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Education
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Estate Planning TV

Updated 4 days ago

Business
Education
Investing
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Estate planning, generational wealth, legacy, estate taxes, asset protection, probate, elder law, trusts, wills, life insurance, and everything in between.

Read more

Estate planning, generational wealth, legacy, estate taxes, asset protection, probate, elder law, trusts, wills, life insurance, and everything in between.

iTunes Ratings

18 Ratings
Average Ratings
12
3
2
0
1

Good for basics but would be better if explained a little more

By a.m.r.12345 - Aug 14 2018
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Good for basics but doesn’t really explain much in depth— very surface level.

The Best Show on Earth About Estate Planning!!!

By Joshshapin - Jul 03 2018
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Excellent show about estate planning with a hint of personal touch and humor in every show! I am a practicing CPA specializing in private clients. I anticipate, listen and take away something new from every episode. I enjoy the way technical side of estate planning is blended with casual, everyday talk. Great job Chris; keep them coming!!!

iTunes Ratings

18 Ratings
Average Ratings
12
3
2
0
1

Good for basics but would be better if explained a little more

By a.m.r.12345 - Aug 14 2018
Read more
Good for basics but doesn’t really explain much in depth— very surface level.

The Best Show on Earth About Estate Planning!!!

By Joshshapin - Jul 03 2018
Read more
Excellent show about estate planning with a hint of personal touch and humor in every show! I am a practicing CPA specializing in private clients. I anticipate, listen and take away something new from every episode. I enjoy the way technical side of estate planning is blended with casual, everyday talk. Great job Chris; keep them coming!!!

Listen to:

Cover image of Estate Planning TV

Estate Planning TV

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

Estate planning, generational wealth, legacy, estate taxes, asset protection, probate, elder law, trusts, wills, life insurance, and everything in between.

New Estate Tax Legislation? The 99.8% Act Review | EPTV 065

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Bernie Sanders has proposed a new federal estate tax called the 99.8% Act.

In this video, I give you a quick break down of what the proposal entails and how it might affect you.

Enjoy!

————————–

We do estate planning and probate, and we are GOOD at it. Our firm rests on three core pillars:

1. Family protection
2. Elimination of barriers to entry (we make it easy for you)
3. Estate tax reduction/elimination

If you need estate planning or probate help, we should talk. The easiest way to do that is to click the link below and choose a date and time that work for you (over the phone or in person).

Estate Planning – https://estatemeeting.com

Probate – https://pain-free-probate.com/contact

Christopher Small is the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC. He created it with one goal – help YOU live a great life and leave a great legacy.

You’ll find information here on estate planning, probate, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts, charitable giving, wills, trusts, power of attorney, medical power of attorney, trustee selection, and everything in between.

The post New Estate Tax Legislation? The 99.8% Act Review | EPTV 065 appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Apr 20 2019

7mins

Play

How to Pick a Guardian for Your Kids if You Can’t Agree | EPTV 064

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To learn more about what a great estate plan looks like, go to http://estateplanningvideo.com.

One of the biggest challenges to getting an estate plan I hear from clients is an inability to agree on who the guardians for their kids should be if they both die.

In this video not only do I do my best convince you to pick SOMEBODY, I give you a simple strategy for weeding out the losers and picking a winner, at least for the time being.

—————————————————

We do estate planning and probate, and we are GOOD at it. Our firm rests on three core pillars:

1. Family protection
2. Elimination of barriers to entry (we make it easy for you)
3. Estate tax reduction/elimination

If you need estate planning or probate help, we should talk. The easiest way to do that is to click the link below and choose a date and time that work for you (over the phone or in person).

Estate Planning – https://cmslawfirm.com/strategysession

Probate – https://pain-free-probate.com/contact

Christopher Small is the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC. He created it with one goal – help YOU live a great life and leave a great legacy.

You’ll find information here on estate planning, probate, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts, charitable giving, wills, trusts, power of attorney, medical power of attorney, trustee selection, and everything in between.

