Celebrity Estate Plans

Hugh Hefner’s Trust Requires his Beneficiaries to Stay Sober.

Hugh Hefner passed away in September 2017, he was 91.  It recently came to light that in his Trust he requires beneficiaries to stay away from any unprescribed drugs.  They also must not become dependent on alcohol. 

We all remember Hugh Hefner as the founder of Playboy Inc.  His magazines are famous, but did you know he was also a big supporter of the civil rights movements. He has quite a legacy.  He leaves behind an empire to his 31-year old widow Crystal Harris and four children between the ages of 65 and 26. Some of those children even work for the company he founded.

Hefner has a clause in his Trust that requires his loved ones to stay sober or risk loosing out on the money he left for them.  He did provide a chance to get back on good terms.  If a beneficiary stays sober for one full year they have the opportunity to reclaim their portion of the family’s fortune. But it does allow for the Trustee to drug test beneficiaries at any time if they believe they are violating the agreement. 

Putting in these sorts of clauses was actually quite common in the 1980s during the drug epidemic that Reagan fought as president.  It died off a little as time wore on.  It looks like Mr. Hefner knows what happens at his infamous Playboy parties and wants to make sure his beneficiaries are staying clean.

If you think you need this in your trust, it is easy to include.  Make sure your estate plan fits your desires and protects your family the way you want to.  Give our office a call if you need to up date your plans or need to get a start on your estate plans 818. 887.9401.

Changing Your Communication Strategy for Older Adults

Many of our clients are older adults.  They have lived long lives and are now retired.  As we grow in life our method of communication changes.  The way a mother communicates with her young child is very different then the way a father communicates with his teenage son.  Those methods of communication are different then a parent talking to an adult child about marriage or having children.   Effective communicators know that they need to change their method in order to communicate effectively with different audiences.   Since our industry focuses on older adults we are going to discuss communication methods with elderly loved ones.

Communication needs change as we grow up.  Young children need to be spoken to differently then adults.  Communication needs for elderly adults changes over time as well.  Sometimes we don’t even notice that we must begin changing our way of communicating with elderly loved ones.  The reasons we need to change is because our elderly loved ones now suffer from memory loss, slower comprehension time, psychological and aging factors.   They may also suffer from medical conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia.  These issues can quickly create communication barriers between an adult child and their elder parent.   An adult may continue to communicate with their aging parent the same way they used to without realizing the need for change.

Communicating with an elder loved one can be frustrating if you do not change your strategy.  They may feel as though you are not listening to them, or talking to them like they were a child.  This is condescending and can escalate to a person shouting in order to get their message across.  When tempers flare this could potentially lead to elder abuse depending on what happens.  On the opposite end, communication can completely stop as the divide increases.

There are some ways to avoid these situations.  Here are some useful tips to use when communicating with an elderly loved one.

  • Lower background noise, or move to a quieter location. Distractions can make communication harder.
  • Ease into conversations.  Talk about casual topics before more serious ones, think of it as a “warm up period.”
  • Discuss topics that are familiar. This way the elder loved one can participate and become engaged.
  • Stay focused. Avoid jumping around from topic to topic.  It can be confusing.
  • Avoid being verbose.  Use short sentences and ask short questions.
  • Allow time to respond and have patience when they reminisce.
  • Offer choices rather then opened questions when decisions need to be made.
  • Listen actively.  If something is unclear ask for clarification.

Communicating with an elderly loved one does not need be frustrating. These tips can help and extra patience goes a long way.  If you have any questions or want to talk to an attorney give our office a call 818.887.9401.

Winner Daily News Reader’s Choice Award

WE WON AGAIN!! Thanks to everyone who voted!

We are so excited to announce we have won another Daily News Reader’s Choice Award!

We are so proud to have won for “Best Living Trust.”
We couldn’t do this without all of our wonderful clients!!

This is our 8th year winning this great honor. Please contact us if you or a loved one needs help with their estate plan. If you need one, we can help you create one. If you have an estate plan and it needs updating, please let us know. We can help. 818.887.9401.

Information Regarding the IRS Stimulus Checks

We at Hornstein Law Offices want to help our clients, friends, and family in this stressful and very uncertain time. We understand some people will be getting their stimulus checks from the government via direct deposit. Those of you who have had direct deposit for your tax refunds in the past are already set up. But for those of you who are not set up for direct deposit but want to be, the IRS has released a website you can visit and safely enter your information.


Just a little information regarding these check for those who may have forgotten or were unclear.

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Changed Due Dates and Working Remotely

CHANGED DATES FOR TAX RETURNS AND PAYMENTS

“CORRECTED” CHANGED DATES FOR TAX RETURNS AND PAYMENTS

Please note this correction to a prior announcement regarding changed dates for tax returns and payments.  Tax filings, extensions, 2019 tax payments, and first quarter 2020 estimated tax payments that had been due on April 15, have all been delayed to July 15 for both federal and California.  While California changed to July 15 the due dates for both the first and second quarter estimated tax payments for 2020, the IRS changed the date to July 15 only for the first quarter estimated payment for 2020.  The 2020 federal second quarter estimated payment remains due on June 15.  Indeed, for 2020 federal estimated tax payments, the 2nd quarter payment (due June 15) is now due before the 1st quarter payment (due July 15)! 

