Latest Blog Posts

A thank you a day keeps the doctor away

Posted on: November 23rd, 2016
It turns out that being thankful and practicing gratitude aren't just good for your soul but are good for heart as well....

Never too many cooks in the kitchen!

Posted on: November 18th, 2016
Thanksgiving is the ultimate “intangible legacy” holiday. Multiple generations are together and many old traditions are being shared. It’s worth taking time to be sure you’re making the most of your time together....

Values are Caught, Not Taught

Posted on: October 26th, 2016
What values did you learn from your parents and grandparents? How did they teach you these things? Odds are they tried to teach you with words but these lessons rarely stuck. The values and lessons we hang on to are those we absorb over time....

Text like a Teenager

Posted on: October 19th, 2016
Do you want to make stronger connections with your younger family members? It may be time to stop calling and start texting....

Don't smile ... you're on Candid Camera!

Posted on: October 12th, 2016
How will you be remembered? In a posed formal portrait or as yourself in a relaxed, candid shot? ...

Your story needs all the colors!

Posted on: October 5th, 2016
Remember the first time you opened a new 64-pack of crayons? So many new colors! All perfectly organized, sharpened and ready for action....

Time to get serious about fun

Posted on: September 28th, 2016
Have you ever been so immersed in an activity that you lost track of time? It turns out that this experience is great for reducing stress. ...

Why Sucking It In is Stressing Us Out

Posted on: September 21st, 2016
Stress!! Everyone is so stressed about stress. Stress doesn't start out bad when it lingers, even mild stress can cause serious problems. Here's a quick, easy way to de-stress anywhere, any time....

The Case of The Spouse Who Knew Too Little

Posted on: July 28th, 2016
Recently my friend, Kate, found herself a widow when her husband, Gil, passed away suddenly. Gil managed their affairs and Kate never really paid much attention to the details....

Prince... Involuntary Philanthropist

Posted on: June 9th, 2016
Prince, so private and careful about his generous charitable giving during his lifetime has now, as a result of no estate planning, become suddenly a very public "Involuntary Philanthropist"...

Did you miss our Art Tour?

Posted on: June 8th, 2016
Here's another chance to see Gail Pidduck's fine work...

Are you passionate about what you do?

Posted on: May 2nd, 2016
I've found that having passion - and a sense of really making a difference - in both our personal and professional lives, is what makes getting out of bed in the morning worth the effort....

Being Remembered

Posted on: December 24th, 2015
Being home with family is one of the joys of Christmas. One year I couldn't be home for Christmas with my family. I felt lonely, sad and separated - disconnected. Have you ever experienced that? ...

Step on up, folks!

Posted on: December 3rd, 2015
Tax law is complicated - no doubt about it. And just when you think you understand it, they go and change it. It seems like you just can't win! One part of the tax law that can be especially hard to understand is called Step-up In Basis. That's too bad, since Step-up In Basis can definitely be a "win" for families with property to pass on to the next generation. So it pays to understand it, and we're going to try to help you with that. ...

Go ahead, make my day

Posted on: November 25th, 2015
Every Monday morning at META law, our team starts the week with our Monday huddle. The very first item on the agenda: we go around the table and each of us shares three things that we are grateful for....

My Volvo

Posted on: November 5th, 2015
My husband and I had an old Volvo station wagon. It was a great car. It was my brother-in-law's before it came to us at about 150,000 miles. Another 100,000 miles or so down the road, the car started stalling, and we'd have difficulty starting it again....

My Own Things

Posted on: October 22nd, 2015
When people think of their "estate," they tend to focus on things of high dollar value - real estate, investment accounts, business interests. They often overlook the physical things that they own. These things may have monetary value, or merely sentimental value, but they are unquestionably valuable....

It's all taken care of...

Posted on: October 6th, 2015
Dad was always the one who was the rock in our family. He made sure we were well taken care of and mom and we kids never questioned him; he had it all under control. After dad passed away, my mom, my sister and I were comforted because dad always told us, "it’s all taken care of." From the funeral arrangements to the life insurance to the gardener, everything was in order. No need to worry about a thing!...

Missed Communications

Posted on: September 22nd, 2015
It was a really uncomfortable meeting. My long-time client Paul had passed away. We'd done some pretty sophisticated planning for Paul in order to achieve his goals ... Now, a couple of weeks after Paul's death, I was sitting in our conference room, meeting with his son James and James' wife Karen. ...

The Shoe Box

Posted on: September 2nd, 2015
So I have this shoe box, it lives inside a much larger box. The shoe box is filled with film negatives. The larger carton contains photos that never actually made it into an album. Most of them are not labeled in any way at all. It’s a real mess. Can you relate?...

We're Number One!

Posted on: August 20th, 2015
So, just a couple of days ago, the Washington Post stepped away from its inside the beltway political coverage to announce that “Ventura County, Calif., is the absolute most desirable place to live in America.”...

Time Flies ...

Posted on: April 2nd, 2015
When I came to work on April 1, 1980, I walked into an office that was welcoming and I had high hopes for a bright future. I was not disappointed. ...

Beware of Public Records Scams!

