some banks may require you to transfer the property back to you personally for the refinance, and then you can transfer it back into the trust. But doing so is very simple and quick.

NEXT STEPS

Call Elizabeth A. Tresp, Attorney at Law today at 888-814-5552 or email us. We have offices in Solana Beach and Pacific Beach. Protect your home and family with a trust today. 

PRACTICE AREAS

A New Year's Resolution your family will appreciate

Dust off that Will and Trust you had drawn up years ago. Where is it now, anyway? In a desk? Safe deposit box? 

When was the last time you looked at it? Changes happen over time. Changes to your family, changes to your assets, and changes to the laws.

For 2015, resolve to have your documents reviewed. Perhaps they're fine, perhaps they just need a minor tweak to make them current. Either way, we are here to help. Now is the time for a review, so contact us today.

If you don't have an Estate Plan, now is the time. Contact us and, based on your needs, we will put together an Estate Plan suited to your specific situation, generally including:

  • Pour-over Will
  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Advance Health Care Directive
  • Durable Power of Attorney

Contact me today at 888-814-5552 or send me an email.

Estate Plans are Critical for Singles

Most people understand the importance of an effective Estate Plan for the “married with children” portion of the population. Few think about the divorced, widowed, and singles. For these groups, an Estate Plan is just as important!

If you are single, and do not have a valid Will or Trust, your lifetime of accumulations go where the state says they go. Each state sets standard formulas for distribution when a person dies without a Will or Trust, or “intestate”. That means a single person’s estate may be distributed to distant relatives, potentially against the decedent’s wishes, or if there are no relatives, then to the state. Would you want the result of your life’s work to end up in the hands of the state?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on this topic, warning, “it can be especially important for single people to work with estate-planning professionals.”

I encourage you to read the Wall Street Journal article, linked below. If you are single, or if you know a single person who does not have an Estate Plan, contact me today for a free consultation. In the New Year, resolve to set aside an hour to discuss with me how to secure your legacy.  

A general Estate Plan will usually include:

  • Pour-over Will
  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Advance Health Care Directive
  • Durable Power of Attorney

Contact me today at 888-814-5552 or send me an email.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/estate-planning-essentials-for-single-people-1417917773

National Estate Planning Awareness Week

Did you know that over 120 million Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan? 

In 2008, Congress adopted this week, October 20-26, as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. This week is the perfect opportunity to set aside time to plan for your family's future by creating or updating your estate plan. 

To learn more about estate planning, visit the Estate Planning section of our website for more information. Contact Elizabeth today to learn how easy creating or updating your estate plan can be.

Governor vetoes bill to update probate code to protect pets

On September 19, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1520, a bill introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto and passed 72-0 in the California State Assembly. This bill gained notoriety for being the first “crowd-sourced” bill, written by Gatto’s constituents on a wiki. What was the topic of the bill? Updating the probate code to help protect our pets.

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Tax bills on the way for many Covered California enrollees who fail to keep up with IRS reporting requirements

If you obtained health insurance offered through an Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) exchange, such as Covered California, did you know that you are required to report changes in income and other life changes to the IRS throughout the year? Hundreds of thousands of Americans will find out the hard way, with a tax bill from the IRS.

Don’t get caught in that unfortunate situation. If you obtained health insurance through Covered California, you likely received a “premium tax credit” to offset the cost of insurance, based on the estimated income you provided. However, if the actual income reported on your tax return next year is different than the estimated income you reported, the IRS may require you to pay back that tax credit. For many, that could be a large unexpected tax bill.

Staying informed of intricacies of the tax code is difficult, but getting caught off guard by the IRS is even worse. If you run into problems with the IRS or Franchise Tax Board, contact Elizabeth A. Tresp, Attorney at Law, today.

The probate process explained

The passing of a loved one is a difficult time, and the need to settle their estate can only make matters worse. Without a Trust in place, the estate will have to go through probate.

Probate is a costly, emotionally taxing, and complicated process. Numerous, complex laws govern the probate process in California. Elizabeth A. Tresp, Attorney at Law, will guide you through the probate process with care, compassion, and confidence.

With Elizabeth’s guidance, you will avoid the pitfalls that can lead to significant and costly errors.

THE PROBATE PROCESS

When a California property owner dies, most assets not held in Trust must be administered and disposed of under court supervision as governed by the decedent's Last Will and Testament. If there is no will, State law governs the administration and distribution. Unfortunately, this process causes delays and can eat up a large portion of the estate.

Read More