The post How to Pick a Guardian for Your Kids if You Can’t Agree | EPTV 064 appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Feb 26 2019

12mins

Play

Estate Planning from A to Z (everything you need to know to get started) | EPTV 063

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In this episode of Estate Planning TV I cover everything I would cover in a traditional estate planning potential client meeting, including:

1. Power of attorney
2. Medical power of attorney
3. Minor power of attorney (temporary guardian paperwork)
4. Minor medical power of attorney
5. Health care directive
6. Disposition instructions
7. Will
8. Revocable living trust
9. Credit shelter trust (for Washington State estate taxes)

Please take a look, and if you want to talk more click the link below to schedule a time to talk or call us at 206.659.1512.

——————————————

We do estate planning and probate, and we are GOOD at it. Our firm rests on three core pillars:

1. Family protection
2. Elimination of barriers to entry (we make it easy for you)
3. Estate tax reduction/elimination

If you need estate planning or probate help, we should talk. The easiest way to do that is to click the link below and choose a date and time that work for you (over the phone or in person).

Estate Planning – https://cmslawfirm.com/strategysession

Probate – https://pain-free-probate.com/contact

——————————————

Christopher Small is the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC. He created it with one goal – help YOU live a great life and leave a great legacy.

You’ll find information here on estate planning, probate, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts, charitable giving, wills, trusts, power of attorney, medical power of attorney, trustee selection, and everything in between.

The post Estate Planning from A to Z (everything you need to know to get started) | EPTV 063 appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Feb 20 2019

19mins

Play

Five Revocable Living Trust Distribution Considerations | Estate Planning TV 062

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This episode is all about revocable living trust distribution considerations… or more specifically, some of the things to think about when planning for the distribution of your assets to the next generation (usually kids).

These are the revocable living trust distribution considerations we talk about:

1. How old are the beneficiaries?
2. How much control do you want them to have?
3. Any special needs?
4. Are you interested in legacy?
5. Can the make good decisions on their own (example IRA distribution decisions)…

And a bonus, number six, things to think about if you have a blended family.

Enjoy!

————————————————–

We do estate planning and probate, and we are GOOD at it. Our firm rests on three core pillars:

1. Family protection
2. Elimination of barriers to entry (we make it easy for you)
3. Estate tax reduction/elimination

If you need estate planning or probate help, we should talk. The easiest way to do that is to click the link below and choose a date and time that work for you (over the phone or in person).

Estate Planning – https://cmslawfirm.com/scheduleasession

Probate – https://pain-free-probate.com/contact

Christopher Small is the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC. He created it with one goal – help YOU live a great life and leave a great legacy.

You’ll find information here on estate planning, probate, revocable living trust, irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts, charitable giving, wills, trusts, power of attorney, medical power of attorney, trustee selection, and everything in between.

The post Five Revocable Living Trust Distribution Considerations | Estate Planning TV 062 appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Feb 17 2019

12mins

Play

Estate Planning for Blended Families | Estate Planning TV 061

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Note: this is the transcript of the video. Please excuse the casual tone – it’s just my style!

Hey, everybody, welcome to another episode of Estate Planning TV. I’m your host, Christopher Small, and I’m the owner of CMS Law Firm and this is the Internet’s most passionate show about estate planning. Today, I’m excited for many, many reasons. It’s sunny outside. It’s getting lighter more and more every day. It’s January, it’s almost February. So much to be excited for. But I’m actually really, really excited to be talking about this topic today because it is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. What we’re talking about is basically, Estate Planning for Blended Families: A How to Guide. I decided to talk about this because it’s something that comes up often with clients. It’s something that I have experienced with my own family. It’s something that is really, really important to think about if you have a blended family

Now, to sort of get all the way to the top view to the 10,000-foot view let’s first just talk about what a blended family is. A blended family is like the Brady bunch, basically. If you remember, and I don’t even remember what the mom and dad’s name were, but the dad comes into the relationship and he’s got three kids from a previous relationship and the mom comes into the marriage and she’s got three kids from a previous relationship. They come in and get married and they create this big huge family. That is a blended family. Sort of as the name implies, you blend everybody together.

