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Estate Planning Archives

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.

What is portability in estate planning?

One of the primary purposes of estate planning is to take full stock of one's assets and ensure that all of a person's property has a predetermined beneficiary when that person eventually passes away. If this is not planned out ahead of time, those assets suffer a greater-than-necessary depletion at the hands of federal estate taxes and other parties who may be able to siphon off pieces here and there.

How do I value an estate?

Planning, establishing and maintaining an estate can be quite a handful of responsibilities, none of which should be taken lightly. One of the more arduous elements of maintaining one's estate can be the process of valuing an estate once the owner of the estate has passed away, which is necessary for the purposes of complying with federal estate tax laws. For those who are considering how to best go about valuing an estate, the IRS offers two viable standards it recognizes.

What are trustee responsibilities while a grantor is still alive?

Being appointed as a trustee is a great honor and great responsibility. If you have been appointed as a trustee for someone's estate, this means that you have been chosen presumably because you have been deemed both capable of the various responsibilities entailed in being a trustee and also trustworthy to carry them out. Being a trustee is not only about handling a grantor's affairs when he or she passes or become incapacitated, it is also about handling his or her assets while he or she is still living. If you are feeling unsure or overwhelmed by this new role, don't worry — you don't have to do it alone.

Estate planning strategies to protect college savings

California state laws governing debt collection may contain some harsh surprises for uninformed residents of California who expect their college savings to be safe from debt collection judgments. While federal bankruptcy law provides some protections against collections on college savings accounts, California's debt collection laws are not as protective in their scope. Many kinds of qualified higher education savings accounts are more vulnerable to collections, such as 529 College Savings Plans. California residents who wish to protect the assets they have set aside for the educations of loved ones have some options in estate planning to ensure that their wishes are fulfilled.

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