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Estate Planning Archives

Michael Jackson estate mess raises concerns

If you're a resident of California, there's a decent chance that you may face issues that other residents in different states don't face — especially if you're a celebrity of some type. One issue that people with a recognizable (and marketable) likeness face when estate planning, unlike many other people, is how to plan around the value of themselves and their own image after they pass away. Recently, the estate of Michael Jackson ran into a host issues on the matter.

California proposes state-level estate tax

if you've been following the news, it has been consistently dominated by the various actions of the Trump administration, which has been making a number of controversial moves in its first 100 days. One of the areas that President Trump has promised to address in the near future is the federal estate tax, which currently commands 40 percent of an estate's value above $5.49 million per person. If Trump has his way, the law may shift from a tax on overall estate value to a proposed tax on capital gains. However, California, which often pioneers progressive policies, is proposing a state-level estate tax — even if the federal estate tax is repealed.

Troubled children can be helped through careful planning

Part of the great responsibility of creating a personalized estate plan is considering the needs, strengths and weaknesses of your heirs. If you are like many parents, you may feel trapped while creating an estate plan, not knowing how to effectively and fairly create a plan if one or more of your children suffer from substance abuse or gambling addiction. Fortunately, there are some ways to provide for the future as a loving parent wants to do, without feeling that you are unnecessarily enabling your child.

What is a til-death-do-us-part deal?

Owning a home is one of life's great privileges, but it can also become surprisingly complicated when deciding how to pass it on once you die. A surprising subculture in Southern California has sprung up around one way to deal with the issue, known as til-death-do-us-part real estate deals.

Mortgages and death

Creating an estate plan is an important part of providing for the ones you love after you pass away. While many aspects of an estate plan deal with the proper and timely distribution of assets to beneficiaries and circumventing or minimizing the probate process, estate plans also have great value in protecting your loved ones from debts that you may have accrued in your lifetime. As a general rule, the debt of one person is not passed on to his or her heirs upon death, but is rather settled through the surviving estate.

New parents need an estate plan, too

Most people tend to think of estate planning as something to start doing once you have a lot of money, or own a house, or are nearing retirement. While it is true that anyone in these circumstances should consider creating an estate plan, they are by no means the only ones who can benefit from one. One often overlooked group who should absolutely consider making an estate plan are new or expectant parents. Ultimately, one of the most important things that an estate plan does is help you plan for how you will provide for the ones after you have passed away or become incapacitated. What loving parent would willingly put off such an important form of preparation?

New law reduces Medi-Cal collections

Creating an estate plan is about so much more than simply putting your assets in one place or another and deciding who will get the house and the car when you have passed on. Those with few assets may believe that they are not in need of an estate plan, but this could not be further from the truth. Without proper planning and an understanding of both state and federal laws, your loved ones may be in for a rude awakening. One of the most commonly frustrating issues for those who pass away in California is dealing with Medi-Cal recoupment procedures.

Even those without heirs need an estate plan

If you've been assuming that you don't really need an estate plan because you don't have any children to leave an estate to, it's time to reconsider that stance. Creating an estate plan is two-fold — it not only allows you to determine who will get your possessions after you pass on, and it allows you to make your end-of-life wishes known.

IRS releases 2016 estate and gift tax figures

While taxes may famously be the most dependable thing we have to look forward to the than the eventual heat death of the universe, those who know how to use the tax system also look forward to the IRS's yeary announcement of it's adjusted estate and gift tax exemptions. And so, just as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, the IRS was released it's annual figures for what can be exempted by giving to the ones you love.

Joint tenancy and the unmarried couple's estate plan

While it is difficult to quantify exactly why, there are areas in California that have long been known to attract individuals who prefer non-traditional ways of life. Often, this includes couples who choose to remain together without ever becoming legally married. Being in a long-term unmarried couple can present some difficulties when it comes to estate planning, but nothing that can't be overcome with proper knowledge of the law.

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