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Estate Planning Archives

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.

How should I prepare my partner to assume accounts I control?

Responsible estate planning takes into account the likelihood of outliving a partner, but often even those who intentionally plan for this eventuality forget key details that make the reality of losing a loved one an unnecessary nightmare. While your estate plan may cover the broad strokes of how the life you have built with a partner will change when one of you passes away, the safety and security of such a plan is often in the details.

New legislation help protect assets through estate planning

California estate planners just received a major win in the area of estate recovery for Medi-Cal recipients. SB-833, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown just a month ago, has removed the state's ability to recover assets from a surviving spouse's estate for those who received Medi-Cal benefits and pass away on or after Jan. 1, 2017.

Should I leave assets directly to my adult children?

Creating an effective estate plan utilizing a trust is an excellent tool for those considering how to protect and distribute wealth, but sometimes an appealing option can have undesirable consequences. Traditionally, many individuals have chosen specific assets to leave to their adult children, but developments in taxation and estate penalties have made this a less viable option for those seeking to maximize their resources through a well-crafted estate plan.

Estate planning | Distributing inheritances to your kids

Distributing your assets once you pass away is a difficult topic to address. California parents are often afraid their kids will think it is a sign of favoritism if they leave more to one child than to another. Worse, parents worry the children who receive less may think they are less loved. The worry is for good cause as this is often the case with children who do not receive an equal share of their parent's property.

The truth about debt, death and heir responsibility

Dying with debt is a topic that makes most people feel uncomfortable. Residents of California and elsewhere typically work hard to keep a firm handle on their debt so that it does not become overwhelming. However, as you might imagine, people do die with unpaid debt. The Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances reveals that households headed by senior citizens hold about $40,000 of debt. Further, the survey revealed that the number of seniors with debt is increasing.

Addressing educational expenses in your California estate plan

As the cost of educational expenses continues to soar for California residents, it is clearer than ever how important a college fund can be. The 529 college savings plan is one way to address this issue. Parents or grandparents (or anyone) can create a 529 plan to help a loved one pay for education. As the nation's current economy proves, it is never too soon to start a college fund. While the 529 plan is effective, it can also be problematic if not setup correctly.

The death of Prince highlights the need for good estate planning

As far as anyone knows, Prince left no will when he died on April 21, 2016. This means that no instructions regarding the distribution of his significant estate exists. Experts say it could take years to sort out the value of Prince's assets, which are estimated to exceed $100 million. Tyka Nelson, Prince's only full sibling, filed an emergency motion requesting the appointment of a special administrator to gather and protect the musician's assets.

Effective estate planning to keep your family out of probate

The word probate makes most California residents feel uneasy. Many do not really know why this happens, they just know that probate is something to avoid whenever possible. Perhaps these people have heard alarming stories from friends or family about the horrors of probate, or maybe they have read about it online. Whatever the reason, it is safe to say that most people want to keep their family members away from probate after they pass away.

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