When it comes to estate planning, and, by the way, to sort of make this real and use my own real story instead of a client’s or something like that, I come from a blended family myself. When I was a kid, my parents got divorced. It was me and my sister, okay, and then later on my mom got remarried and my step-dad came in and he had three kids of his own. And then, to top it all off, then they had another kid of their own. So technically I have a sister, I have a half-brother and then I have three step-brothers. We’re actually pretty darn close to the Brady Bunch. Just if I’d of been a girl and my brother, Steven, would’ve been a girl, we would have been straight up Brady Bunch right off the set.

Anyway, I’ve experienced this firsthand and when it comes to estate planning, there are some important considerations to make for many, many different reasons. I think what I’m going to do is just sort of run through all of them in probably kind of a hodgepodge style because that’s just how I do it. And then we’re going to go from there. Okay. To begin with the critical component, the critical thing that really comes into play when it comes to blended families, because often preserving the assets of the first spouse to die for their kids down the road. Okay. Because they’re sort of, they’re not competing, but there are multiple considerations when the first spouse dies. The first spouse to die usually wants to take care of the surviving spouse, meaning allow them to sort of still utilize their assets to live and to enjoy life and to do the things that they need to do and/or but, or both also wants to ensure that when the surviving spouse dies, that the first spouse to die is kids are taken care of.

To better illustrate this, let me just use an example or create an example, a hypothetical example. So let’s say there’s a married couple, let’s just do the Brady Bunch, right? So let’s do the Brady Bunch. Dad dies first. Okay? He’s got his three kids are around, okay. When the dad dies in a scenario where estate planning really doesn’t work the way that it should, everything goes to his spouse. Okay. With the idea being that the surviving spouse is going to take care of all the kids. Okay? However, this doesn’t always happen because surviving spouses are free to change their own estate plans.

Although we all have the best of intentions and we all hope for the best sometimes the relationship between step-parent and step-child can get fuzzy, can get messy. It can be contentious, and particularly when the parent of the step-children passes away, unless that relationship has been firmly embedded over time, it’s easy for those relationships to sort of lose steam and fray and just sort of go away, quite frankly. In that scenario that is sort of the worst thing that could happen or probably in the plans of the first spouse to die. Because in that scenario, all of their assets go to their surviving spouse’s kids and not to their own kids.

And then they may want to split everything equally amongst everyone, and that’s great. But to ensure that you really have to plan, you have to do some things. You have to have some honest conversations with your spouse and just be real about what you want and then work that into a plan. All right, so let’s talk about the basics and then roll it all the way into really how you can get what you want, okay. Because the basics they won’t really do exactly what you want. They won’t accomplish all of your goals. Okay?

So it’s basics, right? We have his power of attorney, medical power of attorney, healthcare directive, and we’ve also got the will for the most part. Okay? Medical power of attorney, regular power of attorney, healthcare directive. They cover you when you’re life. Okay? And there are maybe some things to consider when it comes to that, but that’s not what we’re talking about for today’s episode, we’re talking about when you die. Okay.

Now, the will, right, the will does a couple different things. A, it names your personal representative, the person that’s going to be in charge of administering your estate, which means gathering your debts, gathering your assets, paying off your debts, and distributing your assets. Okay? Now, with the will, the downside is it’s a onetime distribution, okay? You can’t hold things back. You can’t control your assets once they’re gone. So if you want to really make sure that everyone is taken care of, if you want to make sure that your kids are taken care of, for example, you have to literally give them some of your assets at the time that you die. Okay?

Now, that also presents a problem because then you could limit or really reduce the assets that you’re surviving spouse has to live on and most married couple’s sort of earn together and grow together and do these things together. So to eliminate a piece of those assets to give to the kids before the surviving spouse dies, it can be troubling and it can be troublesome. So it doesn’t really do what you wanted to do. Okay. Now, there is a solution and it sort of checks all the boxes. Okay. Now, what is this solution? It is a revocable living trust. Okay. But not just any kind of revocable living trust. It’s a very special kind of revocable living trust. And it will actually, at least in Washington State, sort of kill two birds with one stone for you if you are over the estate tax threshold, which is a conversation for another day. There’re just so many fun things to talk about when it comes to estate planning. Right?

