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Bay Area Estate Planning Lawyers Host Estate Planning Webinar to Ensure Families Are Covered in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

For many Californians, the COVID-19 pandemic was completely unexpected. As of early May, there have been over 50,000 cases of the coronavirus in California, and more than 2,000 people have lost their lives due to the virus. The impact COVID-19 as had on the country cannot be overstated. One of the most important things the crisis has brought to light is the significance of having a California estate plan in place to ensure that family members are legally covered in the event of the unthinkable.

According to a recent study, only four in ten adults have a will or an estate plan. The vast majority of those who have estate plans are over the age of 72. Largely, the reason why so few millennials do not have an estate plan the perceived lack of need. However, given the unpredictabilities of life, estate plans are important for any group, as the recent events have shown.

Coming up next week on Thursday, two prominent California estate planning attorneys from the law firm, Gilfix & La Poll Associates, LLP, are conducting a webinar in conjunction with the Stanford Club of San Francisco. Attorneys Michael Gilfix and Mark Gilfix will be hosting the webinar, and plan to cover the basics of California estate planning, including:

  • The three key documents that everyone needs as a part of their estate plan;
  • The most important decisions that must be made; and
  • The steps everyone must take to establish and update these crucial estate planning documents.

The Gilfix & La Poll attorneys understand that planning for long-term care and discussing end-of-life decisions with family members may seem overwhelming. However, they will discuss several approaches to bringing up these issues in an understandable and entertaining way. Along those lines, attendees are encouraged to watch the webinar with their parents and adult children to begin “The Conversation.”

Information regarding the upcoming webinar can be found below:

Legal Planning for a Crisis — Making Sure You and Your Family Are Covered

This webinar is the first in the three-part series. The next events in this series are:

Medical Decision Making and Patient Advocacy in a Crisis: Being Prepared

  • Thursday, May 14, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Multi-Generational Planning for Quality Long Term Care

  • Thursday, May 21, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Please note that a separate registration is required for each session.

Schedule a Consultation With a Dedicated California Special Needs Planning Lawyer

If you do not have a California estate plan, or its been years since your estate plan was updated, contact the dedicated attorneys at Gilfix & La Poll Associates, LLP. At our Palo Alto estate planning law firm, we help our clients plan for their families’ financial future. Since 1983, we have been handling all types of estate and tax law matters, and pioneered the area of law now known as elder law. We believe in multigenerational planning, because the decisions you make today affect not just you, but those who are dependent upon you. At Gilfix & La Poll, we promise to be your “Lawyer for Life.” To learn more, and to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call 650-493-070 in the Silicon Valley area, or toll-free at 800-244-9424.

French musician Johnny Hallyday’s California will leads to inheritance dispute

French rock star Johnny Hallyday left his family a will when he died of lung cancer at age 74 last December. However, his fourth wife and two adult children have been locked in a legal battle over inheritance of property and artistic rights due to legal complications.

The case involves a conflict between U.S. and French laws. Hallyday wrote his will in California as he lived in Los Angeles with his wife. In France, however, children receive automatic inheritance rights. The courts must now decide which laws apply and whether Hallyday was a resident of France or the United States.

In his will, Hallyday left all his assets to his fourth wife and their two school-aged daughters. The inheritance dispute was a result of his two oldest children, who reside in France, being left out of the will. They asked a French court to temporarily freeze several of the Hallyday’s French estates.

The French court granted the request put forth by the oldest children. However, the court refused to allow the oldest children to participate in preparing Hallyday’s posthumous album. The judge ruled in favor of the widow and the younger children.

Wills and revocable trusts are important and necessary for both celebrities and the average person alike. In celebrity cases, inheritance disputes are often in the public spotlight as they receive considerable media attention. As a result, they offer a cautionary tale about the difficulties family members face when a loved one fails to draft a clear, legally sound will before their death.

A properly drafted trust will keep a family’s affairs private, with no court involvement unless a dispute arises. Individuals with assets in other countries must plan ahead and get advice on how to compose will that will obey the laws of each country.

Working with an experienced attorney to craft an effective will and trusts helps avoid problems in the future for loved ones when you are no longer around. It provides details about exactly how you would like your assets to be distributed. In the absence of a will, the state is left to decide using a formulaic approach, which may lead to unnecessary emotional distress for family members.

