Estate Planning For Parents with Care-giver Children

According to an article published by, approximately 17% of adult children provide care for an elderly parent at some point in their lives. The article further projects that by 2060, the population of people over 65 in the United States will have doubled

With these statistics in mind, you may want to consider in your estate planning the possibility of an adult child being your caregiver in the future, the ramifications of the possibility for your asset distribution, and the ways you can plan ahead to promote family harmony in various future scenarios. This article will explore a few of the questions that you can consider with ideas drawn from an article published on

Preparing for the possibility that an adult child would be caring for a parent in the parent’s home. 

  • How long after death does the child have the right to live in the home?
  • Do you want to give the child a greater share of the assets after you die to compensate the child for their extra effort in your care?
  • Does your estate plan empower the child you plan to care for you to make decisions on your behalf?
  • What protections are in place to protect the adult child from fatigue, which in some cases can lead to elder abuse?

If the child or children are unwilling or unable to care for the parent. 

  • If you are planning on care from family members in the future, do you have a back-up plan in case they are unable or unwilling to care for you?
  • Is there a care facility or nursing home that you prefer that you want to designate as the care facility for when you are incapable of making decisions for yourself?

 Communicating estate planning to your family members. 

  • Communicating with family members about your and their preferences for the future can be as important as setting up the documents because you can get the support of family members in advance and resolve concerns or arguments while you are alive and well.
  • There are many tools available for estate planning and talking through the various choices with your family members can help you choose the right tools for your specific situation.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

The uncertainty of the future can invoke anxiety and fear, but estate planning can help give you peace of mind. When you create the right plan for you and your loved ones, then you can have the confidence to know that you are prepared for all possibilities. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive with estate planning and enjoy helping people gain the peace and confidence that comes from a properly drafted and personally customized estate plan. Please contact us at 707-451-4502. 

How the Rich Save Big on Estate Taxes

A recent article published on Yahoo Finance discusses some of the techniques wealthy families use to save on estate taxes

For most Americans, the tactics of the ultra-wealthy are not needed, but many find it fascinating to examine some of the techniques used by top0notch accountants and lawyers to save help rich clients save big on estate taxes. 


Using trusts to give away homes and country houses.


  • Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs) freeze the value of the real estate property for tax. 
  • Homeowner puts the property in trust. 
  • When the trust ends, it is transferred out of the taxable estate and the estate only has to pay gift tax on the value of the property when the trust was formed. 

Passing wealth to future generations with trusts that last up to 1000 years. 

  • The laws on these so called dynasty trusts vary by state, but the idea is that the heirs don’t own the assets, but they have the right to use them and receive income from them. 
  • This plan can allow the passing of wealth through trusts with a long lasting term.


Charitable remainder trusts. 


  • The person puts their assets in trust and collects annual payments for as long as they live, and only 10% of what remains in the charitable remainder trust has to go to a designated charity. 
  • The trust can be funded with a variety of assets from yachts to businesses, making them useful for entrepreneurs looking to help the world and benefit for themselves. 

Buying off-shore life insurance policies. 


  • Private-placement life insurance is used ot pass on assets without incurring estate tax. 
  • The trust owns the life insurance policy that is created off-shore.  
  • This one is primarily for the ultra wealthy, as the premiums are often 5 million up front.  

Transferring assets when the market is down

  • Grantor-retained annuity trusts can facilitate big savings when the market is down. 
  • They pay a fixed annuity, so a certain amount during a term such as two years, and appreciation of the asset’s value is not subject to estate tax. 

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Most of us are not ultra rich, so the techniques they use may not be applicable to you, but there are many tools available to facilitate successful estate planning even for the average American. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience with estate planning and create a customized plan with you to make sure that your loved ones are taken care of and your wishes are memorialized. Contact us at 707-451-4502.

