Last Minute Tax Tips


For last-minute filers, Tax Day is creeping up fast. With less than a week away, many scramble to gather all their paperwork and get to the post office or file online before this year’s deadline of April 17. If you’re one of those people, slow down and review these tax tips to make sure you get your taxes filed correctly.

If you don’t have the necessary documentation or haven’t had time to visit with a tax professional, you may wish to file an extension. To do so, you must file Form 4868. This will give you until October 15 to file your taxes. If you owe taxes, submit your payment when you file for an extension to avoid penalties.

If you’re pushing to meet the deadline, make sure you aim for accuracy to avoid other issues. Be sure to include income from all sources when you file, including wages, interest and capital gains. Check the spelling of the names and social security numbers for yourself, your spouse if filing jointly and any dependents. If you’re planning to receive your refund via direct deposit, double check bank account numbers. Also, don’t overlook signing and dating your return before sending it off. This will prevent errors and omissions that may delay your actual filing date or refund payout.

There are some opportunities for deductions and credits that you should know about before you file. For example, if you qualify, you can receive a $1,000 maximum tax credit for each child 17 and under, and potentially for elderly parents that you financially care for. If you are a business owner or self-employed, you can deduct the cost of your insurance premiums as long as these premiums aren’t already covered under an employer-sponsored plan. Also your home office, mortgage interest and mortgage insurance premiums may be deducted, saving you big. Other potential benefits include IRA contributions made up to April 17, along with deductions you can take for job hunting expenses, relocation expenses if you moved over 50 miles away for a new job, and self-employment expenses.

If you still owe significant taxes after all of your deductions, you can ask to arrange to pay in installments. This arrangement will allow you to make payments over the course of six years. Others have opted to pay their taxes using a credit card, especially if the card has reward benefits. If you owe less than $50,000, you can set up the arrangement to pay online. The setup fee is reduced to only $31 if you agree to make debits directly from your bank account, making automated payments the best bet.

There are a lot of do’s and don’ts to consider when you’re filing and it can be worrisome if you’re rushing to do so on time. While you can use online filing tools, it’s wise to try to work with a tax expert so that you don’t overlook deductions and tax credits or fail to file appropriate forms. This is especially true since it may be the last time you’re able to qualify for a few of these deductions and credits with the new 2018 tax laws coming into effect.

Make some time to prep and file your taxes before it’s too late. You’ll be relieved when you do!

Can I claim my child support as a deduction?


child support as tax deductionAs the time advances toward Tax Day, one of the first questions divorced parents ask is, “Can I claim my child support as a deduction?” Afterall, after spending considerable amounts for the care of children, there has to be some way to get a tax break. Unfortunately, that break won’t come through a deduction of child support. Why?

The IRS does not consider child support to be tax deductible. Child support also is not taxable income and does not have a line item under itemized expenses. However, alimony or spousal support is considered taxable income and expenses related to the collection of those payments are tax deductible.

For the person paying child support and alimony, the IRS does allow tax deduction to be taken for those whose divorce decree wraps those two payments up into “family support” or for those who remit the child support as alimony. The recipient, however, must report this as taxable income. As a word of caution, if alimony is scheduled to end within six months of the child’s 18th or 21st birth date, the IRS may suspect the alimony is disguised child support.

All is not lost. While child support is not taxable income or deductible, being able to claim a child as a dependant does impact tax liability. Only one parent can take the dependency exemption and file as “head of household”. A divorce decree or IRS determination will establish who can take this exemption and get the subsequent benefits.

There are other expenses related to the care of children that do also allow for a tax break. Custodial parents may be able to take child care credits. For parents who have a dependent under the age of 17 and incur work-related expenses, the tax credit can apply to a portion of these costs. Noncustodial parents have the benefit of deducting certain child care and medical fees for minor children. Although the Tuition and Fees deduction has been eliminated for older children, parents of undergraduate students can take the American Opportunity Credit for up to $2,500 for each eligible child.

There are negative tax implications if a person does not pay their child support. If a person fails to pay child support, they may lose their tax refund. The Bureau of Fiscal Services can withhold a portion or all of a tax refund in an effort to collect delinquent child support payments. This is done exclusively under the Treasury Offset Program and if this is to occur, the BFS will provide details on the original refund amount, the amount withheld and information about the agency collecting the payment. If a couple filed jointly but were impacted by BFS action to recover unpaid child support, they may file Form 8379 to request a portion of the withheld payment back from the IRS.