The link to the California due dates can be found here: https://www.ftb.ca.gov/about-ftb/newsroom/news-releases/2020-3-state-postpones-tax-deadlines-until-july-15-due-to-the-covid-19-pandemic.html

The link to the federal due dates can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/faqs/estimated-tax/individuals/individuals-2

To confirm, the changed date to July 15 applies to

1) 2019 federal and California tax return filing

2) 2019 federal and California extension filing

3) payment of 2019 federal and California taxes

4) estimated payments for 2020 taxes for the first quarter only for federal, and for the first and second quarters for California.  

Note again that the federal due date for the second quarter estimated payment for 2020 taxes remains June 15. 

Tax filings, extensions, and payments that had been due on April 15, and even estimated payments that had been due on April 15 or June 15 have all been delayed to July 15 for both fed and Cal.  

To confirm, the changed date to July 15 applies to 1) tax return filing, 2) extension filing, 3) payment of 2019 taxes, and also 4) estimated payments for 2020 taxes.  For all those filings and payments to the IRS or the Franchise Tax Board that were due April 15 and June 15, they have all been extended to July 15.  

I have been asked if the extension also applies to payroll deposits to the Employment Development (EDD), and sales tax filings and payments to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA).  The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced that employers statewide directly affected by COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for an extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. ( Emergency and Disaster Assistance for Employers, Statewide – March 2020, California Employment Development Department, 03/01/2020 .)

As for the CDTFA, the CDTFA has posted on its website an alert in which it advises that it has been able to make it easier for such taxpayers and feepayers to request relief from the imposition of interest and penalties. They can go through the CDTFA’s normal online process for requesting relief, they can send a letter (a link to the CDTFA’s office locations and addresses is provided), or they can call the CDTFA’s call center at 1 (800) 400-7115. ( Alert, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, 03/12/2020 .)

Things have been changing rapidly, so if there is anything that may apply to you, please check the websites of the various governmental agencies or contact our office. 

OFFICE IS WORKING REMOTELY

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, most of my office is working remotely.  We are taking precautions to keep our clients and our office safe during this unusual time.  My office has been handling office meetings via phone and Zoom video conference.  We are able to accommodate clients with urgent matters who must come to our office by having our clients in a separate conference room that is isolated from the rest of the office.  My office can communicate with our clients through the window to the conference room and via video conference from another office at our location.  The entrance to my office is Suite 203.  The entrance to the separate room is Suite 205.  The conference room has a separate entrance to accommodate urgent meetings that cannot be handled remotely.  The room, including door handles, chairs, etc… are cleaned after a clients leave the room. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.  If our office phone number is not answered, the call will be forwarded to another number that can be answered remotely.  If the forwarded call is not answered, please leave a message and your call will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member to return your call. 

Dirty Tax Scams

With tax season come tax scams.  Lets face it.  Scam artists are after your tax refunds and they are trying to get to your money before you do.
Here are the top tax scams we have heard of over the last couple years.
Phone scams – Criminals are targeting specific groups of people, for example, retirees.  The criminals call with threats of police arrests or license revocation in order to strong-arm many elderly people into “paying their taxes.”   The IRS does not call about taxes owed without first sending you a bill in the mail.  Be wary of phone calls demanding payment for taxes.

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TIPS FOR HIRING A TAX PREPARER

If you are looking for a professional to help you prepare your taxes, let us give you some suggestions on what to look for. There are hundreds of tax preparers out there, some make grandiose promises of large tax returns and others do not follow the rules set by the IRS. These mistakes could potentially make filing your taxes incredibly difficult and expensive. Let us help you avoid problems.
We wanted to give you some tips on finding and hiring a tax professional.
It is important to check out tax preparers carefully before hiring one. Do not fall for promises of huge refunds. It really becomes a ‘consumer, beware’ world.

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Tax Breaks for Charitable Giving

Charity fund-raising reached a peak during the holiday season.  Friends and family made donations in your name, and charities appealed for help at every corner and in every day’s mail. We wanted to give you some advice to understand the complex IRS rules.  With tax season in full swing, many charitable contributions are deductible and we want to make sure you know about them.

 

  1. Beat The Clock

Donations must be made before Dec. 31st.  If you mail a check make sure you mail it a few days early so the Postal Service has time to postmark the envelope.  A donation made by credit card is deductible in the year the charge is incurred even though you may not pay the bill until the following year.

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Stress Management

Halloween is over and the holiday season is here. Family will be visiting, preparing decadent holiday meals will begin and stressful holiday shopping will come along.  Let us help ease some of the stress that you will no doubt experience. You may not be able to avoid the stress that comes with the holiday season, but you should be better prepared to control it and hopefully ease a little of it.

We all know stress is a part of life.  You cannot avoid it.  But you can try to avoid the situations that cause the stress, and you can learn how to control the stress and your response to it.

The first step is to know your own coping strategies.  What are productive ways that you cope with a stressful situation?  Let’s highlight those coping strategies and make the best of them.  A ‘Stress Journal’ may help.  You can record stressful events, your initial response to the event and stress, and how you coped with the situation.  Once you know what is causing your stress, try making changes in your life that will help you avoid stressful situations.  Here are a few ideas that may help.

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