4 Vital Questions in Estate Planning

This article summarizes highlights from a publication at which discusses the four key questions in estate planning

According to a recent survey, although 87% of parents plan to leave an inheritance, only 37% reported an actual plan to do so.  For some, thinking about their demise is uncomfortable and for others, discussing an estate plan may create or reopen family disputes. 

Do I even need an estate plan?

  • That same survey found that one in five respondents admitted to arguing over an inheritance. 
  • Failing to plan for your assets, your healthcare if you are incapacitated and your end of life preferences can lead to confusion, results not in accordance with your desires, and unnecessary court costs. 
  • You estate could potentially be eroded by the unintended and unanticipated costs that result from not having an estate plan or not keeping it updated. 

What assets will I transfer?

  • You want to avoid any assets becoming unclaimed property.
  • One of the first steps is to have a plan that lays out what assets you will give and account details. 
  • Keep your asset list in a secure and obvious place. 

When should I transfer assets?

  • You can transfer assets while you are alive or after you have passed.
  • As you consider the question of when to transfer, you need to consider all the tax implications and also weigh your own need for the assets during your lifetime. 

 How can I communicate my plan to my family?

  • Open communication with your family members can help you better plan because you can get an idea of their financial needs and wants. 
  • The potential tax consequences of wealth transfer can also be important to discuss with family members.
  • If you plan to leave a business to family members, it may be wise to help teach and train them about the business during your lifetime.  

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

The famous phrase, “failing to plan is planning to fail” is an axiom of estate planning and finding the right advisors to assist you is key. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience with estate planning. We can create a customized plan with you, or if you already have an estate plan, we can help you ensure that it is updated and accurate. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

Settlement Announced: The Final Chapter in the Lisa Marie Presley Estate Dispute?

In a series of articles, we have been following the news related to the Lisa Marie Presley Estate dispute. This case has general interest to many in the public because of the fame of Priscilla Presley and her granddaughter, Riley Keough, who recently starred in the hit Amazon series Daisy and the Six. For the team here at the Law Office of David Knecht, the case is interesting for ourselves and our clients to follow since it involves an estate planning dispute, with interesting takeaways about the importance of keeping an estate plan updated and making sure it is accurate. 

The latest news, which is sources from CNN, is that a settlement has been reached between Priscilla and her granddaughter. Ronson J Shamoun reported in a court hearing in Los Angeles before Judge Lynn Scaduto, “The parties would like to report that they’ve reached a settlement.” 

What was the estate dispute about?

  • The dispute centered around the Promenade Trust, which named Riley Keough, Lisa Marie Presley’s oldest daughter as the beneficiary of her mother’s estate. 
  • Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley’s only child, died after being hospitalized following an apparent cardiac arrest. 

What were the terms of the settlement between Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough. 

  • The terms of the settlement agreement are not public at this time. 
  • The judge asked for the settlement and the motion for seal (which would prevent public access to the settlement) to be filed by June 12 and set another hearing for the case in August. 
  • Shamoun, Priscilla Presley’s attorney, told reporters that all parties were happy and the family in now unified and excited for the future.

What was the problem with the estate plan?

  • Lisa Marie Presley’s will contained a 2016 amendment that removed her mother and former business manager as former trustees. 
  • Priscilla’s petition to the court identified problems with the amendment: she did not receive the amendment while Lisa was alive, which the Trust required, and her name was misspelled. The amendment was not witnessed or notarized and the authenticity of the signature was in question.

 What are some of the estate planning lessons for everyone that can be gleaned from this high-profile case? 

  • Make sure you prioritize getting your estate plan complete and updated because you never know when your time will come. 
  • Follow all of the rules and procedures properly to provide notice, have correct signatures, have proper notarization if required, etc. 
  • Communicate changes to family members in advance so that if there are questions or concerns, they can be addressed while you are still alive. 