Long Term and Asset Protection Planning

This presentation by attorneys Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gerson Gilfix will address:

  • Simplification of your Revocable Trust to massively save on taxes;
  • Passing assets to your children and grandchildren in ways that protect them from divorce, litigation, and estate taxes;
  • How to protect your residence and other assets – and save your family $100s of thousands - while qualifying for Medi-Cal to pay the cost of skilled nursing care;
  • Estate and gift taxes;
  • The pros and cons of reverse mortgages;
  • Long-term care insurance and planning for long term care; and
  • The value and importance of involving your children in the planning process.

Trump Tax Reform and Your Tax and Estate Planning Seminar

Uncertain about what the new tax law means for you and your family? Wondering how to proceed with your estate planning in light of President Trump’s tax reform? Gilfix and La Poll Associates is here to help.

Attorneys Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gilfix will be leading a free seminar, which they will discuss the implications of the new tax law and provide practical tips. The seminar will present a wealth of valuable information that will allow you to take charge, plan and capture benefits. Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gilfix will talk about both irrevocable trusts and revocable trusts, estate tax, as well as income tax punishments and opportunities. They will also cover what the new tax law means for real estate, and buying or selling a home.

The seminar will offer guidance on new income tax credits for caregivers and the planning implications for the cost of long-term care. It will also answer questions like should you move your assets to Nevada? Will a “pass through” entity save you a small fortune in income tax? Gilfix and La Poll aims to address all your concerns and ensure the tax reform plan does not leave you feeling helpless.

Hugh Hefner’s will forbids heirs from using drugs and alcohol

Hugh Hefner was vocal about his dislike of drugs and alcohol, as well as his concerns about substance abuse. It appears that the Playboy founder, who died in September 2017 at age 91, drafted his will to reflect those views.

Hefner’s trust includes a clause that blocks his heirs from accessing their inheritance if they are found to have engaged in substance abuse. It says that if any of his four children or his widow become “physically or psychologically” dependent on drugs or alcohol, they will not be able to obtain any money. The rule also applies to clinical dependence on alcohol consumption or use of chemical substances that are not prescribed by a psychiatrist or doctor.

According to the will, the inheritance’s trustees will be responsible for determining whether the heirs have violated Hefner’s terms. The trustees can ask them to submit to drug testing at any time if substance abuse is suspected. Payments may restart once the individual in question has remained sober for 12 months or is “able to care for himself or herself again.”

Placing restrictions on an inheritance is not uncommon. Individuals may choose to include drug and alcohol testing requirements out of concern for a beneficiary’s wellbeing, especially if they have an addiction problem. Such clauses are usually intended to protect beneficiaries and ensure the inheritance is distributed according to one’s wishes.

Can a smell test help identify dementia risk?

Dementia is a devastating, life-altering illness that leads to memory loss and decline of mental abilities over time. What makes dementia even more challenging to deal with is its difficulty to diagnose. However, researchers are now hopeful that a simple smell test could soon have the potential to identify individuals at high risk of the disease.

University of Chicago scientists studied almost 3,000 adults between the ages of 57 and 85 with normal brain function. They were asked to complete a smell test that involved sniffing five different scents: fish, leather, orange, peppermint and rose. The participants were interviewed again five years later to find out if they had been diagnosed with dementia.

All the people who were unable to detect any odors had dementia, as well as 80 percent of those who had only identified one or two smells. Overall, participants who were unable to identify a minimum of four smells had twice the likelihood of having dementia in five years.

The results point to a possible link between a decline in sense of smell and a dementia diagnosis. Surgery professor and lead study author Jayant M. Pinto said, “These results indicate that the sense of smell is closely connected with brain function and health.” He explained that losing one’s ability to smell strongly indicates “significant damage” to the brain.

Pinto and his team said their findings may help lead to the development of a quick, inexpensive test that could identify individuals who are at high risk of dementia. However, more research needs to be done until the test can be used in a clinical setting for screening and diagnostic purposes.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, currently no single test exists that can accurately detect Alzheimer’s, which is a common form of dementia. MRI scans, currently a common test for Alzheimer’s, are not affordable for every patient as they cost thousands of dollars.

One of Three Tax Seminars are Full

We are excited about how many people have registered for our free Trump Tax Reform and Your Tax and Estate Planning Seminar.

Please note that our Thursday, February 22, 2018 seminar at the Hotel Biltmore is full.

