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Absolute Trust Counsel Videos

Welcome to the Absolute Trust Counsel video library. We are pleased to share with you exclusive videos from our team, educating you on a wide variety of topics under each of our practice areas. We hope that these videos will help educate you on key areas of estate planning and help make you more comfortable with decisions during the planning process.

Providing For a Special Needs Loved One When You’re Gone.

Families of children with special needs face specific estate planning challenges that must be very carefully addressed. Parents, grandparents and other family members can ensure or contribute to the support of a special needs person by creating a special needs trust.

A special needs trust allows parents, grandparents or other family members to set aside money or other assets to provide for the special needs person without disqualifying them from these important government programs. Special needs trusts can be used for lifetime giving or for inheritances. If you have a child or other loved one with special needs, you may want to work with a qualified attorney to establish and administer a special needs trust.


Do Know the True Cost of Nursing Home Care?

For some clients, estate planning will also include Medi-Cal eligibility planning for nursing home care. Our goal at Absolute Trust Counsel is to plan so that seniors remain independent for as long as possible while protecting their assets against the expense of nursing home care. We offer compassionate guidance and sound legal counsel whether you are planning well in advance or your family is in aMedi-Cal crisis situation.


Thinking Beyond: What’s Important in My Estate Plan?

You have worked hard to achieve success. Now you want to make sure your assets are protected, your golden years are spent in comfort, and your loved ones are well taken care of after you are gone.

At Absolute Trust Counsel we dedicate ourselves to helping individuals and families from a wide range of social and economic backgrounds do just that. Together, we will create an estate plan for you that protects your hard-earned assets and your legacy and ensures your children’s inheritance is safe from creditors, predators, and even their own inability to handle an inheritance alone.


Not Only Would I Recommend You and Your Team, but I Have.

While some law firms offer general services meeting every conceivable legal need, Absolute Trust Counsel takes a different approach. California estate law is our specialty. It’s what we love and what we do best.

Choosing the right attorney is always a decision that should be made thoughtfully, particularly when it comes to planning for your future. You need a legal team who will take the time to listen closely to you and gain a thorough understanding of your particular situation and your most pressing concerns, goals, and hopes for your legacy. We pride ourselves on practicing that sort of personalized law. We are a law practice that will be there for you and your family today, tomorrow and for years to come — a law firm for life.


The Legal Work That Has To Happen – Trust Administration

The decision to serve as a trustee should not be taken lightly. It is a difficult, time-consuming job, and a trustee can be held personally and financially liable for failure to carry out mandates of the trust to the letter. It is advisable to consult an attorney who focuses on this area of the law.

If you are responsible for administering your deceased loved one’s trust, turn to our firm for the assistance you need.


From Start to Finish the Process was Thorough, Easy, and Efficient.

While some law firms offer general services meeting every conceivable legal need, Absolute Trust Counsel takes a different approach. California estate law is our specialty. It’s what we love and what we do best.

Choosing the right attorney is always a decision that should be made thoughtfully, particularly when it comes to planning for your future. You need a legal team who will take the time to listen closely to you and gain a thorough understanding of your particular situation and your most pressing concerns, goals, and hopes for your legacy. We pride ourselves on practicing that sort of personalized law. We are a law practice that will be there for you and your family today, tomorrow and for years to come — a law firm for life.


I Respect Not Only Kirsten, but Her Whole Team for Always Doing What was Necessary for My Needs

While some law firms offer general services meeting every conceivable legal need, Absolute Trust Counsel takes a different approach. California estate law is our specialty. It’s what we love and what we do best.

Choosing the right attorney is always a decision that should be made thoughtfully, particularly when it comes to planning for your future. You need a legal team who will take the time to listen closely to you and gain a thorough understanding of your particular situation and your most pressing concerns, goals, and hopes for your legacy. We pride ourselves on practicing that sort of personalized law. We are a law practice that will be there for you and your family today, tomorrow and for years to come — a law firm for life.


Absolute Trust Counsel Medi Cal Eligibility Planning Presentation

Kirsten Howe, Estate Planning Attorney and Principal of Absolute Trust Counsel, describes key considerations in the planning process to maximize Medi-Cal eligibility.

If you had to add an extra $8,000 – $12,000 to your monthly budget because a spouse or parent needed nursing home care, how long could you do it? With proper planning, you can stop the rapid outflow of cash before it’s all gone. Join us as we discuss Medi-Cal eligibility rules and planning techniques.


An Easy, Efficient, Knowledgeable and Wonderful Team

While some law firms offer general services meeting every conceivable legal need, Absolute Trust Counsel takes a different approach. California estate law is our specialty. It’s what we love and what we do best.