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Benjamin Franklin is said to have coined the well-known phrase: “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” The challenges faced by the rich and famous can be a lesson to all of us that our time may come sooner than we think and planning ahead for the sake of the peace in your family is vital. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience with estate planning. We will listen to you to create a customized estate plan for your family, or if you already have an estate plan, we can help you ensure that it is updated and accurate. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

Estate Planning Lessons from Hollywood: Michael Lockwood Appointed Legal Guardian Amidst Lisa Marie Presley Trust Battle

A widely publicized estate planning case that is ongoing is the disputed estate of Lisa Marie Presley and new developments were recently reported by the LA Times. Lisa Marie (daughter of Elvis Presley) died in January of 2023, leaving behind a trust that purported to leave control of her estate to her adult daughter, Riley Keough. However, Priscilla Presley (Lisa Marie’s mother) has challenged the validity of the documents that changed the Trust. In 2016 Lisa Marie amended her will, naming her two eldest children as co-executors. Her son pre-deceased her. She filed to dissolve her marriage to Michael Lockwood that same year. Lisa Marie and Michael Lockwood were parents of two minor twins. The new development in this case is that the court has appointed the father of the twins, Michael Lockwood as the legal guardian of the twins.

Takeaway Lesson for Estate Planning from this Case – Avoid Conflicts of Interest

Why was Michael Lockwood a good choice for a guardian ad litem?

Although we do not know the specific basis for the court’s ruling on this issue, the LA Times quoted Michael Lockwood’s lawyer explaining why Lockwood was a good choice: He said that his client was ready, able and willing to protect the twins’ interests and that he has a good, collegial, familial relationship with all of the parties involved. Perhaps more importantly, there is no conflict of interest regarding appointment because the proposed guardian is not a beneficiary of the trust instrument at issue. 

What is the estate planning lesson we can learn from this new development in this case? Avoid conflicts of interest.

When doing estate planning, an important consideration should be any real conflicts of interest of potential conflicts of interest. When you are alive, you are in the best position to know your beneficiaries, their relationship to each other, and try to look down the road to understand what motivations may be in play after you have passed. When you meet with your attorney to do your estate planning, it will likely be helpful for you to talk through any concerns that you might have about conflicts of interest and the possible methods to avert your worries. 

What other estate planning lessons can be learned from this case? The importance of following procedures and keeping all documents up to date. 

Some of the issues that are in dispute in this trust case are the authenticity and validity of the 2016 alleged amendment to Lisa Marie’s trust amendment. Pricilla has alleged that it wasn’t delivered to her during Lisa Marie’s lifetime, that the date was added via PDF, that the document misspells Priscilla’s name, that the signature is on a separate page from the substantive provisions, that the signature looks inconsistent with her usual signature and that the purported 2016 Amendment was neither witnessed nor notarized.

The most important takeaway from this case for anyone hoping to avoid estate planning disputes in the future is the importance of following the procedures required by the will, keeping it updated, being accurate, and fully complying with all of the requirements in the documents.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Firm

Estate planning that is kept up to date, drafted accurately, and performed in compliance with the terms of the estate instrument is vital for avoiding estate planning disputed. For this reason, finding an experienced law firm to assist you is essential in making sure that your estate planning is done properly to avoid disputes after you have passed. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we want to help you create a current and accurate estate plan that will help you achieve your goals. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

It’s a famous phrase that failing to plan is the same as planning to fail, and this anecdote is especially true in the realm of estate planning. The most important step you can take with an estate plan is the first one: getting started, and therefore, the most important estate planning mistake of all would be to do nothing. But what are the other common mistakes people make in estate planning? This article will summarize typical estate planning mistakes to avoid with source material based on.

Failing to prepare for incapacity. 

Many people only think of an estate plan as how to divide their assets after they die, but preparing for incapacity is very important, as you never know whether disease, accident or age may take away your ability to care for yourself. It should identify the people you want to authorize to make important decisions on your behalf with regard to your money, your healthcare, your end of life wishes, etc., and then the estate plan should enable them to do so. 

