Marin Estate Planning Attorney Publishes New Year Estate Plan Checklist

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San Rafael attorney Julia P. Wald says people need to ensure that estate plans are ready for the New Year. Her online newsletter includes a checklist to follow.

2012 estate plan

An estate planning checklist will help you protect your family in the new year.

We’re getting ready for the birth of the new year, but before that baby—or a human addition to the family—arrives, it is wise to go over your estate plan.

Babies and toddlers are notorious sleep deprivers, but losing sleep over an outdated or non-existent estate plan is completely avoidable. To make it easy to get started, Marin Estate Planning attorney, Julia Wald has posted a checklist of items that should be addressed immediately, before the birth of the new year a few weeks from now.

“We’re getting ready for the birth of the new year,” says Wald. “But before that baby—or a human addition to the family—arrives, it is wise to go over your estate plan.”

Wald’s checklist of things to do by December 31 includes giving money away (to anyone) to avoid estate taxes—for those with large estates—and giving to charity—for anyone who can afford to share their good fortune with those less fortunate.

“If your estate may exceed the current estate tax exclusion cap of $5 million for individuals and $10 million for married opposite-sex spouses, you should consider making annual gifts of up to $13,000 to someone special,” Wald advises. “Anyone can give that amount to any other person without paying any gift taxes or filing any gift tax forms, and a regular gifting program can help high-net-worth individuals reduce their exposure to the estate tax.”

Wald also recommends that people add up their charitable contributions this time of year to see if they can afford to make even more charitable donations before year end. The needs of charitable organizations are great, particularly in this economy. Philanthropy can also help reduce 2011 tax liabilities.

Wald’s online checklist includes reviewing existing estate planning documents to ensure they are up-to-date, establishing or modifying living trusts, verifying that assets are properly titled for the trusts, paying for medical and educational expenses, reviewing designated beneficiaries, validating powers of attorney, and assessing insurance needs.

“The birth of a new year always reveals more possibilities for action, professional growth, and family closeness,” Wald concluded. “An estate plan that is relevant for 2012 will ensure things like a newly born addition to the family is well-covered.”

Wald’s complete report is available on her Main Estate Planning Attorney website. For more information on estate planning, please contact the Law Offices of Julia P. Wald by phone at (415) 578-9881 or online at

About the Law Offices of Julia P. Wald
The Law Offices of Julia P. Wald is a group of San Francisco Bay Area estate planning attorneys who specialize in probate, trusts and conservatorships. Their accredited San Rafael attorneys have extensive experience in many aspects of estate planning, including wills in Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area living trusts.

As a San Francisco Bay Area estate attorney, Wald is a member of the California State Bar and has been certified by the California Board of Certification as a Certified Specialist in Probate, Estate Planning, and Trust law since 1990. She has been practicing estate planning law in the San Francisco Bay Area for 25 years. The Law Offices of Julia P. Wald serves the northern San Francisco Bay Area from its office in Marin County.


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Julia Wald
The Law Offices of Julia P. Wald
(415) 578-9881
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