10 Keys To Proper Estate Planning

  Estate planning isn’t always easy. There are many considerations, no matter how much money you have or how old you may be. That’s why we believe the best way to succeed at estate planning is to start with the basics. These ten keys to proper estate planning may not be all your ideal estate plan needs to best protect your loved ones in case anything ever happens to you, but they will give you the basics to get you started right.   Catalogue your assets. It’s impossible to plan for all your vital assets unless you know what those assets are. By listing all assets, even those you may not believe are important, you can ensure an easier probate [...]

By | October 7th, 2016|Estates|

How to Get Ahead of Your Estate Planning

Estate planning seems like an insurmountable challenge when you are not sure how to get started. That’s why it should come as no surprise that about 70% of Americans have no will and have done no estate planning. Unfortunately, leaving estate planning until later can have serious consequences. A lack of proper estate planning leaves chaos behind for your loved ones after you pass on. Not only will you have no say in how your possessions are passed on, but you’ll also have no way to help them minimize the burden of a lengthy probate made worse due to a lack of a trust. Luckily, you can avoid these problems and get ahead of your estate planning today with just [...]

By | September 3rd, 2016|Estates|

Your Basic California Probate Checklist

After someone you love has passed away, it is a stressful time. Dealing with your grief and settling their affairs take time and effort, and drains you emotionally. If you are named as an executor, this stress increases exponentially, especially since many executors have no experience with the legal system or the probate courts. Knowing the key probate steps that you need to take can help you settle your loved one’s estate more simply and quickly. The following California probate checklist can help you determine the basic steps you need to take in order, whether on your own or with the help of an experienced California probate lawyer.  Of course, this California probate checklist is by no means comprehensive. Every [...]

By | September 3rd, 2016|Probate|

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|

How Can A Reliable Estate Planning Attorney Help My Family

  Most adults know that a will is important in order to pass on assets to loved ones after you pass away. Unfortunately, few of these same adults know where to get started. That’s where a reliable estate planning attorney comes in. An estate planning lawyer can help you get organized and prepare to leave your loved ones taken care of after you pass away. When you partner with a trusted estate lawyer, your family will be supported during the difficult transition after losing a loved one. An estate planning attorney can help you:   Develop a strategy to reduce taxes owed on your estate: You want your family to benefit from your savings and property, not the IRS. With [...]

By | May 31st, 2016|Estates|
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