Reliable Estate Planning Advice from an Expert

estate planning monterey private wealth

Kyle A. Krasa grew up on the Monterey Peninsula and attended school in Pacific Grove. His mother was an elementary school teacher and his Dad a school principal. After four years of undergraduate work at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, Kyle had had enough cold winters. He returned to California and earned a law degree from University of California at Davis School of Law. His passion is estate planning, and he not only started to practice law in that field, but he went the extra mile and passed the California Bar requirements to be one of only 21 bar-certified estate planning specialists in Monterey County.

Kyle apparently inherited the passion to teach from his parents, because he has a blog full of worthwhile and easy to understand lessons on estate planning. Particularly noteworthy is his new video library covering basic legal principals, which is what I am focusing this column on today.  You can find the videos at, and here - in Kyle’s own words - is what you can learn.

The first video describes the most common estate planning play, the Revocable Living Trust.  The video includes explanations of the parties involved in a Revocable Living Trust such as the Grantor, the Trustee, and the Beneficiary, how the three parties interact with each other, and how the parties and their roles can change over time due to specified circumstances.  The video also explains how the Revocable Living Trust can help your family avoid the unnecessary expense and delay of a conservatorship in the event of incapacity and probate upon death.    

The second video describes the importance of “Trust Funding.”  The key to any trust is to make sure that title to assets has been changed to the trust.  In many cases, without proper Trust Funding, many of the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust – including the avoidance of conservatorships and probate – will be defeated. 

The third video describes the Common Pot Trust. When is equal not fair?  On the surface it makes sense to divide your estate into equal shares for each of your children.  However, when there is an age gap of a few years between the oldest child and the youngest child, it might not be fair to the younger children to divide the estate into equal shares right away. 

The fourth video describes the concept of a Beneficiary Controlled Trust and how it can provide additional protection that traditional “outright gifts” do not feature. In this age of frequent litigation and high divorce rates, protecting beneficiaries’ inheritances from lawsuits and divorce (“creditors and predators”) becomes a paramount concern for many clients.

The fifth video explains the step-up in basis for Capital Gains Tax.  Capital gains tax is a tax on appreciation of certain assets, often real estate and securities.  Understanding the concept of the “step-up in basis” can allow you to plan your estate in such a way to substantially mitigate or eliminate capital gains tax for your loved ones.

Kyle cautions that it is essential to understand that these lessons are by no means a viable substitute for the proper, personal counsel of a licensed attorney.  These videos can prepare you to work with your attorney to accomplish your goals.


Kenneth B. Petersen CFP®, EA, MBA, AIFA® is an investment advisor and Principal of Monterey Private Wealth, Inc., a Wealth Management Firm in Monterey.   He welcomes questions that you may have concerning investing, taxes, retirement, or estate planning.  Send your questions to: Ken Petersen, 2340 Garden Road Suite 202, Monterey, CA93940 or email them to