Estate Planning, Trusts, & Probate in California

California Estate Planning, Trusts, and ProbateFor California residents, living trusts are a common estate planning tool. Due to high property values throughout the state, especially the San Francisco Bay Area, estate assets can easily reach millions of dollars. Trusts allow asset distributions to beneficiaries without going through the California probate process, avoiding additional costs and saving time when closing an estate.

Why Set Up a Living Trust?

In a living trust, as the person creating the trust (the grantor), you place your assets into a revocable trust. While you are alive, you are also the trustee and the beneficiary, and you control your assets. Because the trust is revocable, you can add or sell assets, change beneficiaries, etc. Upon your death, the trust becomes an irrevocable trust. The person(s) you named as your successor trustee(s) then assumes control and administers the assets for the beneficiaries according to your instructions.

Revocable Trust Fiduciary Duty

The trustee(s) have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries. They must put the beneficiaries’ interests before their own at all times while following the mandates in the trust agreement. Many long-term or complicated trusts also name a trust protector, who advises, oversees, and can replace a trustee if necessary. This offers an additional layer of protection for the beneficiaries. Read the rest of this entry »

Callahan Financial Planning Opens Marin County Financial Advisory Practice in San Rafael, CA

San Rafael, CA – Jun 17, 2019 – Callahan Financial Planning, a fiduciary financial planning and investment advisory company, has announced the opening of an office in San Rafael, CA following the acquisition of certain assets of the financial advisory firm Gary A. Dossick & Associates. The office is located at 2169 Francisco Blvd E Ste E, San Rafael, CA 94901.

Clients will be served by a team that includes three Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) practitioners, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) charterholder, an IRS Enrolled Agent, and supporting staff.

Callahan Financial Planning has seen significant growth since opening in 2010. The firm now manages $125 million in client assets, and anticipates opening additional locations in the San Francisco Bay Area following this expansion.

From this San Rafael office, Callahan Financial Planning anticipates serving clients throughout Marin County, including residents of Mill Valley, Fairfax, Larkspur, Marin City, Corte Madera, San Anselmo, Marinwood, Novato, Sausalito, Tiburon, and Lagunitas-Forest Knolls.

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How to Find the Best Financial Advisor Recommended for Your Situation

The financial advice field is a bit convoluted, but this guide can help.

Financial Advisor Fees/Costs

First, there’s how you pay for advice. All financial advice has a cost, but sometimes it’s explicit (e.g., you can see it), and sometimes it’s only implicit (e.g., it’s embedded inside a financial product, and what you’re paying is not easily visible).

Most financial advisors today describe themselves as fee-based advisors. Legally, this means they can (and generally do) perform their activities in two ways: they earn a commission on certain product sales, and a fee on certain investments. The title is a bit misleading in this way, but the moniker persists.

We think this creates a conflict of interest: it often causes (even if only subconsciously) the financial advisor to recommend things that pay them the best compensation over what is in the client’s best interest.

Because of this inherent conflict, a special sub-set of financial advisor was born: the fee-only financial advisor. We recommend anyone seeking financial advice only work with a fee-only advisor.

A national organization lists and ensures fee-only compliance for all of its members; it’s called the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), and it has an online directory of all of its members. So, for example, you can search for a list of all the fee-only financial advisors in Omaha, NE or the San Francisco, CA Bay Area (cities where we have offices).

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Assistance After Your Farm Or Ranch Floods

Recent rain, blizzards, and snowmelt from warmer temperatures have caused significant damage across the Midwest in recent weeks.

For those who have been impacted, programs and resources are available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to assist farmers and ranchers as they work to recover from the impact of these events.

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Storing Important Documents – What You Should Be Doing Now

Where do you store your important papers and documents? Are they easily accessible in case of an emergency? Do your loved ones know how to get to them if something should happen to you? Here are some tips on what documents you should keep (and where). Read the rest of this entry »

How to Make Better Decisions

By understanding, identifying, and mitigating the common problems inherent in the decision-making process, we can make better choices and gain greater confidence.

When making important decisions, such as whether to make an investment, how to deal with certain income taxes properly, whether to move, what do to about a new or current job, or how to respond to sharp declines in financial markets (or sharp appreciation), a common process goes as follows:

Common Decision-Making Process Read the rest of this entry »

Equifax Data Breach – What Do I Need to Do?

Equifax, one of the three largest U.S. consumer credit agencies, announced this month that a large data breach occurred estimated to affect 143 million Americans, or more than 57% of American adults.

This breach is believed to have included the theft of highly sensitive personal information, including Social Security numbers, names, birth dates, and addresses. 

For this reason, we have outlined some immediate and long-term actions you can take to begin protecting yourself right away.

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