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March 2015 Archives

Relaxed estate taxes enable more giving

In the past, California estate planning attorneys typically focused on taxes, charity and family when they helped clients document their wishes for their assets after death. While passing down assets to family and leaving gifts for charity are still important elements of estate plans, taxes are less of an issue now than ever before.

Keeping track of estate planning documents

California residents who are planning their estate may be worried about how their loved ones will be able to handle their finances after they die. Although a person might create a detailed and well-structured estate plan, it will be up to their beneficiaries to see that the plan is implemented. If loved ones become overwhelmed at the thought of financial planning, managing an estate could cause them unnecessary stress.

Designating life insurance beneficiaries correctly

Purchasing life insurance is often a straightforward task, but some California residents may be unaware of potential problems that can occur when designating their beneficiaries. Understanding the possible effects of beneficiary designation is important as policy holders may thus be able to avoid unintended consequences.

Responsibilities of a California fiduciary

Trusts separate income from principal, allowing the trust instructions to distinguish between the two. This means that the trustor can instruct the fiduciary to distribute all income from the trust to a specific person and only distribute principal in certain circumstances, such as medical emergencies. This would prevent the trust from diminishing due to excessive withdrawals, ensuring that it will provide income for the rest of the beneficiary's life.

The need for an estate plan for California business owners

In a survey of 513 business owners, it was found that only 70 percent of them have an estate plan. To qualify as having an estate plan, the business owner must have had at least a valid will. Among those who didn't have at least a will, some said that they weren't ready to face their deaths. Others said that they didn't see a need for an estate plan.

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