If you own a small business, you have plenty to think about on a daily basis. However, have you considered what would happen to the business upon your death. If the business has been successful, you also likely have a considerable financial interest in the business. Without careful planning, the value of your financial interest in the business can be subject to either gift or estate taxes upon your death. Although there are numerous options that may be used to help reduce estate or gift taxes, … [Read more...] about Small Business Owners: Don’t Forget to Plan
If you have recently suffered the loss of a family member or loved one, you may be concerned about the legal steps required to probate the decedent’s estate. Probate is the legal process in court by which a decedent’s estate assets are inventoried and valued, debts of the decedent are paid and assets eventually transferred to the beneficiaries or heirs of the estate. Whether or not an estate must go through probate depends on a number of factors. Wills, Trusts, and Estate matters are governed … [Read more...] about Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate?
When a person creates a Will, he or she chooses someone to act as executor of the estate. An executor is responsible for administrating the estate settlement process. Even though a probate court will likely be involved in this process unless the estate is very modest, it is ultimately the executor’s responsibility to make sure the decedent’s wishes are carried out. While steps vary in each case due to the unique aspects of each estate, there are several steps you can take to make sure your job … [Read more...] about So You’ve Been Named an Executor . . .
Many people die without taking the time to create a will or trust. Wills and trusts are powerful estate planning documents that allows individuals to be in control of the future. It’s important to consider the use of these documents, so that you can plan ahead. If you don’t take the time to plan, your wishes may not be respected. Take a look at the following 4 reasons as to why you don’t want to die without a will or trust. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to begin drafting you … [Read more...] about Key Reasons Not to Die Without a Will or Trust
A question that often comes up in estate planning is “How much money do you need to get a Living Trust?” The question is a fundamental misunderstanding, but a common one. Although there would not be much point in doing so, you can put as little as a single penny into a Living Trust. The question is based on the premise that Living Trusts are designed for rich people. It’s a false premise. Living Trusts are designed for anyone who either wants to give something for one person to manage for the … [Read more...] about Estate Size and Living Trusts
For some people, a Last Will and Testament serves as the foundation upon which their estate plan is built. Giving the importance of a Will, it should be error-free, particularly because any errors or problems with the Will are not likely to be uncovered until after the creator is gone, meaning it will be too late for you to fix errors or explain ambiguities. With that in mind, let's look at some of the most common mistakes people make when creating a Will so that you can try and avoid making … [Read more...] about Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Your Will
The entire term "last will and testament" is generally just referred to as a standard will these days, but traditionally the will was used to elucidate the desired distribution of real property while the testament was used to distribute personal property. The will now serves both functions and it is the most commonly used vehicle of asset transfer and for the most part it needs no explanation. Because the standard will involves the distribution of assets it is natural for the uninitiated to … [Read more...] about The Difference Between Wills & Living Wills
One of the most important concepts that the average layperson should understand in the area of Wills is intestate succession. Understanding intestate succession can help you understand why creating, and executing, a Last Will and Testament is so important. Although each of the states determines their own laws and procedures with regard to Wills, the concept of intestate succession is a fairly universal concept among the states, including California. Intestate succession laws become important … [Read more...] about Intestate Succession Explained
If you are an heir or beneficiary of a Will, you should be notified when the Will is submitted for probate. What happens if you have doubts about the validity of the Will? Is it difficult to contest a Will in California? Because every potential Will contest involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, you should consult with an experienced California trust and estate litigiation attorney before deciding how to handle your concerns. Lets take a look at what's involved in contesting a Will in … [Read more...] about How Difficult Is It to Contest a Will?
When you decide to proceed with the creation of an estate plan, an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney will inevitably discuss including other documents in your estate plan in addition to your Will or Trust. Your estate plan should, at a minimum, include three other documents. These are: Advance Health Care Directive: This important document allows you to appoint a health care agent and to make specific decisions regarding future medical treatments you want to receive if you … [Read more...] about The Top Three Other Documents Your Estate Plan Should Include