Whereas child support is not able to be claimed as a deduction, there are ways to get tax credits or benefits to offset the costs of caring for dependent children. Whether through a family support agreement, dependent exemptions, or claiming deductions and tax credits on child care, education or medical expenses, divorced parents can benefit from available provisions to tax relief.

To speak with our attorneys, who specialize in both tax and divorce, please call our Modesto office at (209) 492-9335.

The Tax Benefits of Alimony


Tax time is filled with W-2’s, receipts, and calculators, and with taxpayers working feverishly to report income, pay required taxes, and claim their maximum deductions by the deadline. This time of the year is improved if there are tax breaks or a large refund on the way. For those who went through a divorce in the previous tax year, there are some things that can be added as deductions and beneficial to both spouses. Let’s dig into alimony and see how this affects divorced ones at tax time.

For the payee

Although divorce carries fees for court filings, attorneys or other counsel, those typically are not tax deductible. However, under some circumstances, a spouse can deduct fees associated with the collection of alimony fees. The person seeking alimony payments–either wives or husbands–can deduct fees that were incurred during the process of trying to obtain payments from their spouse. These fees will be filed on tax Form 1040 Schedule A as a “Miscellaneous Deduction”.

Alimony payments are considered taxable “earned income” for the payee. This comes with some restrictions. For example, the itemized deductions has to be at least two percent of the adjusted gross income for the spouse that is seeking alimony payments from their ex. If they do not itemize deductions or the deductions do not meet the required percentage, the spouse is unable to take claim it.

The kinds of fees that are able to be deducted include those for tax advice, the costs for legal services to receive spousal support, and fees for securing interests in a retirement plan. Also, since some counseling is not considered deductible, if an attorney provides these non-deductible services, these must be billed separately from other services that are deductible. Additionally, if alimony payments are in the first year or two after the divorce, these may be considered a non-deductible property settlement.

For the payer

The person paying alimony may claim it as an “above-the-line” tax deduction if they meet IRS eligibility. Some prefer this over paying property settlements because of its tax benefits. The payments must be made under a legal separation agreement or divorce decree, not voluntary or made by persons living in the same household. The payments are not considered child support, the payments must be made by cash, check or money order and these payments cease after the payers death. These payments should be reported on Line31a of the payers Form 1040 along with their spouse’s social security number so as to not have this deduction cancelled and penalized.

Some have paid child support payments as alimony in order to save on taxes. While this is allowable by the IRS, if it resembles child support, it may not be entirely deductible. Especially if alimony is scheduled to end by within six months of the children’s 18th or 21st birthday will payments be suspicious and disguised child support. The IRS also becomes suspicious if alimony payments are below the threshold of excess alimony within the first two to three years of the divorce.

Alimony payments have benefits both to the one receiving spousal support and the one paying it. To get tax deductible help with alimony and tax planning, contact our offices.

Who Can Claim Child Tax Exemption Between Divorced Parents?


During tax season, every exemption and deduction matters. What should divorced parents know that will help them on their taxes?

Questions arise on who will carry children on their taxes as dependants and claim the child tax exemption. First, the IRS establishes who dependants actually are. These include sons, daughters, step- or foster- children, grandchildren or other extended relatives. Dependants must also be under 19 or 24 and a full-time student and younger than the person claiming them. Permanently disabled children are also considered dependants regardless of age. They must also been living in the home and not paying more than 50 percent of their own support.

The IRS determines that the parent who has the child more than half of the year is the custodial parent and able to claim the child as a dependent and file as head of household. This parent also is entitled to earned income credit and tax credits for the child.

Since only one parent can claim a child as a dependant and receive tax benefits, parents with equal custody may alternate who claims the child as a dependant. In cases where there are an equal number of children, the parents may claim an equal number of children as dependant on each of their taxes so that both receive tax benefits. This agreement should be documented in the divorce decree or other written agreement. If an agreement isn’t in place among parents with 50-50 custody, the IRS will do a “tie breaker”, allowing the custodial parent with a higher adjusted gross income to claim the child as a dependent.

California Child Tax Exemption

On a state level, however, the custodial parent is often ordered to give the exemption to the noncustodial parent. If a noncustodial parent is allowed to claim the exemption, the custodial parent must sign Form 8332 (Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parent) and this form must filed along with the taxes of the noncustodial parent. Also, if exemptions are an issue, it is advisable to file earlier in the year so that the other parent must prove their right to the exemption if they attempt to claim it.

