Assets

Funding Your Trust

By Jennifer Cowan / June 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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Spousal Debts

By Jennifer Cowan / February 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 Holidays

By Jennifer Cowan / December 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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Separate Property Assets and Debts

By Jennifer Cowan / September 1, 2016

I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer, which is now pretty darn near over. Last month I went to Lassen Volcanic National Park (www.nps.gov/lavo) with a couple old friends. We stayed at Drakesbad Guest Ranch (drakesbad.com)-rustic cabins located right in Lassen. The scenery was beautiful and it was great to get away. We got lots…

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Summer is for Strandbeests

By Jennifer Cowan / August 3, 2016

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. This is a time of year when I like to do a couple touristy things just to see another side of the Bay Area. Last week I was on the Embarcadero, waiting in a long line of tourists to get into the new[ish] Exploratorium. We never made it…

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Your Estate Plan Is DONE: What Are Your Next Steps?

By Jennifer Cowan / April 5, 2016

Congratulations! You’ve answered questions, made decisions and signed your estate planning documents. What happens next? If you have a trust it is important to make sure that your trust is properly funded: that is, assets are titled in the name of the trust. Your attorney will help you with this or give you instructions for…

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Social Security and Spouses

By Jennifer Cowan / July 1, 2015

Welcome to summer! I can’t help but begin by commenting on recent news: as everyone knows by now the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage the end of June. As I drove to work the morning of the announcement I saw a young man with tears on his face waiving a multicolored flag as he walked.…

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June Weddings

By Jennifer Cowan / June 1, 2015

June: traditionally the month of weddings. In fact,many years ago, I was a June bride myself. But this June is different: the Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case it heard in April, are states required to allow same-sex marriage or can individual states ban same-sex marriage and/or refuse to recognize same-sex marriages…

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May Flowers

By Jennifer Cowan / May 1, 2015

Last month I visited the De Young Museum’s annual spring show “Bouquets to Art.” The show pairs a local floral designer with a piece from the museum’s permanent collection. The designer creates a companion piece inspired by the original and the two pieces are displayed together. Every year I am delighted and amazed by the…

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How Do You Hold the Eggs In Your Basket?

By Jennifer Cowan / April 5, 2015

April! For most people April is synonymous with the IRS and taxes. While it doesn’t always fall in April,most Aprils I think of Easter. Easter was a big deal when I was little, with chocolate egg hunts and an Easter basket from my grandmother. I tried to recreate the magic of Easter with my own…

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