Not including funeral and burial wishes. 

Don’t assume your family members know your wishes. If you have strong feelings about certain issues, such as cremation vs. burial etc., those wishes need to be communicated in your estate plan. 

Not considering tax implications of transferring property. 

The famous saying that nothing is certain except death and taxes is true, but different estate planning tools have various tax consequences, so it’s important to think through the tax implications when your estate plan is created.

Not naming contingency decision makers. 

The unexpected happens, so you need back-up decision makers in your plan. You and your spouse may perish in an accident together or a child may predecease you. Don’t assume that your family will remain unchanged as your estate plan ages. 

Not keeping track of beneficiary designations. 

It is important and can be somewhat challenging to make sure your estate plan matches the information in all your accounts and assets. Make sure that you keep the information relating to each specific asset matching your intentions. 

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

An excellent way to avoid making estate planning mistakes is to use the services of an experienced estate planning attorney. Here are the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience with estate planning and will help you think through the potential challenges or various scenarios that may arise to create a plan that will accomplish your goals. Contact us at 707-451-4502.

Estate Planning in California: Unequal Inheritances

For some who are creating an estate plan, a fair distribution may not be an equal distribution. Reasons for this may vary. Perhaps one child is already wealthy while another is needy, perhaps someone in the family is involved in the family business, perhaps certain assets might be more meaningful to one than another. This article will summarize some of the considerations to take into account when creating an estate plan with unequal inheritances, with ideas sourced from

Talking to your beneficiaries while you are still alive is key. 

Communication is highly advisable when you have an estate plan with unequal distributions. 

  • Explaining the reasons why you have decided to distribute your estate unequally will go a long way in helping your beneficiaries accept your decisions. 
  • Communication now is more likely to promote family harmony after you are gone.
  • The relationship between risk and reward is a common balancing act in life, so if you explain your assessment of the risks and rewards of each asset to the beneficiaries, it will help then understand the fair approach behind your unequal gift distribution. 

Addressing differences in need. 

There are many strategies for addressing differences in need, and this section will highlight a few approaches. 

  • You may consider involving your beneficiaries in a discussion before you make your decisions on estate planning to get their input as to what they believe is fair. 
  • You may want to pull the wealthy child aside and let him or her know that you will be giving them unequal inheritances, but you hope that they will choose to share it with the more needy siblings. 
  • If you plan on donating to a charity, you may want to prepare your children with a good explanation of why you believe the charity is in more need of the assets than they are. 

Remember that estate plans are not a cure all. 

An estate plan is about wealth transfer, and that is all it can accomplish. 

  • Don’t expect your beneficiaries to change their natures. If you know someone is selfish or hostile or if there is bad blood between family members, you shouldn’t expect that to change just because you are gone. Plan ahead with the personalities you know in mind. 
  • Consider wealth education. If you have substantial assets, you may want to think about what type of wealth education you can provide to your beneficiaries to allow them to effectively utilize the wealth when you are gone. Many estate planning professional will be happy to include your children in discussions about the pros and cons of different estate planning tools, such as trusts, to help them understand and be involved in what will eventually be their future.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning involves many important decisions and involving your family members will likely ensure a smoother transition when you are gone. Here are the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience with estate planning and would be happy to educate or involve your beneficiaries as you see fit. We can help you feel confident, understood and supported as you plan for the future. Contact us at 707-451-4502.

Pros and Cons of a Family Member as a Trustee Part 2

If you are setting up a trust, a key decision is who the right trustee is for your assets and goals. This article is part 2 of a two-part examination about the pros and cons of a family member as trustee and will focus on the advantages of a family member trustee. Each family is different, so this article will review general ideas, but you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney, such as the Law Office of David Knecht, to discuss your specific family, circumstances and estate planning goals. 

Advantages of Family Member Trustee

  • Cost savings.

Professional trustee fees can be expensive if a family member is willing to act as trustee for free. 

