The dividing line that separates which estates are subject to estate tax and which estates are not is the federal estate and gift tax exclusions – sometimes referred to as the “unified credit.” They entitle you to a total lifetime exclusion of $5.34 million, as of 2014. This means that $5.25 million of your estate will be exempt from inheritance taxes when you die. A great benefit of the unified credit is that it is “portable,” which means that if you do not use the total amount, the … [Read more...] about How Large of an Estate Can Pass Tax Free?
Some people, in an effort to avoid probate, choose to add their children to the title of their property, such as real estate or vehicles. This can work in some situations, but depending on the circumstances, it may cause more problems than its worth. Understanding the different types of property ownership, as well as the consequences, will allow you to make a better decision about which type of ownership will accomplish your goals in estate planning.Types of Ownership in Real EstateThe term … [Read more...] about Can I Create a Joint Tenancy With My Child in Los Angeles?
Many of us will take part in the probate process for a loved one at some point in our lives. The process can be somewhat technical and complicated. Each state has its own specific laws that set out the steps of the probate process, including how to determine which creditors will be paid, and how remaining property will be distributed among the heirs. Paperwork must be completed and filed with the court by established deadlines, and the legal requirements must be followed to the letter.All … [Read more...] about How Long Does the Probate Process Take in California?
Individuals with disabilities require substantial resources to care for not only their medical needs, but their personal needs as well. If you care for someone who is disabled, you are probably familiar with need-based government assistance programs, such as Medi-Cal and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Eligibility for these two programs is based on income. A Supplemental Needs Trust is an estate planning tool that can be used for the benefit of the disabled, while protecting their … [Read more...] about What is a Supplemental Needs Trust?
Dying intestate in Los Angeles means dying without a will. How your property is distributed in that situation, depends largely on which relatives survive you. Each state has its own set of laws regarding “intestate succession,” including California. In order to inherit in California, it is required that the person outlives you by 120 hours. So, for example, if you and your sister are involved in a car accident where your sister died only a couple of hours after you, her estate will not … [Read more...] about If I Die Intestate in Los Angeles, How will my Property be Distributed?
A Power of Attorney, or POA,6 is a very common estate planning tool which can be customized to fit your specific needs. Part of that customization is the ability to execute either a general power of attorney or a specific power of attorney, depending on your intended purpose. Since every person and every family will have distinct needs that should be addressed in estate planning, understanding the benefits of different types of powers of attorney will help to ensure that you create your own … [Read more...] about Power of Attorney in Los Angeles: How is a Limited POA Different from a General POA?
So, someone just gave you a gift, and you are wondering whether you will be required to pay any taxes on it. It depends on the situation. Is it an inheritance, as opposed to a gift from someone who is still living? What is the value of the gift?Inheritance taxes may applyWhenever you receive money, personal property or real estate from someone’s estate when they die, you will be required to pay an inheritance tax. The executor of the estate will divide the assets from the estate and … [Read more...] about Do I have to pay taxes if someone gives me money?
Probate is the process by which property passes to your heirs after your death. It is not always required, however. In fact, it is not difficult to avoid the probate process altogether. There are several estate planning tools that can be used to ensure that your property passes to your heirs without having to go through the probate process. Some common tools used for this purpose include joint ownership of property or assets, revocable living trusts, gifts and pay-on-death accounts. You … [Read more...] about Is Probate Always Required?
Making the decision that a parent needs a guardian can be very difficult. Typically, this question arises when a parent has begun to show signs of mental impairment. For instance, your mother may be forgetting to take her medication more frequently. Or she may forget she has food cooking on the stove. If she has begun to get lost or disoriented when she is away from home, or has become a danger to herself or others, it is probably time to consider a guardianship.What do I do?The preferred … [Read more...] about Does My Mother Need a Guardian?
A power of attorney is a flexible estate planning tool that allows you to choose someone who will handle all or part of your personal affairs, including making health care decisions. The person who signs and executes the power of attorney is known as the “principal.” The person authorized to act on behalf of the principal is the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.”A durable power of attorney is a special kind of power of attorney that will remain in effect even if the principal becomes … [Read more...] about Should I have a durable power of attorney for health care?