Trusts and Estates Blog

How to Give Wealth to Your Children

There are Only Two Ways to Deliver Assets to Your Children:

(1) Outright; and

(2) In Trust.

Outright Distribution. Most estates are distributed outright. The trust terminates on the parents’ death, and the assets are given directly to the children once they have reached some predetermined minimum age (age 18 under California law if the Will or Trust does not specify a later age). This method gives your child’s inheritance no protection whatsoever. It is like delivering their inheritance in the back of an old pickup truck.
Beatup-Pickup-Truck-with-Rust-Spots

A Better Way – In Trust. Allowing your children to inherit assets in trust has tremendous advantages. The advantages are so great, that virtually every wealthy family passes on wealth in trust, and so can you.
Armored truck Cash-in-Transit

(1) Property Inherited “In Trust” has Bullet-proof Protection. Letting your children inherit through an irrevocable trust is like delivering their inheritance in an armored truck. Property inherited “In Trust” can be protected from creditors of your children. These potential creditors that can be protected against include:

• Angry ex-business partners who sue your child;

• Greedy plaintiff’s lawyers who try to go above and beyond the insurance your child carries;

• Bitter, vindictive ex-spouses who are set on destroying your child financially.

• Property inherited “In Trust” can be protected even if your child files for bankruptcy.

(2) Property Inherited “In Trust” Can be Protected From Estate Taxes.

• When your child dies, this wealth is passed on to the next generation free of estate taxes.

• Although there is a limit on what can go into an estate tax free trust like this on your death, there is no limit on how much this trust can grow during your child’s lifetime. In other words, if this trust starts out with $3.5 million, and grows to $100 million when your child dies, $100 million passes to your grandchildren free of estate taxes.

Antelope Valley Estate Planning Law Firm Explains How Family Limited Partnerships Can Protect Assets

Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln explains the benefits of a family limited partnership to protect assets and reduce estate and gift tax liability.

Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln explains how a family limited partnership can reduce estate and gift taxes and protect assets of family members from potential claims and lawsuits.

“A family limited partnership is an excellent way to protect assets for several family members in one convenient instrument,” said Kevin Von Tungeln, partner at Thompson Von Tungeln. “Typically family savings, investments and titles to businesses and property are placed into the family limited partnership (FLP). Since the family limited partnership is a separate legal entity and assets are typically held in a trust, it is extremely difficult for claimants and judgment creditors to gain access to assets that are part of the FLP.”

Another advantage is that family limited partnerships give parents and grandparents a convenient vehicle for transferring wealth to their children and grandchildren. The owners of the property can grant shares of the family limited partnership to their heirs through gifting some of their shares in the partnership.

“This is not something that someone wants to try to do on their own,” said Von Tungeln. “The Internal Revenue Service monitors family limited partnerships closely, and has been successful in challenging those established near the time of death for the sole purpose of reducing estate taxes. An estate planning specialist is crucial for properly establishing and operating a family limited partnership.”

Antelope Valley Estate Planning Attorney Joins Board of CareNet Women’s Resource Center of North County

Antelope Valley estate planning law attorney Kevin Von Tungeln has joined the Board of Directors of CareNet Women’s Resource Center which provides pregnancy counseling services.

Lancaster, California (PRWEB) June 10, 2009 — Antelope Valley estate planning attorney Kevin Von Tungeln has joined the board of directors of CareNet Women’s Resource Center, a pregnancy counseling center located in Lancaster, California.

“I am honored to be asked to join CareNet Women’s Resource Center,” said Kevin Von Tungeln, partner at Thompson Von Tungeln. “Their mission of providing valuable pregnancy services to women in need is one that I am proud to be a part of. The staff and volunteers at CareNet are extremely compassionate and have assisted thousands of families during the stressful period of pregnancy.”

CareNet provides pregnancy testing, free childbirth classes, labor coaches, ultrasound, free maternity and baby clothes, baby furniture and supplies are available on a limited basis. CareNet also provides information on adoption and adoption referrals, individual peer and professional counseling, education on abortion and abortion alternatives, post-abortion counseling, mentoring (marriage and individual) and abstinence education.

For more information about CareNet, please visit their website at http://www.cprav.com/.

About Kevin Von Tungeln

U.S. Supreme Court Admits Antelope Valley Estate Planning Law Firms Partners to Practice Partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln

The Supreme Court of the United States recently admitted Antelope Valley estate planning law firm partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln to argue cases before the Court. The Court’s authorization makes Thompson and Von Tungeln members of the Bar of the Court. Admission to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States also includes seating in a reserved section of the Courtroom and use of the extensive law library.

With more than 30 years’ legal experience, Mark E. Thompson serves Thompson Von Tungeln in the areas of estate planning, probate, trusts, wills, trust administration, conservatorships, guardianships, and elder law. He is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialists as a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning. In addition to his legal work, Thompson also serves with many other community organizations.

“What this means to our clients,” said Thompson, “is that we can personally take cases up to the United States Supreme Court, should the need arise.”