Like head of household status, child care credits can only be granted to the custodial parent. If the custodial parent has a qualifying minor and incurs work-related expenses, they are able to claim this credit for a portion of those costs. On the other hand, if a noncustodial parent covers medical expenses of their children, they are able to claim deductions on those. They may also be able to deduct other child care related expenses.

The child tax credit is also based on income. The threshold is $55,000 for married couples filing separately, $75,000 for single filing as the head of household and $100,000 for married couples filing jointly. For every $1,000 of income over the threshold, child income credits are reduced by $50.

The other major question is whether child support can be claimed as a deduction. The short answer is no. There are other deductions that can be claimed as noted earlier. Are there other ways around this? To get more information, contact our offices for help.

What Filing Status Should I Use When Filing My Taxes


Divorce comes with huge adjustments. Taxes are anxiety-producing for most people, but those who are going through or who have already divorced have additional concerns. A tax attorney is going to be best at helping you navigate the filing status of your taxes. Still, here are some basics to keep in mind.

Your filing status will be determined by the status of your marriage on December 31 of the tax year. You will need to consider whether you are legally separated or are divorced. If you are divorced at the end of the tax year, you have the option of filing as “single”. You also may file as “head of household” if you are the custodial parent of your children or other qualifying dependent. You may also choose these filing statuses if you have a legally binding separation agreement and have been living away from your spouse for more than half of the tax year.

If you have a qualifying child or someone who you can claim as a dependent, a “head of household” filing might be best. This filing status has several benefits including having a lower effective tax rate than someone filing as single. It allows you to claim the standard deduction and if you are married but separated, the head of household status serves as a protection against joint tax liability.

If you are still legally married and living together on December 31, you can choose to file as “married filing jointly”. This is favorable if you believe your spouse will play fair. In order to qualify for filing as “married filing jointly”, you must still be legally married. From a federal standpoint, married means a legal union regardless of the state where you and your spouse reside. However, the state determines the status of your marriage.

Filing jointly has the benefit of the lowest effective tax rate, while filing separately limits potential tax benefits. If you qualify, it may be advisable to file jointly to take advantage of available tax benefits while you still have the opportunity. If you file jointly, both you and your spouse are responsible for what goes on the forms and both are responsible in the case of an audit.

The downfall of filing jointly is that you will not be able to deduct any legal fees for alimony that are incurred during divorce proceedings. Additionally, unlike the head of household status, you no longer have protection against joint tax liability, which is problematic if your spouse makes errors or emissions on their return.

If filing separately, each spouse must itemize deductions—one can’t file deductions while the other hasn’t. Since some aren’t able to agree on whether to file a joint return, you may choose to file separately earlier in the year then elect to file jointly at a later time.

With changing tax code and the complications of how divorce affects taxes, be careful in how you file. Do your research and work with a tax attorney and other tax professional to make sure you avoid mistakes. If you need support with understanding the tax implications of divorce, call our office at (209) 492-9335.

What Should Be Included In Your Divorce Settlement?


One of the most daunting parts of a divorce proceeding is the dividing of marital property. Since marriage spans across the couples entire lives, it may be hard to think about each thing that must be included in a divorce settlement. The simplest way to approach a divorce decree is to consider everything that was affected during your union and the considerations that would arise if the marriage remained intact. These include property, businesses, children, pets, taxes, household expenses, debts and other typical financial concerns of a family. Now, with the two of you going your separate ways, a settlement will outline how to legally allocate property and the responsibilities you had as a couple.

Here are some minimal items you should include in your divorce settlement:

Division of property. Your marital home and all expenses surrounding it must be included in the settlement. Who will need to move from the home? Who will be paying the mortgage, taxes and making sure these are submitted to the right parties on time? Will one spouse need to be bought out? How much is each entitled to if the home is sold? Clarity around these will prevent problems later.

Custody and the care of children. When it comes to custody of children, the divorce settlement should outline who has physical and legal custody. If there are parental visits, when and where will these be? Who gets to claim the children on their taxes? Who will carry children on their insurance or be responsible for covering expenses arising from health care, extracurricular activities, childcare or college. If there are no children, care of pets should be approached in a similar way.

Alimony. If a spouse will not be able to care for their needs beyond divorce, alimony will need to be considered. This provision should have clear terms including what will be paid, when and for how long. Alimony provisions will change as dependent children leave the home and if the spouse remarries. If a party is ordered to pay spousal or child support, they should also carry life insurance to ensure their obligations are still met in case of their untimely death.