Posted on: February 4th, 2015
Beware! There are companies out there watching public records and when there is a death, a document recorded with the County, or a new corporation or partnership filing with the State, they send "offers" to obtain copies of the recordings or filings for you. They can look "official" but they are not! ...

Following Doctor's Advice

Posted on: January 22nd, 2015
If you call us, you should know that our approach might be a bit different than you expect - it's more like the one a physician would take....

Holiday Traditions

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014
Every family has holiday traditions. Work families have traditions too. Our META law family celebrates...

Lawyer's Disease

Posted on: December 4th, 2014
Ever heard of Howard Tullman? I hadn't until I read his interview with Bob Jordan in "How They Did It..." Tullman started his career as a lawyer for 10 years before moving into entrepreneurship and venture capital. Here’s what stuck out for me: “Don’t suffer from the Lawyer’s Disease!” ...

Plenty To Be Thankful For

Posted on: November 26th, 2014
Every morning at META law we have a brief meeting called a “huddle.” It’s a time share our schedules for the day, make announcements and ask questions. The last item on the agenda is our “positive close.” We go around the table and share our successes and thank you’s to our team members for their help and support. This has proven to be a great way to set the tone for the day...

Team

Posted on: November 21st, 2014
I bumped into my friend Richard at the coffee shop the other day. After chatting for a few minutes he said: "Ted, I’m confused about something. You're an attorney and you do estate planning, right?" ...

The Lonely Hours

Posted on: November 13th, 2014
Glen Tullman as interviewed by Bob Jordan. His comment on "the lonely work" moved and resonates with me - "that's the work that you do when no one's looking. The hours that winners spend after everyone else has gone home." It's those "extra hours that go into differentiating yourself and your company. But that time isn't free. It's a choice." ...

Legacy

Posted on: November 6th, 2014
The financial legacy and the emotional legacy are inextricably linked. This is why I prefer to talk about "Legacy Planning" instead of "Estate Planning," and why I encourage my clients - and their other trusted advisors - to think in these terms. ...

Focus

Posted on: October 30th, 2014
Did you ever dreamed of hitting it really big? You have great idea, and you work it until it becomes a huge success, and then you’re off to "vacation" for the rest of your life? Me too. Except those of us who share the entrepreneurial spirit really don't "vacation" well....

Planning for the Unthinkable - a personal story

Posted on: October 23rd, 2014
This is "Estate Planning Awareness Week" - which is kind of a Hallmark holiday for estate planners, I guess. As my contribution to estate planning awareness, I am offering a very personal story that helps explain why I am passionate about planning. It's a little longer than usual, but I hope you take the time to read it, and that it may spur you, and your loved ones, to action....

Milestones!

Posted on: October 16th, 2014
We are happy to announce the recent marriage of our Legal Executive Assistant, Kelsey Griese to Bryan Sturgeon....

Effective Family Business Meetings

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014
Here at META law we are passionate about encouraging good communication within families. This is especially important when the family is involved in business together....

"Why do you buy from us?"

Posted on: September 29th, 2014
This week I'm looking at the career of Mike Blair from Bob Jordan’s interview in his book "How They Did it." After graduating from University of Missouri with a degree in math and physics he took his first job with International Harvester and then on to a consulting company. Both companies were attempting to develop automation to streamline a variety of functions. Mike saw an opening for developing an integrated package of software in the critical and complex area of human resources. Today his "Human Capital Management" software solutions are being used in over 200 large companies in North America and the United Kingdom....

Inherited IRA's Not Safe From Creditors!

Posted on: September 19th, 2014
What does this mean and why should you care? Early this summer the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the Clark v Rameker case that funds held in an Inherited IRA are NOT "retirement funds" and therefore NOT protected in bankruptcy....

Escape Velocity

Posted on: September 11th, 2014
Viresh Bhatia, along with partner Rick Harold, tried for three years to create a geographic mapping system for Windows. In the course of their "trying" they stumbled upon the product they are now known for - InstallShield. If you have a PC, you have undoubtedly used this tool to install software on your computer - possibly without realizing it. ...

Never too young to plan

Posted on: September 4th, 2014
by Kelsey Griese, Legal Executive Assistant Many people - especially young people - do not think they need to do any estate planning, because they do not have an "estate." ...

No Place Like Home

Posted on: August 28th, 2014
I moved to Ventura to take my first job as a lawyer - a Deputy District Attorney. I fell in love in Ventura - the people, the resources, the weather - and decided to make it my family home. I still call it paradise. How important is it to you to live in the town of your first choice? What are you willing to do to live and work in the community you call paradise? ...

As our parents get older...

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014
One of the difficult but not infrequent situations we deal with here at META law are calls from our clients' children, concerned that mom or dad aren't doing so well and not sure what they should be doing next. ...

What Frustrates You?

Posted on: August 14th, 2014
What frustrations led you to start your own company? Bob Jordan in his book "How they did it" has a great example of how David Becker went his own way. David didn't want to scrub the deck of a Coast Guard ship with a toothbrush so he declined a full ride to the Coast Guard Academy. He didn't want to wait 20 years to "move up" at GE - he became frustrated with a board of directors who couldn't see the incredible value of software to improve the service and profitability of a Credit Union. So off he went on his own....

