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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Estate Planning Archives

A basic estate plan does not have to be complicated


Many people have put estate planning into the category of things they will get around to someday in the future. They may be under the impression that estate planning is a complicated process that takes a lot of work. However, for most California residents, preparing an estate plan can be fairly straightforward.

Rock star who died without estate plan leaves family destitute


Most people in California probably assume that rock stars' financial lives are handled by legions of lawyers and accountants who make sure their clients' wealth is safely invested and their posterity provided for. This is not always the case, however. As a recent news story illustrates, even those with substantial wealth sometimes fail to take the basic steps to make sure their families are protected from an untimely death.

Same-sex couples may want to update their estate planning


Now that same-sex marriage is here to stay in California, LGBT couples who have tied the knot can enjoy the same legal advantages available to all married couples when it comes to estate planning. Many same-sex married couples have no estate plan in place at all; others may have done some planning before marriage was possible. Either way, couples that are now married have an opportunity to update their estate plans to take advantage of tax and other laws that benefit married couples.

Does California have an estate or inheritance tax?


People who are starting the estate planning process often wonder about the potential estate or inheritance tax implications. For most individuals in California, this is no longer a major concern. California has no estate tax for individuals who died on or after January 1, 2005 and has no inheritance tax for those who died on or after June 8, 1982. The federal estate tax is now only a concern for individuals with significant wealth.

Avoiding probate is a major goal of California estate planning


Probate is the court-supervised process of estate administration and property distribution after an individual dies. In California, probate can be a lengthy and expensive process. Legal fees - which are based on the size of the estate - and court costs can eat up a significant portion of any estate. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid probate in California with some careful estate planning.

A power of appointment can be a useful estate planning tool


Estate planning inevitably requires making some assumptions about the future. But none of us can clearly predict the circumstances and needs of our heirs long after we are gone. Fortunately, California law allows a testator to leave some asset distribution decisions to be made later by a beneficiary, through a tool known as a power of appointment.

Estate planning as a vital community function


People who call the Sacramento area home know that a community is built one family at a time, and when people work together for mutual financial prosperity the community is strengthened. That is the philosophy of Michael Sawamura, who has made Sacramento his home and puts the needs of his clients first and foremost. He believes in the Sacramento community and wants to see his friends and neighbors prosper. By offering sound legal and financial strategies for estate planning to his clients, he has done just that for the last 25 years.

What is a pension "clawback" and can it affect you?


People in California who have worked for decades in order to ensure a healthy and prosperous retirement might be shocked to know that their pensions and retirement accounts might not be as safe as they had banked on. According to a recent AARP bulletin, pension "clawbacks," in which pension plan administrators go after money already guaranteed or disbursed to retirees, are becoming more common across the U.S.

An easy way to prepare for future medical issues


There are several important documents to consider when developing an estate plan. Arguably, one of the most important documents to consider might be the advanced health care directive. This document is essentially a document that spells out what a person's wishes would be regarding potential medical treatment if they were ever to become incapacitated or unable to make their own decisions due to illness or disability.

How to weed out California estate planning scams


Seniors in California may not know where to turn for good, trustworthy financial and legal advice. There are literally hundreds of firms and businesses out there advertising for legal and estate planning services, many at an extremely low cost. It can be very difficult for unwary customers to tell the established reputable firms from the imposters and scam artists. When it comes to something as important as you and your family's financial future, it is worth taking the time to thoroughly investigate and research any estate planning service or company before trusting your time and money with them.

My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.

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