Basically, the way that this trust structure works is when the first … So I’ll get to the details after I explain the basics. Basically, what you have is a trust. While both spouses are alive, they are everything to the trust. Either the trustees, they’re the beneficiaries, they’re everything. They have complete autonomy and control over all the assets. They have complete autonomy and control over the details of the trust. They can update the trust that anytime they want. They can change anything that they want. They can do anything that they want. That’s the beauty of the revocable living trust.

Now, there is a special little thing that happens though when the first spouse dies, that helps to allow the family to have their cake and eat it too, essentially. Okay? So when the first spouse dies, what we do at that time is we take a look at all the assets, okay? And we say, “All right, what belongs to the deceased spouse?” Okay, “What belongs to the dead spouse?” Basically, in Washington State, most of the time you’re going to take the whole pie, chop it in half. One half is going to be for the surviving spouse. One half is going to be for the dead spouse, okay? And what you do then is you take that half of the pie that belongs to the dead spouse and you carve it out and you create an irrevocable trust that holds those assets. Okay? This is important because when the trust becomes irrevocable, what that means is no one is allowed to change sort of the down-line, beneficiaries or the down-line beneficiary distribution. What does that mean sort of in English?

It means the deceased spouse can ensure that his kids, or her kids are taken care of when the surviving spouse has passed away, all right? Because the assets that are in that trust are going to be there, and going to be available for those children when the surviving spouse dies. Okay, makes sense? That’s the gist of it. Okay. The surviving spouse gets their half of the assets to continue to do whatever they want with it and then when they die, their half goes to wherever they want it to go. So like I said, it allows you to have your cake and eat it too. But we’re not done yet because there’s one more consideration in this whole sort of thing. Okay. And that consideration is who is going to be trustee of the irrevocable trust? Who’s going to be in charge of this irrevocable trust? And when and how can the surviving spouse get access to the irrevocable trust assets? Right.

Because remember, one of the considerations that we have when it comes to claiming like this is that we don’t want to just chop up half of this pie and cut out the surviving spouse. They might need it for just living expenses for medical bills, for I don’t know, buy a new car. I don’t know. Whatever. Whatever they need it for. They might need it for that. And for me, I would hate for my surviving spouse to not be able to live comfortably because I gave the money away to my kids, for example. Okay. And so when it comes to who the trustee is, you can name the surviving spouse as the trustee if you want, or you can name anybody else related to step into that role. And then the other thing that you can do is you can set conditions and sort of restraints and controls on the irrevocable trust for how the distributions are made to the surviving spouse.

And this is really going to kind of depend on what you’re comfortable with, what your family dynamics are like, what your level of trust is. All of these kinds of things. Probably what your relationship is like with all of your kids, and your step-kids and your biological kids. All these things are going to probably be kind of factor into the amount of control that the surviving spouse has over the irrevocable trust. Some people give 100% control, where the surviving spouse is the trustee, they are also the beneficiary. So they have the ability to take out and pull out assets out of that trust whenever they want. Sometimes the surviving spouse is not the trustee. Sometimes there’s a different trustee, the surviving spouse still has the ability to access all the assets, but they have to clear it with the trustee first. That way they can’t just sort of pull everything out and spend it or use it or move it into their trust or do anything like that.

Another way, another sort of control that you can put on it is. depending on what kind of assets you’re going to put into the trust, you can set it up so that only the income derived from the trust is given to the spouse every year. Okay. So bottom line is there are a lot of different options that you can employ. A lot of different controls that you can put in place. A lot of different mechanisms that you can create to allow the surviving spouse to live a good full life, have access to these assets if they need them, but also preserve these assets for your kids, and make sure that nobody sort of comes in and it makes a play on them. Okay.

So that’s it, right? Fourteen minutes. That’s pretty good if you ask me. When it comes to blended families, there are a lot of considerations to make. This is something that I would always encourage you to talk with somebody about, to just get this kind of ideas about what you can do. Every family is going to different, their family dynamics are different and what they want is different. So this solution may not be right for everyone, they may not care or they may care so much they want to do some crazy, intricate and extensive. That’s fine too. But at the end of the day, knowledge is power, right? If you’ve got a blended family, this is definitely something that you want to think about. Again, this is definitely something that you want to have a conversation with your spouse about.