Choosing the right attorney is always a decision that should be made thoughtfully, particularly when it comes to planning for your future. You need a legal team who will take the time to listen closely to you and gain a thorough understanding of your particular situation and your most pressing concerns, goals, and hopes for your legacy. We pride ourselves on practicing that sort of personalized law. We are a law practice that will be there for you and your family today, tomorrow and for years to come – a law firm for life.


Do You Know How Complicated Probate Truly Is?

When a person dies, his or her estate executor or administrator is in charge of paying outstanding debts and distributing all remaining assets to beneficiaries as designated in the deceased’s will. This is done by means of a court process referred to as probate which can be quite time-consuming.

At Absolute Trust Counsel, we want to simplify this process for you as much as possible. With decades of experience, we are well-acquainted with California probate laws and can be a valuable asset to families during what can potentially be a very challenging time.


Coronavirus Estate Planning

Yes, we are living in scary and uncertain times, but you can still take control.

It might be challenging to see past today or even tomorrow, but what happens if you or a loved one is impacted by coronavirus? Will your loved ones be protected if something happens to you? Will you get the immediate support and care needed? If it’s a loved one isolated and impacted, do you know how to manage their care? Do you even have the authority?

If incapacity happens without a plan, you don’t have time to wait. You don’t have time to sort through the mess for the right support and care that’s needed immediately. Join me as I discuss the importance of coronavirus estate planning now and give you some action items to help you plan, prepare, and address the difficult times we are facing.


Take Action Today - Plan for All COVID-19 Outcomes

Do You Have a Plan That Would Enable a Trusted Family Member to Step in to Protect You from Predators?

It’s hard to believe we are living in such scary and uncertain times. Unfortunately, there are still those out there who are taking advantage of that for their financial benefit. The coronavirus has resulted in new twists on common scams that mainly affect seniors – the most vulnerable population.

It’s more difficult now, but more important than ever to stay connected, especially to our senior family members. Scams are much easier to pull off on someone who is isolated, as many older adults are, and especially if they experience cognitive decline as they age. These types of scams cost families millions of dollars every year. But there are things you can do now to protect yourself, your family, and your loved ones.

Join me for a special live edition of the Absolute Trust Talk Podcast as I discuss the importance of coronavirus estate planning to protect yourself and your family now. Don’t miss out on my tips to help ensure you get your $1,200 economic impact check ASAP.

No matter what your circumstances are, the Absolute Trust Counsel team is here to help you in any way that we can. Please, stay safe and stay health.


Coronavirus Estate Planning Triage

If you are a health care worker or have a loved one who is, this episode is meant for you. Health care workers are very special and we all owe them our gratitude for the work they do. But it’s important that they not allow their instinct to help others to get in the way of helping themselves.

Statistics are showing an alarmingly high rate of COVID-19 cases among health care workers in some locations. We just don’t have enough data to know why that is, but it is obvious that health care workers are getting sick and they need to be prepared.

Join me as I triage your estate plan—break down for you what are the absolutely necessary components you need and your family needs you to have during this mega crisis.


COVID-19 and Elder Home Care

We’re all familiar with the news about the devastating spread of COVID-19 through nursing homes, among residents and staff, in the East Bay and beyond. But many of our elder clients receive long-term care in their own homes. The home care industry has had to respond in a variety of ways to ensure continuing quality care for their clients and to keep clients and staff safe.

Francesca Vogel with Home Care Assistance joins us today to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the home care industry, the steps being taken to protect elderly clients and care givers and  what permanent changes in the industry are likely to be necessary, even after this crisis is over, to ensure both safety and high-quality care.


COVID-19 + Elder Care: What You Need to Know Featuring Nicole Howell

It’s almost surreal how COVID-19 has changed our daily lives, but even more so for those most vulnerable – our older and dependent adults. Unfortunately, those who need the most protection and care have nearly had it all taken away due to no visitation policies.

Other than care staff and employees on the frontlines, who is ensuring proper care and protection? Who is ensuring residents are still able to connect with a loved one and the outside world? How has oversight changed since isolation has become the norm of this pandemic? What can you do to make sure your loved one is safe, happy, and cared for with the support needed?

Please watch this video from Absolute Trust Talk with special guest Nicole Howell who is the Executive Director at Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa, Solano, and Alameda. She has been at the forefront of COVID-19 safety efforts among seniors and the elderly in long-term care. We are excited to have her join us to share what’s going on with elder care, long-term care facilities, and how people can stay connected with their loved ones in isolation.


