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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

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Domestic partners may benefit from estate planning


California is one of a handful of states across the country that recognize the rights of same-sex couples, but for people who are in domestic partnerships in California, the fact is that they still face some unique challenges when it comes to transferring assets, protecting heirs and ensuring that their estate plans give them the protections that they seek. Michael Sawamura, an estate planning attorney in Sacramento and Northern California, understands these challenges and is committed to helping clients in domestic partnerships achieve the results they desire.

Leaving an IRA for an heir can be complex


People in California may have seen a recent article about the issues involved in leaving an IRA to a person other than a spouse. For many people, an IRA or other retirement account is among their largest and most valuable assets, so it makes sense that people would want their beneficiaries to be able to enjoy this after they are gone. However, a recent Supreme Court case has posed some obstacles that people in this position should be aware of.

What a trust can do for you


California residents may have seen the recent blog post regarding the California statutory will, which is the most basic, fill-in-the-blanks will that a person with few estate planning needs can use. While this will could actually be useful in a pinch, it provides almost no flexibility in regards to the terms of the will, and those who need to modify it may end up accidentally nullifying the will entirely in the process. For those reasons alone, a statutory will is almost never recommended for people with anything beyond the most simplistic estate planning needs.

Repairing a trust may be a better alternative to starting over


When something is broken, the solution most people in California think of is fixing it. When a car breaks down, most people take it to the auto shop. When an appliance stops running, most people call a professional to come take a closer look. Very rarely is the best solution to throw out the old car or refrigerator and just buy a new one.

Trusts are a must for California complex estates


People in California have a lot of uncertainty about the future, especially when unpredictable natural disasters strike. When tragic and scary events happen, it is human nature for people to feel helpless and fragile in their own mortality. When confronting these very difficult issues, some people may take solace in the fact that their legacy, including the financial well-being of their loved ones, is well planned. We cannot predict or avoid certain tragedies, but we can control what happens to our possessions, our loved ones and our own bodies, in the event of an incapacitating injury.

Robin Williams left financial support for his children


People were stunned and saddened to hear about the death of one of the world's most innovative comedic minds earlier this month. Robin Williams' suicide was completely unexpected to most people, even those who knew him best. His family, friends and fans will mourn the loss for years to come, but even in light of this tragedy people can add "good family provider" to the list of things for which Williams will be remembered.

Trust funds don't necessarily lead to spoiled kids


People in California may have heard that the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman declined to set up any trusts for his three children, saying he didn't want them to be "trust fund kids." Recently, the musician Sting said essentially the same thing. With this recent negative celebrity press for trusts, it might appear to a casual onlooker that wanting financial security for your children is somehow a bad thing. Sure, most people would want to avoid enabling a stereotype "trust fund kid," but just because a child or heir has a little financial security or jumpstart is by no means a sentence condemning them to a lifetime of coddling and laziness.

With new tax laws, do Californians need credit shelter trusts?


By this time of the year, most Sacramento residents will have received all the forms and paperwork necessary to file their income taxes for 2013. Some may find windfall refunds awaiting them; others will be less lucky and end up owing money to the state of California and to Uncle Sam. But while the subject of taxes is fresh in the minds of local residents, it is worth noting that there are options available for those wondering how to reduce federal taxes on their estates.

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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