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How does the current Estate Tax law effect individuals and couples already have a Living Trust?      

Unmarried Clients.  An unmarried client will of course need no changes to his or her Living Trust due to the new Estate Tax Law.  Unmarried clients with larger estates who already have other Estate Tax planning vehicles (i.e. a Life Insurance Trust) may want to review their situation.

Married Clients.  A married couple with an ‘AB’  or 'ABC' Living Trust and a modest estate may want to consider amending the trust to include the “Optional ‘B’ Trust” provisions.  Unlike a traditional ‘AB’ trust which requires the community assets to be divided upon the death of the first spouse, this type of trust (technically a Disclaimer Trust) allows the decision whether to divide the estate to be made by the surviving spouse, within nine months of the death of the first to die, based on the situation and tax law in effect at that time.  Of course, there are many occasions where a traditional “AB” Trust will still be used, such as blended families, second marriages, separate property estates, etc.  Click here for important additional information.

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Kenneth S. Jacobs                          
Attorney at Law
Certified Specialist
Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
117 N. Main Street.  Sebastopol, CA 95472
(707) 829-7303