Estate planning is a complicated business, but in community property states, it is even more so. Under community property laws, spouses both enjoy one-half ownership of all their marital property, which can greatly complicate matters when it comes time to create an estate plan. If you are married and are beginning to think about how you'd like to pass on your estate, it is very important to consider how this state-specific issue may affect your planning.
As you create your estate plan and prepare for the possibility that you could become incapacitated, you may choose to appoint a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. This is an important decision that may greatly impact not only your own health and well-being, but also your estate and potentially the relationships between your loved ones.
Some of our readers may already be familiar with the sad saga of actor Mark Salling. The actor gained prominence on the television show "Glee." However, in Dec. 2015, he made headlines for another reason.
When developing your estate plan, it is important to understand the all of the exemptions and protections you can use to keep your property safe from costly challenges and taxation. With careful planning, you can use many legal tools to create protections for your property and your beneficiaries. For those with substantial estates, it is important to understand two of the most widely used protections: the personal exemption and marital deductions from the estate tax.
Estate planning is rarely a field that is on the front lines of financial trends, owing in part to the long-term nature of the practice. While some industries often strike while the iron is hot in a particular financial area, estate planning may take a few years to begin addressing these issues properly. Such is the case with cryptocurrencies and their applications in estate planning, which are only now gaining widespread usage in mainstream markets.
With new tax laws come many new and interesting changes that may carry significant implications for those with existing estate plans. This is just one example of how creating and maintaining an estate plan is an ongoing task.
Estate planning offers many advantages and protections to those who use legal tools properly and understand their limitations. However, many estate plans involve terms that are not possible to enforce, or create tensions between potential beneficiaries. Such seems to be the case with the estate plan of late soul music legend James Brown. By now, it has been over a decade since Brown passed away, but his estate remains unresolved.
With the passage of the new lax laws, many estate plans require revisiting and possible revising. For many years, estate planning professionals navigated complex tax avoidance systems to help clients keep more of their own estate to pass on to their beneficiaries.
As you consider your estate planning needs and your emergency and end-of-life care preferences, it is very likely that you may decide to name a health care agent. Such a person acts on your behalf, making medical choices that align with your wishes. Depending on the nature of your wishes, some of those close to you may find it difficult to act as your health care agent, so be sure you choose your health care agent carefully.
Building an effective estate plan is an important part of providing for the ones you love with your resources. However, in some cases, even those who fail to create an estate plan during their lifetimes may end up with their resources placed into a constructive trust upon passing away. Constructive trusts are a certain kind of trust that arises when a court acknowledges the rights of an heir despite the absence of an established trust at the time of a benefactor's death.