What You Need To Know About The California Probate Code

  When someone in California passes away with no estate plan or with an estate plan based on a will, their possessions must be processed through probate courts before those people named in the will (or the people named in the Probate Code, if there is no will) take ownership of the property left. This process can be confusing for many people, and not understanding how probate court works can result in problems that may lead to an unexpected outcome for your loved ones. There are five basic things you should know about the California Probate Code before you finish estate planning. California Probate Code Probate usually takes four months to a year in California. Probate isn’t necessarily a short [...]

By | June 24th, 2016|Probate|

How Do Trusts Work?

You’ve surely heard of trust funds before. Most people assume that these are simply tools of the extremely wealthy to pass on massive amounts of money to the next generation. The reality, however, is that almost anyone with savings--including many middle class families-- can benefit from trusts. So, how do trusts work? A trust is a legal instrument that manages assets bequeathed by a trustor on behalf of beneficiaries. You essentially turn over the titles of your assets to the trust, which will then be managed by the trustees. During your lifetime, you can name yourself as both the trustee and the beneficiary, which means that you both manage your property and can use the proceeds as you could if [...]

By | June 21st, 2016|Trusts And Wills|

What Are Grantor Trusts and Non-Grantor Trusts?

If you have started the estate planning process, you’ve surely heard of trusts. Trusts are legal instruments that can hold and manage assets on behalf of a specified beneficiary named by the original owner of the assets, the grantor. The assets held within the trust are then managed by a trustee named by the grantor. There are two basic types of trusts that hold assets and can be used for estate planning: grantor trusts and non-grantor trusts. While very similar, there are some distinct differences in the ways that grantor trusts and non-grantor trusts are managed and taxed. Grantor Trusts Vs. Non-Grantor Trusts The biggest difference between grantor trusts vs. non-grantor trusts is the role of the grantor. Essentially, grantor [...]

By | June 16th, 2016|Trusts And Wills|

What To Consider Before Writing A Will

Wills are a vital legal document that you should have in place as soon as you start accumulating any significant assets. If you die without a will, or intestate, as is the legal term, your assets will be distributed according to state laws by someone appointed by the court. This almost always has unexpected consequences and leaves out a person or organization you wanted to leave something of value to. Whether you are wealthy or not, you should have a will in place. Still, writing a will is a serious undertaking. Your will can have lasting consequences, which is why you should carefully consider many factors before drafting the document. The following six questions will help you structure your will [...]

By | June 13th, 2016|Trusts And Wills|

9 Critical Areas When Writing Your Own Will

  Writing your own will is a complex process, as there are many issues that need to be addressed. The following are nine critical areas when writing your own will that you must think through and specifically address.   Wishes for Joint Property: If you own property jointly with a spouse or another person, it will automatically pass on to the joint owner after your death. This means that you rarely need to specifically deal with naming a beneficiary for joint property, but you do need to consider such assets and address any potential legal hurdles to its passing on. This is also a good time to ensure that property intended to be held jointly, such as homes, cars, etc. [...]

By | June 10th, 2016|Trusts And Wills|

Everything You Should Know About Inheritance Tax

  Most people have heard about estate tax--the federal tax on estates valued at more than $5.45 million in 2016. What fewer people realize is that this estate tax is not the same as an inheritance tax. Estate taxes are taken directly out of the estate before beneficiaries receive anything. It is a tax on the person who has died, not the income being received by the beneficiaries (even though the ultimate effect may be the same). Inheritance tax, on the other hand, is a tax on the income received by beneficiaries. It is taken out of the portion of the estate each beneficiary receives. Unlike estate tax, there is no federal inheritance tax. What you inherit should not be [...]

By | June 8th, 2016|Taxes|
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