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April 2019 Archives

Developing a comprehensive, current estate plan

For California residents who have substantial assets, it can be particularly important to plan for the future to help ensure that their heirs and loved ones are able to benefit from them. Making an estate plan is a key step, but it can be only the beginning. It is important to periodically review documents like wills and trusts every three to five years to make certain that they are accurate. In some cases, decisions made at different times can contradict each other or lead to family conflict. In other cases, the laws themselves may have changed, and a different configuration may be more beneficial.

Avoid family conflicts over aging parents

Families can be torn asunder following the diagnosis of dementia in an elderly parent or grandparent. This often happens when one or more of the children or grandchildren objects to the proposed care plan for the elderly relative.

Reasons to use a trust over a will

California residents and others may not like thinking about their own mortality. However, estate planning is an important way to ensure that loved ones are taken care of after a person passes. Typically, individuals use a will or a trust to distribute assets, and both can do a good job of meeting a person's needs. Prior to deciding which one to use, it is important to know the differences between the two documents.

Account for passwords in an estate plan

It is generally more convenient for California residents to receive bank statements and other documents electronically. Unfortunately, electronic records could also make estate planning more complex for both the plan creator and estate executor. This is because most bank and other accounts require a password to access them. Passwords may also be needed to get into the smartphone or computer that information is stored on.

Heirs of Prince want Comerica removed as estate administrator

As California fans of Prince continue to mourn his death, his heirs have petitioned a court to reduce Comerica Bank & Trust's role as estate administrator. The late singer and songwriter's siblings claim in their legal filings that Comerica has collected $10 million in fees from the estate while spending $45 million on probate expenses. Additionally, the estate still owes $31 million in federal and state estate taxes. As time passes, interest increases the tax bill.

How to be an executor of a will

Successfully carrying out the task of closing a deceased family member's estate may require an executor to probate the will, secure assets, notify beneficiaries and more. California residents who have done this job have benefited from working with attorneys, accountants and financial and insurance advisors. Unfortunately, executors often make mistakes that can easily be avoided by having the right frame of mind and remembering a few basic things.

Estate planning and personal property items

California residents who are developing their estate plans should make sure to address what should happen with their personal items, some of which may be valuable. When doing so, there are some issues they may want to keep in mind.

Overview of gross estate and federal estate tax exemption

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act significantly raised the federal estate tax exemption. For the executor of an estate in California to know if an estate has exceeded this exemption, the person must calculate the gross estate of the decedent. Estates with values above the exemption will need to complete form 706 for the Internal Revenue Service. If any estate taxes are owed, they must be paid no later than nine months after the person's date of death.

Analyzing Lee Radziwill's estate plan

Those in California who follow politics or pop culture may have heard about the recent passing of Lee Radziwill. While many people mourn her death, her estate plan was designed to make it easier to respect her final wishes. She had a will that was probated in New York as well as a revocable trust. Her assets were transferred into the trust when she passed away.

The role of trusts in financial planning for special needs child

Parents of special needs children in California often turn to trusts to provide funds and security for their kids. Eligibility for government benefits often factors into these decisions because many people want to ensure that their children remain eligible for government programs. Frequently, trusts solve this problem because they can set aside money to help a special needs person while not inflating his or her income and assets.

Estate planning and hip-hop artists

California hip-hop fans may be aware of some of the trust and estate planning issues that have arisen after the death of some hip-hop artists. For example, XXXTentacion created a trust and a last will and testament in 2017. He was murdered a few months later, in June 2018. He made his brothers and mother his beneficiaries, but there was a rumor that an ex-girlfriend was pregnant by him. In such a case, it might be possible for a child born after a parent's death to challenge an estate plan.

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