With more than 17 years’ legal experience, Kevin L. Von Tungeln serves Thompson Von Tungeln in the areas of estate planning, probate, trusts, wills, trust administration, conservatorships, guardianships and elder law. He is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialists as a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning. To find out more about Von Tungeln, go to his LinkedIn profile at:

(www.linkedin.com/in/kevinvontungeln)

“I am honored that the Supreme Court of the United States has admitted me to practice before it,” said Kevin
L. Von Tungeln, partner of Thompson Von Tungeln. “It’s a privilege to be able to argue cases before the highest court in the land.”

Antelope Valley Estate Planning Law Firm Creates Estates to Avoid Problems With Bad Estate Executors

Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln advises its affluent and discriminating clients to choose a trustee or an executor very, very carefully.

“We see a lot of problems caused by a poor choice in executor or trustee of an estate,” said Kevin L. Von Tungeln, managing partner. “With careful selection, expert advice in the planning and by following these three guidelines, you can avoid problems altogether.”

High Integrity — Von Tungeln says you want someone you can trust. If the person isn’t trustworthy, you open yourself up to outright theft of your estate, depriving your heirs of their rightful inheritance or depriving you of the care you need if you become incapacitated.

Financial Competence — As time moves forward and conditions change, the trustee or executor will have to make a lot of hard financial decisions. Von Tungeln adds that the trustee or executor in California is also bound by the Uniform Prudent Investors Act (UPIA). In brief, this act stipulates that not only must the executor make prudent financial decisions but he or she must carefully document all of them. Since meeting this standard takes someone with a financial planning background, you need to make sure that your executor or trustee understands the complexity of the task and is willing to work with the certified financial planner or estate attorney whom you designate.

Financially-stable. Since your executor or trustee will be managing hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, you need to select someone who is financially stable, who will not be tempted to make “loans” to him or herself, says Von Tungeln. These loans are virtually never repaid.

No Contest Clauses in Wills – When There is a Challenge to the Validity of the Instrument

The purpose of a no contest clause that is included in a California will is to discourage frivolous legal disputes of the terms of a will after the testator has deceased. While in many cases a no contest clause does just that–other situations are not so easily resolved, and there are exclusions to the scope of a no contest clause that are often upheld by California courts.

One such exclusion is a valid concern and dispute over the instrument created by the testator. Specifically, to hold legal weight, a will must be in writing, and two witnesses must sign it. These witnesses cannot have any stake in the will–meaning that they cannot be beneficiaries of it–and they cannot be married to, or be a civil partner to anyone who has a stake in the estate for which the will was written. In rare cases in which a beneficiary was also a witness to a will, this fault might not invalidate the entire will, rather only the part that relates to the beneficiary who acted as witness.

The witnesses must also see the testator actually sign the will, and they must sign only after the testator has done so.

Such faulty errors to the actual instrument can be valid reasons to contest a will. A problem with the will instrument itself is generally considered a valid exclusion to a no contest clause, unless that clause includes specific language stating that a dispute over the validity of the instrument falls under the no contest request. Even then, however, the no contest clause may not be enforced if the beneficiary was acting reasonably when initiating such a contest.

If you have a question concerning a no contest clause that you wish to include in your will, or if you are a beneficiary who wishes to understand the scope and limits of a no contest clause, a qualified California estate lawyer will be able to provide more details concerning the recent legislation and current legal state of no contest clauses. As the law is in the process of changing, and such changes might be retroactive to your current situation, it is best to consult an experienced California estate attorney to determine the steps that are best for you to take.

Relief Through Reliable Estate Planning Advice

Antelope Valley Estate Planning Law Firm Warns Consumers About Living Trust Mills

Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln warns consumers against working with “Living Trust Mills.” Sales agents pretending to be experts in living trusts contact consumers–usually senior citizens–to review their estate plan. During this meeting the sales agent receives valuable financial information from the unwary consumer, using it to frighten consumers into thinking their current investments are risky and the annuities the sales people are selling are not. In the end, the consumer has a damaged estate plan and nearly depleted investments.

Antelope Valley Estate Planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln warns consumers about “Living Trust Mills,” a scheme where salespeople posing as “living trust experts” sell annuities or other investments under the guise of helping with an individual’s living trust.

Usually preying upon senior citizens through home visits or through free seminars in churches, assisted living centers and other places where seniors gather, these sales people use the financial information shared with them by unsuspecting consumers to frighten these people into thinking that their current investments are inferior and riskier than the ones the salespeople are selling.

The salespeople then meet with the person again to deliver the living trust documents and complete the transfer of the consumer’s financial assets from the previous investment vehicles to the new ones sold by the salespeople.

“What frequently happens with these ‘Living Trust Mills’,” said Mark L. Thompson, partner in Thompson Von Tungeln and certified specialist in estate planning who focuses on elder law, “is the unsuspecting consumer gets back a living trust that could be invalid, causing lasting damage to their estate plan. And then find they had a huge tax penalty due to transferring their assets to the salespeople’s products, leaving fewer dollars to their heirs.” Beware of any seminar or advertisement that includes language like “A licensed insurance agent may contact you.” This is a red flag that you are likely dealing with a Living Trust Mill.

When reviewing an estate plan, Thompson advises that consumers consult a licensed attorney, preferably a certified specialist in estate planning and trusts.

Why is Having a Trust Important in California?

The Difference Between Probate & Trusts in California

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