Debts. If you and your spouse have joint debt, this needs to be included in the settlement. In order to protect each ones respective credit, separate the accounts and outline what each party is responsible for paying. As with the division of real property, debts and other expenses surrounding cars and other assets should be divided.

Business, investments, and pensions. Each of these should be considered alongside marital property and must be outlined in a divorce decree. Actuaries and chartered business valuators should be consulted to make sure these assets and the management of them are distributed fairly.

Although it is possible to modify a divorce settlement, consult with friends, family and your family attorney to make sure that nothing is overlooked and that you and any dependents get everything to which you are rightfully entitled. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact our offices.

The Law Office of Thomas Hogan, Stanislaus County divorce attorney, is here to help you with the divorce process. Feel free to contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse or legal separation. Thomas P. Hogan is a Family Law Specialist in Stanislaus County, don’t settle for anyone else when determining your rights. Call (209) 492-9335.

How To Divorce An Abusive Spouse and Protect Yourself In The Process


divorce an abuser, call our Stanislaus county divorce lawyerThere is hardly anything more difficult than trying to leave an abusive spouse. Due to the danger involved in domestic violence and divorce, care is taken here to share only the basic steps on preparing to dissolve a marriage to an abuser. Circumstances are vastly different for each individual, but the more information you have can help you to face this challenge more courageously while protecting you and your children.

Before you file for divorce, start to document the abuse. If the abuse occurred in the past, take note of dates or seasons, circumstances, frequency and details surrounding the events. Obtain copies of police reports if possible, and if the abuse is ongoing, plan to contact the police to protect you and your children. This could result in your spouse being arrested and may be helpful so you have a report of your spouse’s behavior. Your records and police reports will be vital moving forward.

To prevent further harm, you may seek to get a temporary or permanent order of protection or domestic violence restraining order. Each state an order has different provisions, or validity, though emergency protections may be granted if the police are called during an incident. The process for filing involves completing necessary paperwork, but a judge must decide whether to grant such protection. The details surrounding why you wish to have a restraining order should be specific and detail which actions you wish to stop, including those beyond physical assault as in the case of stalking, harassing phone calls, and threats again you, neighbors or family members.

Many times an abusive person will take advantage of financial dependence to control their spouse. If you rely on your abusive spouse’s income to support you and your children, take stock of marketable skills and the job market to see what you can do to provide for your household without spousal support. While it may take time, seek to become self-sustaining as soon as possible so money isn’t a way the spouse can maintain control over you. Once you formally file for divorce, you may also seek to obtain child support since the financial obligations for the care of children does not cease just because the spouse was an abuser.

Seek out a family law attorney to begin legally dealing with the domestic abuse and uncoupling.

Do not hide abuse from your lawyer, especially if children are involved. According to an American Bar Association handout, the abusive parent seeks primary custody of children more than a nonviolent one and win 70% of the time. This is done as a means to continue their control. Your lawyer will help you navigate this challenging time and aim to protect your best interests.

Divorcing an abusive spouse can be draining, maddening even, so having support will keep you from feeling more isolated. Work with a therapist who specializes in trauma so that you can unpack difficult emotions you may feel including shame and grief over the loss of the family life you truly desired. It is also practical to have witnesses who can validate abuse claims when seeking to protect yourself and your children. Beyond emotional support, find healthy outlets to cope including exercise which may help to restore a stripped self-esteem.

Seek out resources for victims of domestic violence so that you can prepare yourself for the fight ahead. It takes courage to leave your abuser and file for divorce, so do what is within your power to protect yourself and your children. When you’re ready to move forward, be sure to contact our offices so we can support you in this process.

The Law Office of Thomas Hogan, Stanislaus County divorce attorney, is here to help. Feel free to contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse or legal separation. Thomas P. Hogan is a Family Law Specialist in Stanislaus County, don’t settle for anyone else when determining your rights. Call (209) 492-9335.

5 Tips For Men Who Are Going Through Divorce


5 Tips For Men Who Are Going Through Divorce

Conversations about divorce have primarily focused on the concerns of a female spouse. On the other side of the equation are men who face divorce and the challenges they face after a divorce action. The dissolution of a marriage is hard for both parties, even if men are thought to be able to tough it out, party through it, and move on with newfound bachelor freedom. That’s far from the case for many men and so it’s wise to discuss some helpful tips to help guys deal with the blow of a failed union.

