Understanding the existing estate tax parameters at any given time is an important part of the estate planning process. You may have heard that the estate tax is something that only the very wealthy have to concern themselves with, but this is really not the case. If you buy into that notion and ignore the subject entirely your loved ones could be faced with a shocking and costly revelation after you pass away.The estate tax exclusion is currently $5 million and the maximum rate is 35% for … [Read more...] about Tax-Free Gifts Can Provide Estate Tax Efficiency
Many people interested in the subject of estate planning do research on the Internet. When doing online research, the topic of probate avoidance is often mentioned. Probate is the legal process of estate administration, and though this sounds rather routine on the surface there are difficulties and costs that go along with the process, and as a result people often choose to avoid it. In this blog we highlight three of the reasons why you may want to employ probate avoidance … [Read more...] about Three Reasons To Avoid Probate
There are those who adopt the attitude that "it'll never happen to me" when it comes to some of the challenging situations that many people face. There's nothing wrong with adopting a positive attitude, but there is a thin line between taking a healthy, upbeat stance and illogically keeping your head in the sand. This is something to keep in mind when you are considering the possibility of a stay in a long-term care facility at some point in the future.According to the United States Department … [Read more...] about Are You Getting Prepared For Long-Term Care Costs?
When you are making preparations for the future there are things to consider outside of the purely financial realm, and one of them involves health care choices. There may come a time when you are unable to make medical decisions on your own due to incapacitation. If you do not state your wishes in a legally binding manner beforehand, these decisions would fall into the hands of your next of kin.In addition to the fact that it is very difficult to make sensitive decisions on behalf of another … [Read more...] about Including Advance Health Care Directives
The estate tax looms large when you are planning your estate and it can erode your assets considerably if you are not properly prepared. The first thing to take into consideration is whether or not the overall value of your estate exceeds the estate tax exclusion, and the reality is that this is easier said than done because the exclusion is a moving target.At the present time the estate tax exclusion is $5 million and the rate of the tax is 35%. This framework is in place as a result of the … [Read more...] about Estate Tax At A Glance
I was asked whether or not a daughter, whose husband prepared a will for the daughter's mother, is disinherited because of her husband's involvement, specifically in reference to Probate Code Sections 21380 and following. The answer is more complicated than the question.Probate Code Section 21380 does not "disinherit" anyone. What it does is create a "presumption" that the instrument (such as a will or a trust, or other dispositive document) was obtained as a result of fraud and/or undue … [Read more...] about If an in-law draws up a Will or Trust for the parent of his or her spouse, does that void his/her spouse’s share of the inheritance?
A client recently presented me with the following factual situation. Her father, a California resident, had approximately $150,000 of stocks held in his individual name at the time of his death. His wife (the client’s mother) survived him, and the stocks were acquired during the marriage using community property funds. Her father had written a Will, but no Living Trust. The company issuing the stocks would not transfer title of the stock to the surviving spouse, even though it was presented … [Read more...] about Stocks in the Name of Deceased Spouse
One of the major advantages of having a living trust is that upon death, assets of the trust are not subject to the probate process. But occasionally there are situations where probate might be an advantage. One of those would be where the decedent has legal obligations that are unknown or undefined. The decedent's creditors would have a right to bring suit to collect on their claims against the trust for one year after the decedent's death. If the decedent's estate were being probated, the … [Read more...] about Optional Claims Procedures for Trust Administration
I was recently asked to address the following fact situation. Mother is elderly and in failing health with limited assets other than the family home. Should she need to be admitted to a skilled nursing facility, it is likely Medi-Cal would end up footing the bill. Daughter is disabled, receives public assistance and wants to know if there is any way she can inherit the home without impacting her public benefits. My response was as follows:If your mother goes into a skilled nursing facility … [Read more...] about Use of a Special Needs Trust to Shelter an Inherited Home
Under California law, when a decedent dies and their living trust become irrevocable, the trustee is required by Probate Code Section 16061.7 to give any beneficiary notice of that fact and advise that the beneficiary has a right to receive a copy of the trust and periodic accountings and that the beneficiary has the right to contest the trust within 120 days after receipt of such notice. Having received no such notice, the beneficiary's right to contest the trust is four years unless there are … [Read more...] about Beneficiary’s Rights to Trust Copy and Accountings