According to a 2022 survey done by, 1 in 3 Americans who do not have a will or a living trust claim they don’t have enough assets to leave behind. We call that crazy! Now we get it. Estate planning is not something that is top of mind. No one wants to think about dying or a future without them, but the reality is that estate planning is so much more than just preparing for when you’re gone. What about incapacity or special needs? How about qualifying for Medi-Cal or Medicaid and long-term care planning? And getting back to the “after death” part, do you really want your heirs to spend months or even years in court, potentially fighting and wasting the money you left behind? No! Estate planning is for everyone regardless of your assets. Building the right estate plan and staying on top of it helps you avoid costly mistakes, and ultimately, it protects the best interest of you and your loved ones.

We’re thrilled to welcome friend and expert estate planning attorney Kirsten Howe to the show. For more than 20 years, individuals and families from the greater Walnut Creek area have trusted Kirsten and her team at Absolute Trust Counsel with unique individualized estate plans, trust administration, probate, Medi-Cal planning, special needs planning, and other estate-related needs, effectively securing their legacies. Together we will be discussing:

  • The importance of a living trust
  • How to solve disagreements among trustees and beneficiaries
  • How often someone should update their trust
  • Pros and cons of using online tools like Legal Zoom

And more.

Again, this is an important show for everyone, no matter where you are in your estate planning journey, so we hope you will find a quiet spot and start listening. We’ll join you in podcast land!

P.S. Looking to meet with Richard or Angela at our office in Alamo, CA? Want to discuss more of what you heard in this episode? Wondering where the heck you need to get started or what all of this means for your retirement plans? Schedule a free 30-minute session and find the peace of mind you deserve for the rest of your life. You can also reach us by calling 925.736.6410 or sending an email to

“The only clients I will ever allow to do an estate plan without a trust is someone unmarried, never been married, never had children, and they’re leaving everything to charity.”

A Glance at this Episode:

0:00 Introduction

4:02 We all hear about living trusts and their importance in estate planning, but what do they really do? Listen as Kirsten clarifies.

7:05 How does a living trust differ from a will?

7:34 How does a trustor benefit from having a trust during their lifetime?

10:36 Press play now to Kirsten share her insights on how to solve disagreements among trustees and beneficiaries.

13:26 What are the triggers that would cause someone to update their trust?

15:53 Listen in as Kirsten clarifies if you must update your trust every time estate tax laws change.

18:54 Kirsten weighs in the pros and cons of using an online tool like Legal Zoom to do estate planning.

22:08 In estate planning, how can you help clients, so they don’t lose government benefits and maintain their inheritance?

24:33 Start listening now to hear Kirsten’s advice on how best to plan for long-term care and how to qualify for Medi-Cal or Medicaid.

29:07 What is the latest with Prop 19? Kirsten shares what you need to know.

31:54 Q&A: What are a couple of the most common pitfalls people face when estate planning?

34:15 Q&A: How does Kirsten feel about prepaid legal plans through work?

36:00 Listen as Kirsten shares more about her podcast, Absolute Trust Talk, and discusses some of the topics and guests she features on her show.


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How to get in-touch with Kirsten!
Kirsten Howe
Founder and Managing Attorney
Absolute Trust Counsel
Phone: 925.943.2740


Links/Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

“One-size-fits-all” won’t fit you here! The Del Monte Group team understands that everyone’s financial goals are unique. That’s why we always provide customized advice. No matter where you are in life, you can depend on our proven expertise to provide financial planning support for long-term success. Ready to get started? Schedule a meeting with Richard or Angela in our Alamo, CA-based office today or we can meet via Zoom! >> You can select a date and time that works for you via our calendar, call us at 925.736.6410, or send an email to We can’t wait to help you!

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