It may not always be the most comfortable conversation, but it’s definitely something that you want to have with your spouse. And quite frankly, I would also suggest you consider at least having this conversation with all of the kids, so they know you’re coming from, and they know what your goals are, and they know what the purpose is. So there aren’t any hurt feelings or anything like that. Right? Everybody knows exactly what’s going on. I can tell you that my mom, and my step-dad have talked to me about it. I mean, obviously, because I’m an estate planning attorney, and we’re talking about some of these options. I’m not doing their estate planning, but they wanted to get some feedback from me about what to think about and things like that, and so they nailed that.

I’m sort of coming in with a blank slate. I don’t have any dog in the fight necessarily, so I don’t care if they give me anything you’re not. But that’s beside the point. I’m getting too personal right now, guys. Chill. But in any event, important consideration to make if you have a blended family. Okay. That is it. To finish this off, as always, I’m Christopher Small. I’m the owner of CMS Law Firm. We do estate planning, we do probate and we love to help people sort of protect their family, create legacy, avoid estate taxes, make their assets, provide opportunities for their families in the future.

Let’s see, there’s a whole bunch of places that you can, you could probably be watching this if you’re on YouTube, subscribe if you’re on the podcast, subscribe. If you’re seeing this on Facebook, hit the like button. If you know somebody that needs this, share it with them. All right? That’s how you can pay this forward. All right, that is it. Thank you so much. And I will talk to you again soon. Bye.

The post Estate Planning for Blended Families | Estate Planning TV 061 appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Jan 30 2019

17mins

Play

Why you shouldn’t be worried about someone contesting your will (if you do it right…) | Estate Planning TV 60

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This is the transcript of the video… enjoy!Everybody,

Christopher Small here from CMS Law Firm and today I wanted to hop on here real quick and talk to you about a question that I get actually quite often when I’m doing estate planning, consultation and stuff like that. People are curious about or they’re worried about people contesting their wills or contesting their trust and having to go through that sort of litigious process and fight through that. They want to make sure that their wills are good.

And so I wanted to hop on here until you talk to you about how to sort of prevent that. The ways that people can contest wills just to let you know, so you have that peace of mind because, in reality, it’s actually quite hard to win a will contest. It’s not hard to contest the will, but to do that, somebody’s going to have to pony up some cash.

What I always tell everybody is, “Look, I can help you make sure that there’s a very, very, very low possibility that someone contest your will or contest your trust.

But I cannot prevent it 100% because if somebody wants to pay an attorney to go and contest a will and just sort of be out that cash, then they can do that. They probably won’t win.

And if they talked to any reputable attorney who looks at the documents and looks at the facts, they should tell the person that they won’t win. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t go after it anyway. When family and money get together, all sorts of crazy things can happen.

I can’t guarantee you 100% that it won’t happen, but I can guarantee you with a very, very, very high probability that it won’t happen. And here’s why.

There are really only three ways that someone can contest a will.

Will Contest Reason #1 – Poor Execution

The first reason is if it’s not executed properly, what that means is it’s not signed properly. It’s not notarized properly, it doesn’t have the proper witnesses that it’s supposed to have, right?

So if it’s just not sort of signed and done and executed properly it would make that will invalid just like any other document. If it didn’t have a signature on it, it wouldn’t be any good. That’s number one.

Will Contest Reason #2 – Incapacity

Number two is if the person that’s creating the will doesn’t have the capacity to do that, to create the will, which means basically they’re not in their right mind. They don’t have their faculties about them to know that they are executing a will to know that they are giving their things to someone to know that they are appointing people into certain positions for them.

If they don’t have the mental capacity to do that at the time they are signing the documents, then that is a valid reason to contest a will. That’s number two.

Will Contest Reason #3 – Duress

The third reason is duress. So if you are signing a will and somebody has got a gun to your head and they are making you sign the will, that would be a situation that would invalidate that will. Okay.

Now, there are all sorts of different levels of duress. There are all sorts of different levels of influence.

So it’s sort of important to make sure that those situations are handled if they appear to be present. But in most cases, with most people creating their estate plan, creating their will or trust, all that kind of stuff, you’re not going to have a lot of these situations come into the picture.

