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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: Tax Deduction

    Why Estate Planning is for Life, Not Death

    We know that no one likes to think about death, especially their own.  Which is why many people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning.  Because it’s for when you die, right?  Wrong!  When done with a Personal Family Lawyer, creating an estate plan makes your life better.planning

    Here are some of the things that estate planning does for you while you are alive:

    • Gets you thinking about the real meaning of your life, what you want to pass on beyond your life and what’s most important to you to do now;
    • Gets you thinking about how you want to be cared for at the end of your life and lets you name someone to make those good decisions for you;
    • Has you think about your money, who you want it to go to, how you want it handled, what you want it to do in the world after you aren’t here;
    • Names someone to care for your children in case you can’t;
    • Helps you minimize taxes;
    • Lets you provide for a special needs child or other loved one without disrupting their governmental benefits;
    • Protects your assets from divorce – yours or your children’s – as well as lawsuits and creditors;
    • Enables you to gift portions of your estate to your children or charities while you are still alive in a tax-advantaged way that inspires wealth creation instead of depletion;
    • Helps you plan for your own long-term care in a way that won’t deplete your estate

    Of course, having an estate plan also offers you peace of mind that you have done what you could to protect loved ones and pass on your assets efficiently after death.  Having an estate plan in place before you pass guarantees that:

    • Your personal property and assets will pass to the people you want to have them
    • You spare your family the expense and pain of having to go through the probate process
    • Your minor children are provided for in the way you choose, with a guardian named to raise them with your values and a trusted adviser in place to manage their finances until they come of age
    • Your assets are protected for your heirs by setting up a trust with a distribution option for when they reach adulthood (or other milestones of your choice)
    • Beneficiaries have been named for retirement and other financial accounts as well as life insurance policies so the assets in these accounts go to the people you choose
    • The financial privacy of your family is protected

    If you’d like to talk about Estate Planning, call your Newport Beach Trust and Estate Attorney today at 949.718.0420 to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.

    Tax Relief – Caring For Elderly Loved Ones

    If you're helping out a financially stressed relative in this still-lousy economy, you may be entitled to some tax breaks.

    Taking care of your elderly loved ones is a difficult task. It can be emotionally difficult, as well as financially crippling.

    In honor of tax season, SmartMoney offers some related articles about often-overlooked deductions that might help relieve some of your financial stress if you are providing such care. The first article is titled Tax Breaks for Helping Relatives and the sequel article is More Tax Breaks for Supporting Relatives.

    For example, the most obvious way to realize some tax relief is to claim your elderly loved one as a “dependent.” In addition, do you pay for medical expenses? If yes, then there is a deduction for that.

    As you might expect, the level of support available under the tax code depends on multiple factors, to include the level of support you provide, the support your elderly loved one needs, and even various programs available in your area.

    It may be too late for you to pursue tax relief for tax year 2011. However, now is the perfect time to explore your options for tax year 2012 and plan accordingly.

    Regardless, I recommend taking time to read both articles. If this issue does not directly affect you now, it may in the future.

    Reference: SmartMoney (March 7, 2012) “Tax Breaks for Helping Relatives

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