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February 2014 Archives

Undue Influence in Marriage Can Affect Estate Planning

A recent California appeals court ruling in a trust litigation case illustrates the importance of married couples in California following the law when it comes to undue influence where estate planning is concerned. Under California family law, married spouses have a fiduciary duty to each other and cannot exert undue influence to further their own gain.

Take These Steps to Ensure Your Will Is Valid

The wills of two celebrities who recently died - Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker - illustrate the importance of keeping your will up to date. Hoffman died with a 2004 will that left out his two youngest daughters; Walker's will had not been updated since he created it in 2001.

Can Changes Be Made to an Estate Plan After Death?

Building in flexibility into your California estate plan, which includes naming secondary beneficiaries, is an important aspect of creating a comprehensive estate plan. Still, many people wonder if there is another way that an estate plan can be amended to pass assets to another, even after the estate owner has died.

Retirement Planning: 5 Big Benefits of Increasing Your 401(k) Contributions

For most working Americans, 401(k) plans will be the largest contributor to their retirement income besides Social Security benefits. Making sure you have a healthy 401(k) is critical to effective retirement planning, so if you need additional motivation to save, here are five big benefits that contributing to a 401(k) can provide you:

How Family Loans Can Provide Lenders With Estate Planning Benefits

A lingering effect of the economic recession of recent years is the difficulty individuals still have in obtaining loans, especially if those seeking a loan are young. Parents or grandparents of young borrowers can offer a low interest rate intra-family loan and still reap some estate planning benefits if they take advantage of the following strategies:

Justifying Unequal Inheritances to Your Heirs

Parents can have a number of very good reasons for leaving unequal inheritances to children. For example, one child may be much more successful financially than others; one child may have chosen a philanthropic career that will never pay much monetarily but still makes a great contribution to the world. Parents may be estranged from one child; one child more than the others may have assumed the burden of care for aging parents.

What You Need to Know About Death and Taxes

The two things we cannot avoid - death and taxes - are unfortunately the two things most of us do almost anything to avoid talking or learning about. Yet we want both to be as painless as possible. Here are some things that everyone needs to know about death and taxes:

How to Cut Taxes While Saving for Retirement

If one of your resolutions this year is to do a better job of planning for your retirement, part of that job includes planning for the tax bite you will incur once you retire. A recent USA TODAY article explains how you can help reduce your taxes while saving for retirement:

5 Retirement Planning Changes for 2014

A recent report from the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions found that only 14 percent of Americans believe they will have saved enough money to retire comfortably.

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