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.
If you recently faced the loss of a close relative or loved one, you most likely had to deal with a will. Very often, one party or another believes that a will is invalid, and wonders if it is possible to challenge the terms of the will.
At one point or another, you may have found yourself in the position of having to settle the estate of a loved one. Doing so may have made you acutely aware of the difficulties of handling a decedent's estate without a proper will in place.