Blog

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Part III: Preserving a Property Tax Exemption

By Jennifer Cowan | Apr 4, 2018

Some of us are still grappling with the new tax act and its ramifications (hello tax preparers!). There has been a lot of confusion; some of this stemmed from the passage of the Tax Act so late in the year and just having so many versions of the bill in the news. It was hard…

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Part II: Amending a Bypass Trust

By Jennifer Cowan | Feb 15, 2018

Last month I began the year with a discussion of the new tax act: the estate tax exemption amount has doubled from 5.5 million dollars to 11 million dollars. Married couples may revisit their joint trusts that require a split of assets when the first spouse dies into an irrevocable “bypass trust” and a revocable…

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; Part I: Do you still need a Bypass Trust?

By Jennifer Cowan | Jan 8, 2018

As I’m sure most of you have heard, a new tax bill was signed into law at the end of 2017. There are numerous changes which I’ll touch on in the coming months. As always, this column does not constitute tax advise; consult your tax preparer about your particular situation. Of note to estate planners…

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Hope and New Beginnings

By Jennifer Cowan | Dec 5, 2017

Recently I had the opportunity to give presentations on estate planning. In November local financial planning associations, with others, hosted the 2nd annual Marin Financial Planning Day. Participants had the opportunity to meet with a certified financial planner for a ½ hour and attend various presentations on budgeting, estate planning and investing. I spoke on…

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Updating Your Estate Plan

By Jennifer Cowan | Oct 3, 2017

Fall is here, and soon the holidays. Now that we have put summer behind us it is time to think about what remains to be done in 2017. For some of us that means there is still time to update our trusts and other estate planning documents (or start the process if we don’t have…

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Funding Your Trust

By Jennifer Cowan | Jun 21, 2017

It’s summer. Clients often contact me to make sure that all their estate planning documents are in order before a vacation. There is nothing like a trip to make you wonder if you have prepared for all eventualities (which as we all know, is impossible, but we do our best). Clients may also take the…

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The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

By Jennifer Cowan | May 4, 2017

Welcome to May! It feels great to see the sun again. For those of you wondering how your fiduciary can access your digital assets and accounts, I have some news. The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (“RUFADAA” or the “Act”) is effective in California as of January 1, 2017. The Act allows…

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April is Advance Health Care Directive Month

By Jennifer Cowan | Apr 3, 2017

The weather is beautiful this week in the Bay Area. Last weekend I drove out to Rancho Nicasio: the hills were green, Nicasio Reservoir looked full, cows were grazing on the hills, it was beautiful! I read an opinion piece in the New York Times recently by Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D. suggesting that death education…

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Spousal Debts

By Jennifer Cowan | Feb 15, 2017

Last year I wrote about community versus separate property, both assets and debts. For February (Valentine’s Day!) I thought it might be helpful to clarify what sort of spousal debts the non-debtor spouse is responsible for. As I noted in my previous blog post, a spouse’s share of community property (assets of the marriage owned…

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Happy New Year

By Jennifer Cowan | Jan 14, 2017

Happy New Year! I hope the year has started off well for all of you. I spent the winter solstice at Spirit Rock, my first ever overnight meditation retreat. It was so hard! I had expected it to be challenging but it way exceeded my expectations. After some recovery and processing I decided that I…

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Happy Holidays

By Jennifer Cowan | Dec 2, 2016

Welcome to the last month of the year. We have all worked so hard to get here! In preparation for end of year charitable donations and spring cleaning I have been working to reduce the number of clothes in my closet. So far it has felt very liberating to have less. As my clients prepare…

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Happy Thanksgiving Cubs!

By Jennifer Cowan | Nov 3, 2016

I say this every year, but Thanksgiving is really my favorite holiday. I love the theme of gratitude and making due with what you have. That said, I would like to give a big shout out to the Chicago Cubs. I tend to root for the underdog, and the Cubs were the ultimate underdog. Rooting…

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