  • Family knowledge. 

Having a deep understanding of the family, the personalities, the relationship and the history can be an advantage to a trustee to potentially be able to anticipate problems and foresee challenges to the trust administration. 

  •  Confidence. 

A person doing estate planning may have more confidence in a family member than a professional trustee. Some people feel worried that a professional may not have the empathy for their family or understanding that someone on the inside would have.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Firm

If you are considering setting up a trust with a family member as trustee, you may need advice about the pros and cons of the trustee you want. Regardless of your estate planning objectives, an experienced estate planning firm can help you analyze and evaluate your choices.  At the Law Office of David Knecht, we want to help you achieve your estate planning goals. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

Pros and Cons of a Family Member as a Trustee Part 1

If you are setting up a trust, your choice of who to make the trustee is one of the most important decisions. This article is part 1 of a two-part examination about the pros and cons of a family member as trustee. This will focus on the challenges. The circumstances vary widely for each family, so this article will review general ideas, but you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney, such as the Law Office of David Knecht, to discuss your specific family, circumstances and estate planning goals. This article will summarize information.

Challenges of Family Member Trustee

Fiduciary Duties

The family member who serves as the trustee will have important responsibilities. The trustee is managing money for the benefit of someone else, so the law holds the trustee to a higher standard of conduct than someone who is managing their own assets. A fiduciary duty is the duty to act in the best interest and failure to meet those responsibilities can have consequences. 


Being a trustee can require financial and legal knowledge and expertise. It can involve managing investments, taking charge of business responsibilities, etc. Depending on the particular trust assets involved, the lack of experience of a family member can potentially be a challenge. 

 Potential personal bias. 

Another challenge for a family member trustee can be a potential personal bias. The family member may have a lot of history, perhaps past conflicts, and personal relationships that may impact their ability to be objective and impartial. Even if the family member is completely objective, you may be subjecting that family member to criticism or conflict with other family members who might want a different result. 

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Firm

If you are considering setting up a trust with a family member as trustee, you may need advice about how to ameliorate the challenges described in this article. Regardless of your estate planning objectives, an experienced estate planning firm can help you analyze and evaluate your choices.  At the Law Office of David Knecht, we want to help you achieve your estate planning goals. Contact us at 707-451-4502. 

Inheritance and Preventing Family Conflicts

As reported by, a man recently sparked a storm of debate on Reddit when he inherited a property and refused to honor the tradition of hosting family weddings there. This article will summarize some of the suggestions on how to prevent family conflicts with inherited property from the full article, which can be found here:

A study shows asset transfers are of increasing importance for families. 

  • As per an April 2017 study published in Families, Relationships and Societies, “asset transfers are of increasing importance for families as a way of transmitting advantages over generations…but little is known about how inheritance generates disputes, tensions or dissatisfaction among family members.” 
  • See 

Research indicates a continuum of motivations by gifters. 

  •  A study published in the European Journal of Ageing, indicates that material inheritance constitutes a challenge for families and that the motivation of the gifter can fluctuate on a continuum between unconditional donation (altruism) and conditional donation (strategic, reciprocity). 

The person inheriting property should clearly communicate boundaries. 

  • Bill Gladwell, a communication expert, was quoted in the Newsweek article as advising people who inherit property to clearly communicate their boundaries and expectations to family members up front. 
  • Make it clear that any use of inherited property by family members must now be agreed to and approved by the person who now owns it. 
  • Having an open and honest conversation about concerns is vital. 
  • It is important for the new owner of the inherited property to be firm in their boundaries, but it is also imperative to express respect and understanding for the other family members’ feelings to keep the lines of communication open. 

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Laywer

One aspect of estate planning that is extremely important is thinking ahead to potential family conflicts and creating a plan that will promote the goals of the giver without stirring up disputes in the family. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience helping clients with estate planning and can help you make a plan that is just right for you and your loved ones. Contact us at 707-451-4502.