Here are five tips to help men who are going through a divorce:

Protect your financial interests. With any divorce proceeding, documentation is vital. Obtain copies of bank and credit card statements, take pictures or videos of personal property, and get a hold of tax records. This will be helpful when divvying up property.

Now is the time to plan for moving forward without your spouse. Separate shared bank accounts, and open your own. Remove your significant other from shared credit cards and any insurance payout designations. Start a budget for your new life, accounting for housing, alimony, child support and legal fees.

Take responsibility. Rather than blaming your spouse, take responsibility for what you may have contributed to the split. Whether it’s failed communication, infidelity, fiduciary abuse or another factor, accept what was done to cause or exacerbate a troublesome union. Be balanced in this, not allowing guilt or regret to consume you or keep you from accepting that the relationship is over.

Be encouraged that taking responsibility allows for control at a time in your life when things seem unsteady and confusing. You get to choose what you need to do to heal and you exclusively have the role of making sure you move forward successfully.

Take care of yourself. If you’ve gotten used to someone else cooking, ironing, or otherwise making life easier for you, now’s the time to adjust to having to care for these things yourself. Learn to make meals and care for household chores, getting into a new habit of household management. This will keep costs down and support your self-sufficiency.

Along with daily tasks, make sure to take care of your physical and emotional health. Adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and learning to practice mindfulness can refresh you and prevent depression from consuming you. Staying on top of personal grooming not only will help you look good, but you will feel more confident. Talking to a therapist is helpful too, as your lawyer or spouse are not dumping grounds for your troublesome emotions. Add in time for friends and family, asking for–and accepting–company, help, and any other support.

Keep a handle on communication. All communication with your spouse should be kept as peaceful as possible, as difficult as it might be. Speak to your significant other using facts, rather than feelings and avoid resorting to intentionally hurtful terms and assault at all cost. Stay in contact with your children, staying in the home if possible, until the divorce is final to protect your interest regarding custody. Do not speak ill of your spouse to your children, family members or on social media, creating ammunition that can be used against you. If you need an outlet, consider journaling or speaking to your therapist or confidential friend.

Mind your impulses. Regardless of how restless you feel, hold on just a bit. Give yourself time to process what’s going on and to adjust. Refrain from spending impulsively, living wildly or promiscuously and otherwise coping by rushing from one high to the next. Where possible, don’t make more major, life changing decisions like quitting your job, moving across country, or making large purchases which could be largely fueled by emotion and detrimental to you in the divorce proceedings and custodial battles.

Let things run their course, finding whatever peace you can during this time. Use this opportunity to become grounded and secure in your new circumstance. Most importantly, use discernment as you navigate this huge shift in your life. If you are facing a divorce, give us a call. Our divorce attorneys at the Thomas Hogan Law Office can assist you.

How Does Divorce Affect Children?


One of the unfortunate consequences of a divorce is the affect it has on the children. To avoid this issue, some couples aim to remain married to keep things under wraps and to help children feel secure. Is that the best way to do things? Are divorces so catastrophic to children that getting out of a bad marriage is unthinkable?

How divorce will affect your children depends on several factors. The rockiness of the marriage, the parental relationship, the age of the children, and the post-divorce support of the children can determine how the young ones fare. Yet, there will always be natural grief as would happen with any loss or unfamiliarity. When faced with divorce, here are some things to keep in mind with your children.

When children learn that their parents are divorcing, they may experience a real sense of shock. However, psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington and her graduate student, Anne Mitchell Elmore, of the University of Virginia observed that immediately after their parents’ divorce, young ones experience negative effects like anxiety, anger and disbelief. By the end of the second year, those reactions diminish. Unfortunately, a small number of kids experience these distressing feelings beyond that time frame and into adulthood.

Divorce can introduce a drastic shift in young ones lives. If both parents lived in the home, the children can feel torn and disrupted by visitation arrangements. A change in household income may present a change in the quality of life and quality time with the child if the resident parent must take on extra work. Both parents can reassure the young one by being attentive to their needs and implementing some routines that guarantee stability.

Since high levels of parental conflict can adversely affect a child’s adjustment to divorce, it would be advisable to not speak ill of the other parent, use the children as a bargaining chip or otherwise expose children to discord. If the custodial parent is having a hard time dealing with the divorce, it can make it harder for the child to move forward so the more emotionally stable parent may need to have custody. Enrolling the support of teachers, family, and where possible, a healthy coparent can make all the difference.