Most people are of sound mind, most people are creating a will of their own free will. And then when they come to the office, we made sure all the documents get executed properly. Okay. That’s it.

It’s really, really important to remember that just because somebody is grumpy about not getting what they think is their fair share or grumpy about what someone else is getting those are not valid reasons to contest a will that will not hold up in court.

No attorney is going to submit paperwork with that as the basis for contesting the will. All right. That’s it.

Hopefully, this sort of puts some of your fears to rest and you can now go on and create your will and your estate plan and have the comfort of knowing that everything is taken care of. All right, that’s it.

My name’s Christopher Small again, with CMS Law Firm. If you know someone that could use this message, that’s curious about this, please share this video with them.

If you like it yourself, if you thought it was great, that’s wonderful. Hit the like button below. Leave me a comment. If you have questions leave comments here or ask questions, that’d be great. I’d be happy to answer them. And that’s it. Plan on being here a lot more for these videos. Hopefully, you’re checking back in if you know anybody that’s interested in this stuff then have them follow the page or whatever.

And that’s it. Thank you so much for your time and I will talk to you again soon.

The post Why you shouldn’t be worried about someone contesting your will (if you do it right…) | Estate Planning TV 60 appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Jan 23 2019

6mins

Play

The Estate Plan EVERYONE Should Have | Estate Planning TV 059

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Today I want to talk to you about the foundational estate plan that everyone should have in an estate plan.

Often people just wonder, “Okay, what kind of plan should I have? Do I need a plan? Why?”

And today what I really wanted to do was just break down for you really quickly the foundational estate plan that everyone should have no matter what.

Whether you’re married or single, whether you have kids or don’t, whether you have a lot of money or don’t, it doesn’t matter, these are the things that you should have in place, and I think as I explain what they are and what they do, it’ll become pretty clear why you should have them.

First things first, estate planning really covers you in two circumstances.

The first circumstance is when you are alive but incapacitated. Think you’re in a car accident and you’re in a coma, or you’re old and you have Alzheimer’s. So, you’re alive but you can’t make decisions on your own for whatever reason.

The second part of estate planning covers you when you’re dead. We all know about that side.

And within each there are certain foundational documents that you want to have that will sort of take care of you and your loved ones when the circumstances arise that need that.

On the alive but incapacitated side, you’re going to start with power-of-attorney.

Power-of-attorney covers basically all of your day-to-day life decisions, and it names someone who is in charge of making those decisions on your behalf when you cannot do it. Pretty straightforward. We’re talking about paying bills. It could be any number of things, cashing checks, signing leases. I don’t know, it could be anything that you need to do on a daily basis. This person would be authorized to do it for you. That’s number one.

Number two is medical power-of-attorney. Medical power-of-attorney, as you might expect, covers the same thing as the regular power-of-attorney but only related to medical decisions.

We typically break those up here because you may not want the same person making your financial decisions as you do making your medical decisions, particularly if you’re married. Often you have one singular person that you want to cover both of you for financial decisions, but each of you may want your own, one of your family members to cover you on the medical side.

The third thing that we’ve got is healthcare directive. Healthcare directive basically says if you are a vegetable, do you want to pull the plug or not. And what that document does is it expresses your specific intent to your medical power-of-attorney, who would then be charged with telling medical staff what to do if you were ever in that condition.

That covers you when you’re alive, but incapacitated. You’re in a car accident and you’re in a coma for six months. All of these people can take care of you.

And then we’ve got on the other side now that you’ve passed away, we’ve got really two documents. One of them I wouldn’t consider to be necessarily foundational but the other one is for sure.

This is the one that everybody knows about, your will.

The will does a couple of important things:

First, it names the person that’s going to be in charge of administering your estate which basically means gathering your assets, gathering your debts, paying your debts, distributing your assets.

Second, if you have kids, it’s going to name your long-term guardians. This is important. The people that you want to step in as parents for you if something happens to you and your spouse, the will is the place that it happens.

If you do not have a will, if you do not have this in your will, a judge will be picking for you, so this is critical. I have kids. This is the most important thing to me. And it is for pretty much all the parents that I talk to.

