So, you've finally found that special someone that you know you want to spend the rest of your life with. This is generally a time of your life filled with optimism, when looking to the future seems like a joyful thing.
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.
You'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who enjoys the thought of drafting a last will and testament, as contemplating one's own mortality is hardly pleasant. Still, doing so will not only ensure that your heirs receive what you want them to get from your estate after your death, but it should also give you some peace of mind.
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.
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.
Between the year 2000 and 2010, the number of couples who were living together instead of getting married rose by 25%, according to the United States Census. There are various reasons why a couple may choose not to marry, even though many go through their daily lives much like a married couple. Although some states will make a default assumption that those who live together long-term are married by "common law" and will treat them as such if this is the case in the event of one person's death. California is not among these states.
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.
Let's face it. Estate planning is rarely a favorite topic of discussion. It deals with death and money, and most people would rather wait until later. This attitude leads to some common misconceptions and myths when it comes to planning for the future, including after you pass away.
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.
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.