How to Avoid the Most Common Estate Planning Mistake

Our clients understand the importance of estate planning. In this time of COVID-19, many people are also feeling a sense of urgency. It is important to remember, though, that the plan is only the beginning.

A surprising number of our clients discover, after the death of a family member, that an asset that should have been transferred to the trust was not. Sometimes this means that, even though a trust was established to avoid probate, we have to do a probate.

In this episode, we give you the information you need to avoid this common mistake. We discuss trust funding: which assets to fund, how to fund each kind of asset, and how you can tell if your trust has been correctly funded.


Special Needs Trusts: Don't Let an Inheritance Blow Up Your Government Benefits

Most parents of children with special needs understand how important it is to plan ahead for their special needs child. There are lots of things to plan, and one very important one is a special needs trust. This is a trust that will make sure that when the parents die the special needs child does not lose any government benefits because of an inheritance.

But sometimes a special needs person gets an inheritance form someone other than a parent, from someone who did not set up a special needs trust. Now what?

In this episode, we talk about what will happen to that inheritance, what could happen to the government benefits, and, most importantly, how to avoid the whole problem.


Caring for a Spouse with Dementia: In the Beginning...

When one spouse has dementia, the other spouse becomes a caregiver, gradually over time taking on more and more responsibility and losing more and more of the partnership and joy of marriage. The caregiver’s journey is difficult and lonely.

My guest Cheri J. Bailly-Jacobs has written a new memoir called Caregiver Confidential: Stories of Living with My Husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease. In the book she talks about her nine-year journey as a caregiver for her husband. It’s a really honest look at the many challenges and emotions she experienced along the way.


Empowering the Disabled Through Employment and Housing Choice

Our guest today is the founder and Executive Director of East Bay Innovations, Tom Heinz. EBI is a local non-profit that runs a wide variety of programs designed to enable and empower persons with disabilities to live their most productive, independent, and satisfying lives.

We’ll be discussing just a few of EBI’s programs that help people with things like daily money management, disability benefits planning, and affordable housing. These programs are so valuable to our clients with special needs and to our clients who are trustees of special needs trusts.


Trustee and Executor Dos and Don'ts

Do you know what you’re supposed to do when a family member dies and names you their executor or trustee? There are so many tasks and responsibilities to take care of, you definitely need to talk to an attorney to make sure you don’t miss any steps. We find that there are some common mistakes trustees and executors make that can have very serious consequences. But, with a little education, they can be avoided. In case you didn’t know, it is almost always harder (read “more expensive”) to clean up after a mistake than doing it right in the first place! Join us as we discuss some of our favorite “dos and don’ts” for executors and trustees.


California Exit Strategy: Reverse Migration Trend in Real Estate

According to the 2018 American Community Survey Census Data, from 2007 to 2016, 5 million people moved into California while nearly 6 million left. That’s a loss of 1 million residents! And we continue to see an increasing number of our clients choose to move out of state as they retire to seek states with lower income taxes, lower cost of living, less traffic, and crowing. While moving is always a big project and a daunting task, we’re curious about this trend, especially now with COVID-19.

Joining us for a new episode of Absolute Trust Talk LIVE is relocation expert Scott Fuller. Scott is the founder of LeavingTheBayArea.com, the top resource for helping clients navigate the relocation process systematically, thoughtfully, and successfully. Join us to learn more about the strategies he uses, some of the pitfalls to avoid, and how COVID-19 is affecting California’s real estate.


What You Need to Know to Get Your PPP Loan Forgiven

We all remember how difficult and chaotic the PPP loan application process was. Well, guess what? Now it’s time to start putting together your loan forgiveness application, and that promises to be much more complicated and confusing. And the stakes are high: if you submit the application correctly the loan will be forgiven, if you don’t, you have to pay all that money back.

The good news is that we have invited our guest today is PPP Loan expert Ed Gines, with Strategic CFOs, to explain it all to you. The time limits, the forgiveness percentage calculations, the income caps, and on and on, Ed knows this program and will share his expertise with us. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from the expert and ask your own questions!


The Elder Care Journey Part 1: Understanding the Types of Care and Who Pays?

The eldercare journey is just that – a journey. You start at one point and move to various other points along the way. Every journey is unique and may hit certain points and miss others. Where your family’s particular journey takes you depends on two things: the type of care needed and who pays for that care. In this episode, we discuss the different types of eldercare available at different levels of need. We find that often our clients are not familiar with terms like skilled nursing, board and care, and memory care and don’t understand the differences among them. We ill also discuss the many different options available for paying for care at each level. Join us for this first episode in our series on the Elder Care Journey.