It’s important to note that little ones can fantasize and wish for their parents to be back together. Efforts should be made to avoid giving the child false hope so they can adjust to their new reality. Be resolute in your decision with your ex and don’t flip flop, still allowing them to come by and be affectionate. Also, if there are family dinners, don’t invite the non-custodial parent over giving the impression that things are as they were before the uncoupling. It is best to approach things in an amicable, yet strictly business manner.

Following divorce, all efforts should be made to take care of the emotional and physical well-being of your children. They are incredibly resilient and can enjoy relatively stable lives if one or both parents make sure of it. By spending time with them, reassuring them of your love, implementing structured routines, and making sure their physical needs are met, your children can thrive in spite of divorce.

Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, Probate


Estate planning is not just for the aged. If you have assets and property, you should give serious consideration to estate planning. Life is uncertain. If you die without an estate planning tool such as a will or a trust in place, your assets will be distributed according to the intestacy laws. Talk to a Modesto estate planning attorney from the Thomas Hogan Law Office to know how you can determine how your property must be distributed or used after your death. The intestacy laws are rather rigid, generally speaking. This was true in the early nineteenth century, and it is still true today. The statutes lay down rules about the devolution of property; and these rules are concrete, specific, and in the normal case inflexible.


Most Americans who are middle-aged and older and most people with a substantial amount of property have a will, so devise of property according to the terms of a will is the most common means of transmission of property at death. The basic form of the will must express the intent to dispose of property in writing, signed by the testator, and attested by witnesses, and the courts are pretty strict about only honoring wills that comply with the requirements. The requirement of a written will establishes a permanent record for the court to consider and brings home the seriousness of the endeavor. So far videotapes and audiotapes have not been accepted as substitutes for writing. A lawyer sometimes will videotape the execution of a will to show that the testator appeared to know what he or she was doing, but the writing, not the videotape, is the actual will. The signature requirement demonstrates seriousness, and it also shows completeness.  The law assumes that if someone is merely making notes about the disposition of property, or doing a draft of a will, the document will not be signed; only a final, complete version of a document is usually signed, so the signature shows that the testator has fully and finally expressed his or her wishes. The requirement of witnesses serves similar functions. If you want to prepare a valid will, contact our office to speak with an estate planning attorney in the Modesto area.


The need to distribute your property while at the same time avoiding court costs is taking form as one of the major financial problems that you must resolve before your death. Upon your death you want your estate to go to chosen survivors that you desire. As for court costs, avoid the need for a probate court to distribute your estate. Proceedings of a probate court can be expensive. Probate courts distribute legacies, devises of real property, and residuary property to the spouse, descendants, and charities through an attested will made by the deceased in testamentary capacity. The trust, a type of will substitute, holds great promise as the solution to these problems. Trusts avoid probate court to transfer title of ownership. Trusts avoid court costs and delays. Trusts enable you to control your property without legally owning it. In establishing a trust the trustor divides the property into legal and beneficial ownerships. The property transferred into a trust is called by a special term; it is called the corpus of the trust. Legal ownership is held by the trustee and beneficial ownership is held by the beneficiary. The trustee holds the legal title and the beneficiary uses the property. The trust merely divides the legal ownership from the beneficial ownership. The trustor can change the trust with provisions of a revocable living trust. Property is distributed according to the wishes of the trustor. The trustee, such as the trustor’s bank, can transfer a deceased trustor’s farm, part of the trust’s property, to new beneficiaries. The trustor as the former beneficiary would have had the rights to all benefits of the property, such as income, and the right to use the property, such as live on the farm. The trustee transfers the beneficiary rights to the farm to the new beneficiaries, such as the deceased trustor’s spouse and the deceased trustor’s children.


The formation of a trust is a perfectly legal method of avoiding probate and the related expenses. You can create a separate trust for the benefit of each of your heirs. You can transfer the asset you want that legal heir to have after your death to the trust you created for the benefit of that legal heir. An asset transferred to a trust is no longer the asset of the transferee and will not be subject to probate on the death of the transferee. You can also avoid probate by having multiple wills. In your primary will, you should include assets that require probate while your secondary wills should include assets that need not go through probate. In such cases, only the primary will is subject to probate. Contact the Thomas Hogan Law Office for advice on how to legally avoid probate.

Consult with Us:

Life is full of uncertainties that is why it is important to always plan ahead. We are here to help you plan out your will, your trusts and estate to make sure that the future of the ones you leave behind are secure. To speak with an estate planning expert from the Thomas Hogan Law Office, call our Modesto office at (209) 492-9335.