Online resource center to help you explore these key issues, and others, regarding your estate.

Practice Areas

Mr. Miller has many years of experience in designing and implementing a comprehensive variety of Trusts, Wills, and other estate planning documents, as well as settling estates in the most expedient and appropriate method. Further, he counsels and assists clients on becoming eligible for VA benefits and Medi-Cal.

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VA Pension/Aid & Attendance/Medi-Cal

Mr. Miller has been active in the area of VA Pension and Medi-Cal for well over a decade. He uses various specialized types of Trusts as well as non-trust strategies to gain eligibility for his clients and save the family money.

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Probate & Estate Administration

Mr. Miller has been settling estates (both simple and complex) for well over 40 years. The starting point is always to create a strategy to settle the estate in the most efficient manner possible with a minimum of taxes. Often times the strategy created allows the family to bypass Probate Court proceedings.

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Who is Wearing the Pants?

By merv,

  Filed under: Estate Planning, Insurance

When it comes to household finances, many couples assign one spouse to take care of the money.  That person balances the checkbook, makes sure the bills are paid, and sets the budget.  It is part of the divide and conquer paradigm that makes households, and businesses for that matter, work efficiently.   In any couple, though, the paradigm leads to strife because, no matter how large your estate is, you can never afford every single thing everyone in the family wants.  So how do you decide how to spend your money?  Estate planning may require employing the same methods to determine the best outcome for everyone.  However, the inability to come to a resolution on your own should not be a reason to avoid making a comprehensive estate plan.  Speaking with your estate planning attorney may help resolve these issues.

One common issue in estate planning hinges on the children.  Although you love all your children equally, you may not wish to treat them equally in your plan.  If your children vary greatly in their professional success levels, you may wish to give a leg up to the children who are having a more difficult time by leaving the family home to that child or otherwise leaving that child extra assets.  Alternatively, you may wish to reward your other children for their good decisions.  If all of your children are successful, you may instead choose to set aside a separate educational trust for the benefit of your grandchildren.  In such cases, it is important to fully consider your plan with thoughtful counsel, not only to consider how the disfavored children might interpret your distribution, but also the types of incentives it creates.

Another issue that often arises for married couples is whether to purchase life insurance, how much, what type, and on whose life.  The decision involves balancing the purposes for the insurance against the premiums.  Realistically assessing your financial situation and income in the case of either of your deaths is essential to making a good decision.  Many couples simply decide to purchase life insurance for the husband under the, sometimes false, assumption that he will die first.  Instead, it is likely that if both spouses are working, both incomes are necessary to the household.  Similarly, although survivor’s benefits for social security, pensions, and other programs exist, they may not remain at the same level.  It is helpful to determine what financial obligations will continue to exist even after either spouse’s death.

In any case, your estate and financial planning may be tailored to your specific wishes.  If disagreements arise over how to create your plan, it is important to remember that, ultimately, it is only dollars at issue and compromises may be made by splitting the difference or balancing the various interests at play.  Working through your financial decisions is not a new feat to overcome; estate planning simply places the issue in a different situation.  If you are normally wearing the metaphorical financial pants, now is the time to make sure you sit down to complete your plan!

Estate Planning: The Price of Organization, Rewards, Gifts, and Wondrous Tax Things… FREE REPORT: This complimentary report, focused on Estate Planning, is comprised of many of Mr. Miller’s articles from his long running column for the largest regional newspaper in San Diego County. This report will guide you through the questions surrounding getting your estate planning in order.


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About Living Trusts

About Living Trusts is hosted by the Law Offices of Merwyn J. Miller, as your online resource center to help you explore these key issues, and others, regarding your estate.

Merwyn J. Miller, J.D.

  • Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
  • Co-Author of legal text book and of “Don’t Go Broke in a Nursing Home
  • Teacher of law courses at public and private colleges
  • Continuing Education Instructor for attorneys
  • Columnist for largest regional newspaper in San Diego County and professional journals for 15 years, Contributing author to the book “In Your Service: The Veteran’s Friend”
  • Masters Degree in Financial Services - Estate Planning

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