Handling an estate on behalf of a deceased loved one is often a difficult task. First, you have to review and make sense of the last will and estate plan. Then, you have to submit all necessary documentation to relevant parties, such as the bank and creditors of the deceased. Finally, you have to pay off debts, sell assets and allocate different possessions to different heirs per the instructions in the last will. It can be a daunting and thankless process.
Pets become like family. They're animals, but they give people their love and attention. Many people are truly indebted to their pets and love them as if they were their own children.
Here in California, residents must contend with a relatively low probate threshold. This can make it particularly difficult to circumvent the process and avoid hefty taxation of estates. This threshold is so low, in fact, that most individuals who own homes in the state automatically exceed it, by virtue of the state's high property values.
Estate planning is a complicated matter, and even a well-meaning benefactor may unwittingly cause unforeseeable conflicts or liabilities for their beneficiaries any number of ways. Often, these issues arise because an estate plan is not assembled professionally, is not maintained over time, or because the laws that govern estate planning and gift taxation change.
When a Californian builds an estate plan, most of the attention usually goes toward protecting assets from unnecessary taxation or other threats, such as creditors. In many cases, it is possible to avoid probate and several expenses with an estate that probate includes. However, this is not always the case, and some California residents have no choice but submit their estate to probate when the time comes.
Once you get your estate plan situated, you might think that you can forget about it since it is done. The truth is that you do need to review the will periodically so you can ensure that it still accurately reflects your wishes.
Most individuals do not worry about the value of gifts that they give to others, and in most cases it is never anything worth great worry in the first place. However, the federal government does place limits on the amount of money one individual can gift to another individual inside of a single calendar. If you do give another person gifts that exceed the yearly cap, you may incur taxation.
For many individuals who reach the stage in life when they start thinking about estate planning, forming a trust seems like an obvious choice. Still, it can seem a bit like legal magic without a proper understanding of the basic functions and creation process of trusts.
If you're like many people, the things you own are merely things — except for those belongings that carry great personal significance to you. As you survey your assets and evaluate an estate plan, you may realize that you have certain possessions you want to ensure receive proper love and care after you pass away.
Here in California, we enjoy a large number of non-U.S. citizens as a significant portion of our state residents. This reflects well on California as a progressive state that values people of all backgrounds, but also implies a number of legal issues when it comes to estate planning that one should not overlook.