The Elder Care Journey Part 2: Dementia and Incapacity: What Does that Even Mean?

We have seen many times with our clients a lot of confusion about what the word incapacity means. Which is understandable since it means different things in different contexts. It is a level of cognitive impairment, often dementia in our older clients, that has legal significance. There are some things we can’t do if we are incapacitated and there are some things our families can’t do until we are incapacitated, and that’s just the start of the confusion.

For most older people, cognitive impairment, once it begins, does not go away and usually gets worse. It’s so important to understand the ins and outs or dos and don’ts of incapacity to make sure you do your planning before it’s too late. In this episode, we will talk about the basics you need to avoid trouble.


The Elder Care Journey: What You Need to Know in a Disaster

We saw the photos on Monday morning of seniors being evacuated overnight from a large facility in Santa Rosa to escape the Shady Fire. That was an impressive feat: moving 4,500 residents to safety, many with mobility issues. And the story raised so many questions: where were they going? what did they take with them? how will their families find them? In short, what is the plan?

If you or a family member resides in any kind of senior living community or care facility you need to know the emergency disaster plan. Today we discuss some crucial questions to ask.


More Fun With COVID-19 Scams!

Unfortunately, there will always be people who see a tragedy or a crisis as simply another opportunity to take advantage of others for profit. And the COVID-19 pandemic provides plenty of such opportunities.

In this episode, we’ll discuss some new scams that we have seen that are unique to this challenging time. Join us to learn more about these scams and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.


Financial Planning for Women in Transition

Divorce and widowhood are two very difficult transitions for a lot of women that often give rise to lots of financial questions and worry. Our guest today, Mary Ballin, CFP, CDFA, works with all kinds of clients but has a particular focus on providing financial planning services to women going through big life transitions.

In this episode, we discuss the common questions and concerns that women tend to have, the confidence gap between women and men, and how women approach finances. We’ll also discuss the value of financial planning in a typical divorce scenario, not just after a divorce but also during the divorce process.


Estate and Financial Planning With Life Insurance

Every family is different, of course, but young families tend to share certain characteristics and concerns when it comes to estate and financial planning. Like everyone else, they do have a tendency to procrastinate. They may not have a large investment portfolio (yet) but they definitely benefit from good financial advice. One of the most important pieces of advice has to do with what should be the order of priorities. Hint: it’s probably not what you think.

Join us as we talk about planning for young families with Michael Strohl, CFP with Open Advisors. Michael specializes in working with young families, especially in the tech industry. That typical profile, salary, and bonuses that are often heavy on stock options and other alternative forms of compensation can present unique challenges.


Planning for Young Families

Most people are familiar with life insurance and if you’ve ever had a job or been a parent you may even have owned a life insurance policy. Most of us think of life insurance in a limited way: it provides a death benefit to take the place of someone who dies too early. But life insurance can do so much more. We often use it in estate planning to create wealth our clients don’t have but will need to accomplish their goals, or to replace wealth that must be dedicated to a specific purpose.

Join us for our first post-election episode as we talk about some of these interesting planning techniques using life insurance planning with JP McDermott, MBA, ChFC, CLTC, Financial Planner with MassMutual Northern California. We’ll cover planning to pay estate taxes with life insurance, life insurance in blended families and in business succession, and how the election results may impact our planning.


What You Might Not Know About Reverse Mortgages as a Financial Tool

Many people have a negative reaction to the term ‘reverse mortgage’. Years ago, they often involved very high fees and were sold to consumers who didn’t really understand what they were buying.

Nowadays, there are many laws and regulations governing reverse mortgages that protect consumers and ensure transparency. As a result, reverse mortgages have become a very useful tool that can be used to solve a variety of financial problems, including enabling seniors to remain in their own homes and pay for in-home care as they age.

Join me as I talk to Russell Doi of Mutual of Omaha and learn some important information you probably didn’t know about reverse mortgages.


How Will Prop 19. Impact Your Estate on February 16th?

Proposition 19 is a ballot measure passed in the November 2020 election in the state of California that significantly changes the property taxes on real estate inherited by children from their parents. And not in a good way. Under this proposition, a parent can only transfer the primary residence (either by gift, by inheritance or by sale) without causing the property taxes to go up. That’s it! Not to mention, the law goes into effect on February 16, 2021, just a few short weeks away. This massive change has left many of our clients and California residents wondering how these negative impacts will affect their estate plan and what they can do in this short window of opportunity to save their families tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Join us as Kirsten discusses the intricate details of this new proposition, the impact on estate plans, and the next steps you need to take now.