And then last, but not least, the will directs the distribution of your assets, and this can also be important because if you don’t have a will, then the state is going to pick how your assets are distributed, and often that distribution schedule is not in line with what you would have wanted in real life.

That’s it. Those are the basics. Those are the things that everyone should have no matter what, and hopefully you can see why those things are important because, by the way, if you don’t have a lot of these documents and something happens to you, you will have certain people put into these positions for you, and you’re going to have to pay for it, and you don’t get to pick who the person is.

By creating your own estate plan, you retain all of the power over your life, and over your assets, over everything. By not exercising that power, you’re really, really taking a chance.

If you don’t have an estate plan and are thinking about making one, please click here to schedule a free strategy session with me. We’ll talk about your family, your assets, and I’ll give you some ideas for creating an estate plan that works for you and your family specifically.

The post The Estate Plan EVERYONE Should Have | Estate Planning TV 059 appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Jan 07 2019

8mins

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How to Protect Your Kids if You Are in a Car Accident (Minor Power of Attorney) | Estate Planning TV 058

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One of the things we all think about when it comes to protecting our kids is what happens if we die?

That’s great. And it’s important (it’s called guardianship – and you do that via your Will), BUT it’s not everything.

What people often fail to think about and fail to plan for, to their detriment, is what happens in that circumstance where something happens to them but they don’t die.

Perfect example. It’s date night night. You and your spouse go to dinner. On the way home you get into a serious car accident and BOTH of you are in the hospital for a month in a coma.

Who takes care of the kids? Can they take them to the doctor? What if it’s time to enroll for school (or simply sign a field trip consent form)?

The solution is simple – Power of Attorney for Minors and Minor Healthcare Consent.

To learn more about how they operate, watch the video!

Cheers,

Christopher Small

LINKS

Schedule a Strategy Session – https://cmslawfirm.com/scheduleasession

Our work – https://cmslawfirm.com/our-work

Facebook: http://facebook.com/cmslawfirm

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https://cmslawfirm.com/blog

Christopher Small and CMS Law Firm want to help you live a rich life now and leave a rich legacy when you die.

Estate Planning TV is all about one thing – getting you to realize how important estate planning is to you while you are alive, and the power estate planning can have in shaping your legacy.

You’ll find information here on estate planning, financial planning, productivity, finance, self-improvement, family protection, tax avoidance, retirement planning, estate taxes, charitable giving, investing, life insurance, asset protection, and much much more!

Christopher is the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC, a Seattle estate planning law firm. CMS Law Firm does two things really well: (1) estate planning and (2) probate.

Christopher is an estate planning attorney, a speaker, a blogger, a husband, a father, a golfer, and really good at helping people create the life of their dreams.

The post How to Protect Your Kids if You Are in a Car Accident (Minor Power of Attorney) | Estate Planning TV 058 appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Nov 07 2018

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How the Trump Family Avoided Millions in Estate Taxes | Estate Planning TV 057

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Note: these are my show notes – a general outline of the episode. If you want all of the information, you MUST listen to the episode.

“Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”

– Learned Hand

Before we get started, some ground rules.

First, this is not a political show.

Second, this is not a show about whether or not Trump is a good person.

Third, what we’re here to do today is look at the ways that Trump avoided estate taxes. We’re doing this for three reasons:
1. so you can learn a little about how estate taxes work;
2. so you can see the value in using a good estate planning attorney; and
3. I think it’s interesting, and this is my show.

Fourth, before we get into all of it I do want to point out one key factor that made a lot of this possible for the Trumps – they are business owners. This afforded them the flexibility to do some of the things they wanted to do.

Fifth, here we go! This information comes from a New York Times article published earlier this week (October 2018). I thought it would be fun to break down exactly what they were talking about for you…

To begin, let’s start at the end.

Fred and Mary Trump’s estate valued at 1 billion. With 55% tax rate should have paid 550MM. But they ended up paying $52.2MM, or about 5% (one-tenth of the max they could pay).

