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.
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.
Residents in California who are planning for the well-being of their future generations and heirs probably have a lot of common goals. For one, they want their heirs to be able to enjoy their inherited assets, whether it be a taste of the good life or a little extra something to help them make their ends meet or send their kids to college. Moreover, they probably want to avoid punitive taxes on the assets and property they plan to leave for their heirs and beneficiaries.
People have probably heard it from the time they earn their first paycheck, "You need to start saving for retirement!" There is wisdom in these words, but unfortunately, there are many other facts of life that make this advice difficult to follow at times. Residents of Sacramento have student loans to pay off, rent to pay, and anything they actually can save for is probably for something short-term, such as a house, vacation or a new car.
When it comes to planning for end-of-life matters and determining where to leave one's assets after death, a lot of people have the same question, "Do I need professional estate planning?" Chances are, they do. Regardless of a person's assets and the complexity of their financial situation, may folks can benefit from professional estate planning services from an experienced California estate planning attorney.
Comedy and entertainment pioneer Joan Rivers left a legacy of laughter and success to her family, as evidenced by the $150 million estate she left behind to family and loved ones. What nobody is laughing about, however, is the fact that an apparent ambiguity in her estate planning documents could end up costing her estate millions in state estate taxes, depending on the outcome of the case.
Every December, people in California and across the U.S. prepare to gather with friends and family to celebrate the holidays. While most people are focused on catching up with one another and enjoying their time together, it is also a great opportunity to have important discussions with loved ones. People with estate planning issues may want to consider taking some time this holiday season to address their estate plan issues with potential heirs and family members. With the right approach, the holidays can be the perfect time to address this delicate, but important, subject.
As Californians get older and plan for the next phase of their lives, they have lots of things to consider. Not the least of these worries is planning and providing for spouses, children and even grandchildren. Not surprisingly, this gives rise to a whole other list of concerns, including retirement planning, assisted living planning, end of life decisions, asset protection and a host of other financial decisions that must be addressed.
Residents in California may have read an interesting editorial article in the Wall Street Journal recently, dealing with the questions that many couples without children face when they're considering their estate plan. Without children, and the possibility of children in the future, some couples might get the false sense of security that their estate plan isn't as urgent, but having an estate plan is just as essential for people with no kids as it is for people with 10 kids.
People in California who want to be able to leave a lasting legacy after their death need to have an estate plan. Whether a person has a substantial estate or only a few financial resources, having an estate plan, including a will, trusts, and other necessary legal documents, is the only way that people can ensure their assets are distributed, and their wishes are honored, after their passing. Whether it's setting up an education trust fund for a grandchild or leaving a piece of real estate to a favorite charity, everyone needs an estate plan.