August 11, 2016
Does the gross value of your estate exceed $150,000? If your answer is yes, then let’s talk! We understand that discussing your estate can be, well, uncomfortable. Our Estates and Trusts Team can help you see that creating a plan for what will happen after your death isn’t about passing away — it’s about the legacy you’ll pass on. With the right planning, your legacy will help others live their lives for years to come.
Why Estate Planning?
Proper estate planning helps lay the groundwork for your family once you pass away, offering peace of mind for you and yours. It may be uncomfortable to begin the discussion, but your worries will ease once you know that your hard-earned money will be used according to your wishes. As CPAs, we’re always looking to minimize taxes and fees so your heirs receive the largest inheritance possible, and avoid probate.
Why Do I Want to Avoid Probate?
Probate is a public legal proceeding that is used to put a person’s financial affairs in order after death. In California, probate proceedings are conducted by the County Superior Court where the deceased person lived — and these proceedings can take months, even years, to move through the system. This process is a matter of public record. All of that time comes with a big price tag, too.
Will or Trust: Which Is Better?
Anyone can write up a will. But if the gross value of your estate is $150,000 or more, it’s best to create a trust also. A trust will protect your heirs from entering probate, a series of court procedures that can be costly and emotional. A little advance planning will help your heirs retain more of your estate in the long run.
Trust 101: The Very Basics of Setting Up a Trust
There’s a common misconception that trusts require prohibitive amounts of money to set up. The truth is, you don’t have to be rich to set up a trust. At Grimbleby Coleman, we make the process easy and will work with your attorney or help you find one to work with. We’ll take a look at your tax returns, create a plan to minimize income tax, and create a long-term strategy for asset distribution. Legally your trust, unlike a will, will remain private — a great advantage to the family you leave behind. Also, a trust is the perfect way to leave a legacy to children under the age of 18. Instead of receiving a court-appointed guardian to make financial decisions, you’ll be in charge of who will help your young beneficiary navigate his or her new inheritance.
A Team With Compassion
We’re one of only two CPA firms in the region with a dedicated estates and trusts team. Not only do we know the ins and outs of this important practice area, we’re driven, passionate, and committed to staying current with the ever-evolving legislature. Our team members include:
Colleen Meenk, CPA and Principal
Linda Bossard, EA, USTCP and Manager
Mike Kelly, CPA and Experienced Senior Associate
Renee Salcedo, EA and Experienced Senior Associate
Debbie Sanders, CPA and Manager
Manoj Bains, Senior Associate
What If My Estate Is … Well, Complicated?
We have experience working on difficult estate and trust planning scenarios, including Form 706 for clients with more than $5 million in assets, QTIP planning, portability, Schedule “R” generation-skipping tax planning, GST allocation, and special gift planning.
Be sure to check out “You’re Dead, Now What? Top Ten Estate Planning Myths” by Colleen Meenk, CPA and Partner.
Curious about the most notorious example of a failed estate plan? Here’s a hint: It involves purple rain, purple rain.
A member of our Estates and Trusts team looks forward to helping you with your upcoming challenges or trust maintenance.
Jeff became a principal of the firm in 2010. His specialty is tax, and he leads the firm's agribusiness industry team.
Jeff is a Modesto native, and grew up in a local farming family. He has an MBA and a Masters in Taxation degree, and is a CPA. Jeff enjoys “being able to explain a concept or communicate information that helps a client, and being able to learn from the experience of clients who are very successful at what they do.”
When he’s not helping clients, Jeff's focus is on spending time with his wife and three daughters. If it’s June, he’s outdoors—probably gardening, grilling, or hiking in the High Sierras. In October, you’ll find him spending time with family and still spending time outside if the weather is nice. But in January … where else would he be but in the office? “It’s tax season!”
Jeff’s favorite number is 2000. “For the year that I got married, and also started my first public accounting job.”