Method 1 – transfer of wealth via salary (income tax going to be significantly lower than 55%). Donald was Fred’s employee, property manager, landlord, banker, and consultant…

Method 2 – create companies in kids’ names – dad runs them (build the assets from the beginning with kids involved) – this is where All County Building Supply & Maintenance issue comes up.

Important note with first two methods – this takes PLANNING. You have to think about this and work on it – it doesn’t just happen. If you can find some way to get interested in this, to make it a game, to make it fun, you’ll make a lot more progress, and pass down a lot more wealth.

I was going to say save more on taxes – but it’s not really about that…

Method 3 – “loans” that were never repaid and never pursued by Fred and Mary

Method 4 – GRATs = Grantor Retained Annuity Trust. Okay, we’re about to get in the weeds on this one…

First, it’s an irrevocable trust. Once created and funded, there is no going back.

Second, the goal is to shift wealth to the next generation with ZERO estate or gift tax ramifications.

Third, here’s how it works:

– the creator of the trust moves a specific asset into the trust and gets back an annual payment for a certain number of years (plus interest). When the term of the annuity payments end, what is left in the trust is out of the creator of the trust’s estate and passes on without estate or gift tax.

– the amount of the annuity payment interest is based on a rate created by the IRS (or can be zeroed out).

– once out all growth is estate tax free.

Method 5 – yearly gift allowance ($15K/year per person – $30K/year if married)

Method 6 – gifting shares of businesses to create fractional interests, thereby reducing the value of the asset.

Method 7 – other trust planning (ground trusts – buy land, move into trust with kids as beneficiaries, and then lease the ground to Trump companies for $$$$$ – all going to the kids).

Method 8 – created “family mortgages” with higher interest rates that were purchased by trusts and partnerships Fred set up and seeded with money

Method 9 – “buying” interests in kids’ businesses for huge money and then “selling” back shares at low valuations (or exchanging old debts for shares and doing the same thing)…

THE KEY – most of these didn’t amount to huge shifts in interest. But each of these methods was employed again and again and again, adding up to huge shifts in interest.

THE STICKING POINT – property valuations…

If you want to learn more about this, give me a call.

Cheers.

Christopher Small

If you need an estate plan the first step is a conversation (over the phone or in person). Click the link to set your strategy session up today. http://cmslawfirm.com/scheduleasession

And, if you want more estate planning greatness (translation – learn more about living a great life, protecting your family, making more money, and creating a lasting legacy) check out our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/cmslawfirm

The post How the Trump Family Avoided Millions in Estate Taxes | Estate Planning TV 057 appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Oct 12 2018

35mins

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Estate Planning is a lot Like Potty Training

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Estate planning is a lot like potty training.

I know this for two reasons.

First, I know estate planning. I’m an estate planning attorney. That’s all we do here.

Second, I know potty training. I just started potty training my third kid.

The similarities are mind blowing…

First, no one wants to do their estate plans. They don’t like to think about death or the family drama that will be caused when they die, or they just don’t have the time to do the work.

Parents also usually don’t want to potty train. There is pee and poo poo all over the place. They don’t like to think of the family drama that will be caused, or they just don’t have the time to do the work.

Second, and this is the good part, when you are done with estate planning, you feel good. You feel like you’ve accomplished something.

You know your family is safe.

You know your kids will be raised by the people you want.

And the same goes for potty training.

Your kids beam with pride once they get the hang of it. Family outings are more fun because there are no more dirty diapers.

Come to think of it, life is more fun because there are no more dirty diapers.

Third, and finally, for both, when you are done, you look back and realize the experience really wasn’t that bad.

And, if you use a firm like ours, you might even look back on the experience fondly…

Don’t delay. Potty train (and get your estate plan done).

Cheers.

Christopher Small

If you need an estate plan the first step is a conversation (over the phone or in person). Click the link to set your strategy session up today. http://cmslawfirm.com/scheduleasession

And, if you want more estate planning greatness (translation – learn more about living a great life, protecting your family, making more money, and creating a lasting legacy) check out our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/cmslawfirm

The post Estate Planning is a lot Like Potty Training appeared first on CMS Law Firm LLC | Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys | Seattle Estate Planning Lawyers.

Oct 09 2018

3mins

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