If you think that estate planning is something that can wait until your more “mature” years, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, many people share this same impression. After all, what is there to plan for if you have no spouse, no children, and only modest assets?


There’s much more to estate planning than merely deciding who gets your assets and other possessions when you die — putting it off until your later years isn’t a sound approach. Change is part and parcel of living, and as we move through life, we experience changes that can thoroughly alter our circumstances and require an entirely different approach to the future.

In the newest episode of A Place of Possibility, Richard and Angela will talk to estate planning attorney Kelly Balamuth, who will weigh in on the life changes that should trigger a thorough review of your existing estate plan. She will also provide expert advice on when you should start the estate planning process in the first place. Hint: it’s earlier in life than you might think.

In her estate planning practice at Lamorinda Legal, Kelly puts an emphasis on helping families enhance their lives in the present while also guiding them toward brighter, more fulfilling futures. Her focus on trusts and estate planning is driven by a strong desire to see her clients reach these goals. Guiding her clients through the often-confusing maze of financial and legal decisions that must be made to create estate plans which best suit their needs is no easy task, but it’s one at which Kelly has proven to be particularly skillful. She’s been named Super Lawyer each year for over a decade and has also been a fixture on the Super Lawyers’ Top 50 Women Attorneys in Northern California list for multiple years.

We’ll be talking about:

  • Why, estate planning is for everyone, including young adults and single people!
  • The important documents that any child should complete once they’ve turned 18 — especially if they’re leaving for college.
  • The various ways that having children can impact your financial planning. You’ll not only want to closely examine who you want your heirs to be but also how you leave your assets to them.
  • Why getting divorced triggers a number of essential adjustments to your estate plan. You don’t have any flexibility when it comes to moving your assets around once you’re in the divorce process, but there are a number of changes you can make that could have a direct bearing on your legal, financial, and medical well-being.

And more!

Few of us actually look forward to starting or reviewing our estate plans — there’s nothing exhilarating about the process, and doing so often serves to remind us we won’t be around forever. But, as you’ll hear from Kelly in this episode, some key life stages warrant a closer look at your preparations to ensure that they still accurately reflect your wishes. And, if you’re still of the opinion that estate planning isn’t necessary until you get married or reach your golden years in life, we’re confident that Kelly will change your mind.

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 Info@APlaceOfPossibility.com.

“Most people think estate planning happens when you get old. As you’re approaching your mortality, that’s when people generally start thinking about estate planning. But truly, it’s something that’s good to start thinking about as soon as you’re an adult. And part of the reason for that is that estate planning isn’t just about what happens when you die.”

We’re proud to present you with our “Know Your Possibilities Guide,” a tool and free resource for you to take notes, review, keep on hand, or even share with your friends and family. So grab your copy, click the play button and follow along. You’re just minutes away from discovering your next Place of Possibility.

A Glance at this Episode:

0:00 Introduction
2:06 Before we get started, here’s some insight on our country’s rapidly approaching debt ceiling deadline, including our recommendations for weathering any jolts in the financial markets that may result from it.

10:34 Please join us in welcoming our special guest, trust attorney Kelly Balamuth to the show! She has been named a super lawyer every year for over a decade – Wow!

12:34 Wondering when you should start your estate plan? You should think about it as soon as you’re an adult!

13:27 Many people feel that an estate plan isn’t necessary when you’re single. But who would make decisions for you if you were incapacitated?

14:38 While what happens to your material possessions in the event of your death might not be a pressing concern, but if you don’t have an estate plan, whoever inherits from you will have to go through an expensive court process.

14:56 When a child reaches the age of 18, their parents’ rights change dramatically. Here’s what Kelly recommends doing to accommodate this change.

17:06 Are you single and have a 401k? Did you know the default beneficiary would be the nearest relative under the law if you don’t name one yourself?

18:01 Getting married brings about a number of new considerations, like who do you want to make legal or medical decisions for you? Listen in as Kelly talks through the most critical estate planning concerns.

19:09 Having a trust is crucial because it says what happens to your stuff when you die, but also if you become incapacitated.

20:32 All too often, well-meaning people create their trusts but neglect the very important step of funding the trust!

21:58 Prenuptial agreements don’t just protect the interests of a wealthy spouse entering a marriage. They’re also important to help ensure children from a first marriage aren’t left out.

23:52 Having children will have a direct impact on your estate plan. Here are some factors to consider.

25:03 In order to discourage potentially self-destructive financial behavior, parents structure their children’s inheritance like this example Kelly shares.

26:13 Kelly puts together a “kids’ protection plan” for her clients, including essential details many parents wouldn’t consider.

27:53 Guardians and trustees assume vastly different, but symbiotic roles. They can be the same person, but you may not want them to be.

28:51 Getting divorced limits your ability to move assets around, but here are some steps to minimize your future ex-spouse’s control over important aspects of your life — financial and otherwise.

31:58 Don’t ever name a minor as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy! Have it paid to a trust instead.

32:37 Entering retirement doesn’t always mean you’ll need to make changes in your estate plan, but you might need to update if there were significant life changes or law changes.

34:19 The death of a spouse triggers the need for a thorough examination of your estate plan. You may have to update beneficiaries if you didn’t list more options.

36:16 It’s fairly common for a trust to afford a surviving spouse quite a bit of latitude, but a marital trust requires an entirely different approach to estate planning.

38:05 There are pending changes to the estate tax exemption limit, but you need to call Kelly if you’re nearing the $13 million limit. Here’s what you need to know.

39:05 If you’re moving to a new state, reviewing your trust may not seem necessary, but it is important because of different state laws.

40:43 Kelly takes an extra step with her clients by videotaping a message post-planning, which helps their legacy and memory live on.


Get in touch with Kelly Balamuth:
Kelly Balamuth
1001 Country Club Dr., Ste. F
Moraga, CA. 94556



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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 Info@APlaceOfPossibility.com. We can’t wait to help you!

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