A special needs trust is a great estate planning tool that can be used for providing valuable resources for your loved ones with special needs, even after your death. It is also an important way to protect individuals with disabilities who may own too much property so that they can remain eligible for need-based government benefits programs such as SSI or Medi-Cal. A third-party special needs trust is the most widely-used type of trust for individuals with special needs. Typically, family … [Read more...] about What is a Third-Party Special Needs Trust?
A will is probably the most common estate planning tool out there. The last will and testament is the easiest way to guarantee that your belongings will be distributed the way you want them to be, upon your death. The trouble is, not everyone has the legal competency to create a valid will. If the person creating a will (the testator) does not have the required legal capacity, the will won't be validly executed. There are certain basic requirements in order to create a valid will.How does … [Read more...] about Creating a Will: Who is competent?
Every family with minor children needs to be prepared for the possibility of guardianship in the unfortunate situation where both parents are no longer around to care for them. Though no parent wants to actually think about it, you would want to know that if something happens to you, your child will be in good hands. Planning for guardianship will give you the peace of mind you need.What is a guardianship?Guardianship is the legal status conferred by the court that gives an individual the … [Read more...] about Planning for the Possible Guardianship of a Minor
Do-it-yourself ("DIY") should be left to remodeling your home and trying out new crafting ideas – not estate planning. Unfortunately, do-it-yourself estate plan products have become the latest fad. While the services and products you see offered on the internet or in bookstores may advertise a lower price, the reality is these computer generated forms are not comparable to the professional legal work you would receive from an estate planning attorney. Although the document you purchase online … [Read more...] about What You Should Know about a DIY Estate Plan
Getting the news that you are about to inherit from a loved one can be exciting, but you may also be concerned about what you may owe. We all know that an estate may be required to pay taxes, but what about inheritance tax? Whether you will need to pay inheritance tax depends on state law. Here is what you need to know.What is inheritance tax?When an heir or beneficiary receives money or property from an estate, a tax may be imposed on that inheritance. The federal government no longer … [Read more...] about Should I Be Worried About Inheritance Tax?
When someone dies there is a legal process through which their estate must go in order for their property to be passed on to their heirs. This process is known as probate. It typically involves identifying the person's property and determining its value, paying off remaining debts and taxes owed, and finally distributing the property that is left to the heirs or beneficiaries. But what happens when some of that property is located in another state? That is when the "ancillary" probate … [Read more...] about California’s Ancillary Probate Process
One of the primary purposes of a trust is to provide the organized distribution of property from one generation to the next. A trust lets you decide now which belongings you want to be given to whom. As with any other legal proceeding, there may be issues with a trust that will require trust litigation. When that happens, you need an estate planning attorney experienced in litigation to help you through this process.Basic reasons trust litigation may be requiredIf it turns out that the … [Read more...] about When does Trust Litigation Become Necessary?
You might be surprised to learn that, as common as a will may be, many people do not have a will in place when they die. Wills are invaluable tools in estate planning which allow you to determine exactly how you want your property to be distributed after your death. If you do not have a will, then your estate will be distributed according to the law in your state. The concept of dying without a will is referred to as "intestate succession."What is “intestate succession?”Dying "intestate" … [Read more...] about Dying without a Will in California
Whether you are an executor of an estate or CPA, preparing a federal estate tax return can seem to be a daunting task. Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return is due nine months after a client’s death. This return serves as a summary of the assets included in the decedent’s taxable estate and valued as of that date. This is an important part of estate administration. Here are five common mistakes to avoid.Mistake No. 1 - Missing the Filing DeadlineIf … [Read more...] about 5 Mistakes to Avoid in Filing Estate Tax Return
The California Lottery may be the fastest growing state lottery in the country, with recent sales exceeding $5.5 billion, for the first time in the state's history. With all but six states having a lottery, millions of students across the country are the biggest winners. In recent years, the California Lottery has reported spending a record $1.39 billion in supplemental funding for its schools.The history of the California LotteryBeginning in 1985, the California Lottery has contributed in … [Read more...] about The California Lottery Pays Big for Education in Los Angeles