Trusts have become popular estate planning tools. Trusts come in many forms and can be constructed to accomplish specific goals in many cases. A basic trust consists of a trustor, a trustee, at least one beneficiary and assets that are used to fund the trust. Beyond the basics, trusts then fall into one of two broad categories — revocable and irrevocable. Although there are numerous other decisions that must be made when you create a trust, deciding whether your trust will be revocable or … [Read more...] about Do I Need a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust?
Advanced Estate Planning
For many families, an estate plan based upon a revocable living trust may be all that is needed to protect their assets from death taxes. However, for folks with larger estates, it may make sense to look for ways to transfer assets in a tax-free manner. Though there is a gift tax in place there are ways to facilitate tax-free giving if you take the appropriate actions. One such strategy involves zeroing out a grantor retained annuity trust, often abbreviated as a GRAT. How does it work? After … [Read more...] about GRAT-itude for Advanced Tax-Saving Planning Option
Creating a comprehensive estate plan is one of the most important things you will do during your lifetime. When done properly, your estate plan will ensure that your loved ones are well provided for in the event of your untimely death as well as distribute your assets pursuant to your wishes. If not executed properly, it can wreak havoc with your finances and fail to provide the protection for your loved ones that it was intended to do. Given the importance of your estate plan, the first step in … [Read more...] about Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney
In California, certain small estates may not be subject to probate, instead they may be able to take advantage of less costly "small estate procedures." As of January 1, 2012, there is a new definition of "small" estate. The new limit is $150,000 in non-real estate assets and up to $50,000 in real estate. If your assets otherwise subject to probate don’t exceed these amounts, your estate may be able to avoid for expensive and time consuming formal California probate process. However, depending … [Read more...] about New California Probate Exemption in 2012