Shame on ... Who?

Posted on: August 7th, 2014
For the last several months there have been picketers in front of our building. They're holding a sign that says "Labor Dispute - Shame on Ted Muegenburg, Jr. - Labor Dispute."...

What Moves You?

Posted on: July 31st, 2014
I met Bob Jordan in Chicago last week. He loves creating a business and then going through the process of marketing and then selling that business. He realized there were others who were successful doing the same thing. He asked himself "How did they do it?" because the answer to that question might help inspire others....

Asking the Right Questions

Posted on: July 17th, 2014
With a childhood dream of being a marine biologist, Bonnie Baskin's first college field trip on Biscayne Bay resulted in seasickness - so she decided on a landlocked career....

Travel Plans

Posted on: July 9th, 2014
How do you plan for a trip? You may plan by booking your hotel rooms, buying plane tickets, packing your bags, and making sure that everything will be taken care of at home while you are away. We find that many clients want the additional peace of mind in knowing that their estate planning is up-to-date....

Find An Unmet Need - And Fill It!

Posted on: July 3rd, 2014
Just like we ask the pharmacist - "please fill this prescription?" No, because "fill" only comes after we find the unmet need. In his book "How They Did It", Robert Jordan begins with an interview with young entrepreneur Jeff Aronin. His meteoric career started as a pharmaceutical sales rep, took him to the corner office as CEO of an established pharmaceutical company, and then on to forming, then selling his own company....

"Entrepreneur"

Posted on: June 27th, 2014
- Do you have to know how to spell it to be one? NO! - Are you one? I am! - What is it? A disease? Is it a hopeless condition of mind and body? Probably!...

If you love someone, let them know...

Posted on: June 19th, 2014
...who your estate planning attorney is. I just got a call from a woman whose father had died suddenly. She wanted to know if he was a client of our firm. She is calling all of the law firms in Ventura to find who might have his estate planning documents. I get these kinds of calls a few times a year. ...

Donald Sterling – Estate Planning in the News

Posted on: May 30th, 2014
It’s very rare that estate planning issues make it to headline news. Probably even rarer that ESPN tweets about it. But that’s what happened last night! ...

How Safe is Too Safe?

Posted on: May 22nd, 2014
I’ve worked for Ted for over 30 years, so it’s not very often that something comes up that’s a first for me - but recently something new did happen. ...

It's OK To Ask For Help

Posted on: May 1st, 2014
I was thirty one. I was young, healthy and energetic. I was advancing in my career, and had lots of outside activities and hobbies. That changed, almost overnight, when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis....

Find Me a Specialist!

Posted on: April 9th, 2014
We are pleased to announce that Ted Muegenburg has been re-certified as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California....

Who will speak for you?

Posted on: April 16th, 2013
Who will speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself? Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day when public and private agencies across the United States and Canada address this question. ...

The Importance of Being Funded

Posted on: April 10th, 2013
It may seem that that we spend a lot of time harping on how important it is to have your assets titled in your trust. We do, because that is the single most common “complication” we encounter in the trust administration process....

Life Insurance Policies – Hold or Fold?

Posted on: March 29th, 2013
Many of our clients have life insurance policies purchased with the intention of providing the liquidity necessary to cover estate taxes when they die. With the $5,250,000 exemption for estate taxes, we’ve been getting calls about the advisability of cashing in these policies now. The answer varies depending on individual circumstances....

Faith and Estate Planning

Posted on: March 20th, 2013
For many, passing along religious beliefs and values to the next generation is just as important as passing along financial wealth and tangible assets. Estate planning creates many opportunities to do this....

Charitable Contributions from IRAs

Posted on: January 22nd, 2013
Here are two ways you may be able to lower Your 2012 Taxes – but you must act now!...

Charitable Giving: The Magic Words

Posted on: December 13th, 2012
Failure to provide a contemporaneous receipt with the “magic words” may mean that the IRS will disallow the charitable deduction! ...

Planning for Life (Insurance)

Posted on: November 8th, 2012
Life insurance can be an affordable way to provide for our children, spouse, aging parents and others if we should die while they are depending on us. Life insurance proceeds can provide extra income to help pay ongoing household bills and child care; pay off a mortgage, credit cards and other debt; pay for college; and pay funeral costs and other final expenses. Life insurance also plays a vital role in business succession planning and it has numerous applications in estate planning. ...

Guardians for the Future

Posted on: October 4th, 2012
Parents with minor children need to name someone to raise them - a guardian - in the event both parents should die before the child becomes an adult. While the likelihood of that actually happening is slim, the consequences of not naming a guardian are great. ...

Estate Planning for Women

Posted on: September 28th, 2012
While estate planning is important for everyone, women especially need to understand estate planning and have a plan of their own in place. Here are some issues that are of particular interest to women and their estate planning. ...

Gifts in 2012

Posted on: September 20th, 2012
For the rest of 2012, every American can transfer up to $5.12 million free of federal gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax'and estate planners are doing everything they can to motivate their clients to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. ...