5 Mistakes Adult Children Make When It’s Time for Parents to Move

Helping parents move out of their long-time home can be a huge project. There are so many things to think about – some obvious, but still vexing, like what are we going to do with the attic/closet/basement full of stuff? But many other considerations are not so obvious and challenging in a different way, such as knowing when and how to start having the conversation about moving in the first place.

Join my and my guest, Dayna Wilson, with Keller Williams. She specializes in helping families move their parents, and she’s here to share her experiences and tips for a successful move.


Estate Tax Returns: Why You Might Want To File Even if You Don’t Have To, Plus Some Common Mistakes To Avoid

With the exemption from federal estate tax so high, $11,700,000 in 2021, many people believe their families will never have to worry about filing a federal estate tax return (IRS Form 706) on their deaths. And that is true…ish. There’s something called the Deceased Spouse Unclaimed Exemption Amount (DSUAE) that could save your family a lot of money, but you can only claim it if you file an estate tax return.

Join us as we discuss 706s, Deceased Spouse Unclaimed Exemption Amount (DSUAE), common mistakes to avoid, and more with trust and estates tax expert, Margaret Schopp.


Guardianship: The Most Important Part of Your Estate Plan

If you have minor children, making sure you nominate a guardian for them in case of your death or incapacity is the most compelling reason to do an estate plan. For some families, the choice of a guardian is not easy and they end up procrastinating, sometimes until the children turn 18 and the problem goes away!

But we can help you do better than that. During this episode, we’ll talk about the factors to consider in choosing a guardian and we’ll explain the guardianship process, which is often misunderstood. Plus we’ll answer your questions live!


Resolving Family Conflict Through Elder Mediation

Very often, as family members age, other members become involved in caregiving and decision-making. This sometimes leads to conflict, which then can cause family disharmony and even estrangement.

Our guest, Katharina Dress, is a mediator and facilitator that specializes in helping families understand each other’s viewpoints, reach an agreement and ultimately make the best decisions about care and planning for aging loved ones and their family members.

Please join us as we learn about the kinds of issues Katharina typically sees, what causes tensions within a family during later life phases, and some of the approaches she uses to resolve conflict successfully.


So Many Choices: Navigating the World of Senior Living Communities

Assisted living communities, memory care, board and care, independent living communities, continuing care communities…there are so many different types and hundreds of different options within each type. It is very confusing and difficult for a family to have enough knowledge to make a good choice for their elderly parents. Join us as we discuss all the different choices and the factors that go into making the right decision with placement expert Juliane Bigelow, founder of CareQuest, a local placement agency helping families in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.


Prepare Your Heirs: Keys to a Successful Transfer of Wealth

We’ve all heard the old adage “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” Sadly, for many families, the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next often fails: 70% of families lose their wealth by the end of the second generation and 90% lose it by the end of the third generation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this episode, we will be discussing with Richard Del Monte, of the Del Monte Group, the underlying reasons wealth transitions so often fail and the tools and processes he recommends for families who want to avoid that fate.


Search 9+ Avatar image Hiring Home Caregivers: Know the Law

As the Baby Boom generation ages, we are seeing more and more older clients in need of assistance with some aspects of their daily lives. Almost universally, people would prefer to live in their own homes as they age, and therefore more and more of our clients are hiring in-home caregivers. This can be done through an agency, but for some clients, it makes sense to hire caregivers directly, because they already know someone who would be a good fit for that job, they think the wages will be lower, or a variety of other reasons. What people often don’t know when they hire caregivers directly is that they are considered an employer, and must now comply with all the legal requirements that govern the employer-employee relationship. My guest, Jon Babione with Ferber Law, APC will explain these requirements and provide some best practices to follow when hiring caregivers to avoid stepping into a legal problem.


It Takes a Village

There are lots of nice senior living communities in our area, but almost every senior I’ve talked to would prefer to remain living in their own home as long as possible. Many need assistance in order to do so. That doesn’t always mean hiring caregivers. For some, just getting help with chores, such as grocery shopping or replacing lightbulbs that require a ladder, can make all the difference. That’s where a Village comes in. Join me as I talk to Larry Toy of Lamorinda Village. We will discuss the Village concept in general and the many programs that the Lamorinda Village has for seniors in our community.


Trust Failures: Don't Let This Happen to YOU!

In close to 100% of our trust administrations, we’re hired to execute, there is at least one failure that could have been avoided. Some of these are very common and also very easy to fix. Unfortunately, many of them are much more difficult to fix. An in this context, difficult means expensive. In this episode, Absolute Trust Counsel attorneys Madison Gunn and Kirsten Howe will discuss some of their most memorable trust failures. Watch and learn how to avoid them.


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