If an estate plan is in place, the first place to look for an answer to this question is in the estate planning documents. Normally the documents will set forth a procedure for making a determination of incapacity, and the provisions of one document (such as a living trust) might be different than those included in another (such as a Durable Power of Attorney for Property Management or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions). A thorough/comprehensive set of documents will likely … [Read more...] about Who Determines Incapacity?
The court proceedings known as “probate” has one primary function, to change the legal title of assets held in the name of a decedent to the name of the new legal owners (the decedent’s heirs). Although there is much more to it than that, if it weren’t for the need to change legal title upon someone’s death, there would be no need to undertake a probate. Assets which will pass to the decedent’s lawful heirs without the need of doing a probate (in California) are: 1) life insurance and pension … [Read more...] about What is Probate?
Yes, we are in crisis, but only because we don’t know where we are. Technically, the Federal Estate Tax has been repealed as of January 1, 2010. However, under the current law, the Estate Tax comes back January 1, 2011 but with a lower exemption ($1,000,000) and a higher maximum tax rate (55%). It seems our government caught the entire professional estate planning community flat footed on this one because no one in their right mind anticipated that we would ever see a one year repeal of the … [Read more...] about Estate Tax Crisis of 2010