We still have room at our Foster City seminar (February 22nd at 2:00PM) and Palo Alto Seminars (February 27th at 2:00PM and 6:00PM).

Click here to register free.

Gilfix & La Poll offers free estate planning seminars on Trump tax reform

Uncertain about what the new tax law means for you and your family? Wondering how to proceed with your estate planning in light of President Trump’s tax reform? Gilfix and La Poll Associates is here to help.

Attorneys Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gilfix will be leading several free seminars during which they will discuss the implications of the new tax law and provide practical tips. The community at large is invited to attend one of four sessions being held in February.

Titled “The New Trump Tax Reform and Your Tax and Estate Planning,” the seminar will present a wealth of valuable information that will allow you to take charge, plan and capture benefits. Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gilfix will talk about both irrevocable trusts and revocable trusts, estate tax, as well as income tax punishments and opportunities. They will also cover what the new tax law means for real estate, and buying or selling a home.

The seminar will offer guidance on new income tax credits for caregivers and the planning implications for the cost of long-term care. It will also answer questions like should you move your assets to Nevada? Will a “pass through” entity save you a small fortune in income tax? Gilfix and La Poll aims to address all your concerns and ensure the tax reform plan does not leave you feeling helpless.

If you are interested in attending the seminar, please register online at https://www.gilfix.com/event-registration/

Seminar Details:

  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018
    2 p.m.
    Crowne Plaza
    1221 Chess Drive, Foster City
  •  

  • Thursday, February 22, 2018
    2 p.m.
    Hotel Biltmore
    2151 Laurelwood Road, Santa Clara
  •  

  • Tuesday, February 27, 2018
    2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
    Elks Lodge
    4249 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

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Why childless couples should not ignore estate planning

There is a common misconception that estate planning is only necessary for those who wish to preserve their assets for future generations. While protecting their wealth for heirs may not be a priority for couples without children, they can still benefit from estate planning in many ways.

Couples without children have specific needs when it comes to estate planning and wealth management. For example, married couples should consider what will happen to their assets when they pass away. While they tend to have more financial flexibility than families with children, starting their planning early can help avoid complications and unintended consequences in the future.

Some of the key elements of a basic estate plan are a revocable trust, will, Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directive. The latter two are essential tools for naming individuals who will have the authority to make financial decisions and health care decisions, respectively, in the event of incapacity.

A Gallup survey from 2016 revealed that around 56 percent of Americans do not have a will, a worrying trend. Without a will, one has no control over how their assets will be distributed. State laws decide who will inherit them.

A well-crafted estate plan serves to realize a couple’s charitable wishes, financial goals and long-term care preferences, while helping to prevent exploitation. For example, there are special tax considerations for those who wish to leave their money to charity. Creating a charitable trust instead of making an outright gift can help save on estate taxes.

Establishing an estate plan early on is invaluable for both childless couples and families. An experienced estate planning attorney can help plan for a secure future in the best possible way according to one’s wishes.

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Four practical tips for avoiding family inheritance disputes

Disputes involving inheritance have the potential to tear families apart. Fortunately, proper planning can help reduce the risk of disagreements among loved ones and ensure they will be provided for when you are no longer around.

Set up an estate plan as soon as possible. Old age and illness can make it difficult to communicate one’s wishes. As a result, the best time to create a comprehensive estate plan is when you are healthy and of a sound mind. Your estate plan should be reviewed regularly as tax and estate laws are constantly changing. Major life events such as marriage or the birth of a baby are also likely to warrant an update.

Have an open discussion with family members. Many people find it difficult to think about their own death, let alone have a conversation about what will happen to their assets afterwards. However, it is important to clearly communicate one’s wishes to loved ones. Be upfront with potential heirs about your intentions. For example, you may want to tell adult children about money you plan to set aside for your grandchildren’s education.

Consider creating a living trust. Property and financial assets can be put into a revocable living trust for protection. Doing so can help avoid the costly and lengthy process of probate, as well as unnecessary taxes and fees. After a person’s death, the contents of the trust are distributed to named beneficiaries either immediately or in the future, according to trust documents.

Consult an experienced estate planning attorney. Estate planning attorneys are in the best position to make sure your estate plan is right for you. They will help ensure that it carries out your wishes while avoiding family disputes. Along with being aware of changes in laws and tax regulations, the attorney will also cover matters you may not have considered. All attorneys are not equally capable. Consider experience, references, and indications of leadership.