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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Estate Planning Archives

How to talk to heirs about an inheritance

Californians may be interested by a recent New York Times piece on the predicament of parents and children who have experienced the turmoil of inheriting a large sum of money. While this certainly seems like a very fortunate problem to have, some heirs have claimed that the lack of communication regarding a potential inheritance has left them ill-equipped to handle the responsibility and burdensome expectations that may accompany that money, with the consequences being irresponsible financial management and family discord. Proper estate planning may be the answer, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to familial communication.

California court creates inheritance rights for same-sex partner

The California Court of Appeals has recognized for the first time that an unmarried same-sex partner may have what is known in legal language as expectation of inheritance. That result was reached in the ongoing inheritance case of a late California man and his partner, which may change the landscape of probate law in the state.

Potential 2013 tax increases would affect many in California

Sacramento residents may want to prepare themselves for a tax hike next year. According to Republicans, in 2013 we will see the largest tax increase in U.S. history. From a pure dollars and cents perspective this is true, but when measured as a percentage of gross domestic product and compared to other years, it quickly loses this label. The increases would represent roughly 2.6 percent of GDP.

Include digital assets in estate plans to avoid confusion

California residents are living more and more of their lives online. Many areas of law have evolved in response to the popularity of online activities. But laws governing what happens to a person's online assets--which can include blogs, email accounts and social media pages--in the event of that person's death are still developing. This lack of definite legal standards may cause problems for heirs.

Estate planners advise taking advantage of gift-tax exemption

Without federal legislative intervention before the New Year, the current generous gift tax exemption of $5.12 million could revert to $1 million. People in Sacramento seeking to pass along their financial assets might want to calculate the effect a vastly reduced exemption threshold could have on their estate plan. Many estate planning advisors are encouraging wealthy clients to take advantage of the current higher limits now in order to avoid unnecessary taxation.

People in California should be aware of effect of estate taxes

A well-worn maxim tells us that death and taxes are the only two things of which we can be certain. Under particular circumstances, we can also be certain that the occurrence of the former will trigger the latter. Everyone should be aware of the estate tax, but especially those whose estates stand to be diminished because they exceed a specified dollar threshold. Proper estate planning can help avoid unnecessary taxation.

California residents should update estate plans as need arises

In drafting an estate plan, people must give rational and careful thought to how they want their property distributed. Then they must account for the effect that applicable laws and rules will have on that plan. Fortunately, an estate plan can be closely tailored to comply with the laws and fulfill a person's intent.

Estate of Marilyn Monroe's makeup artist to sell off photographs

Marilyn Monroe's life on and off the screen captivated people in California and across the country. Her enduring fame is proved by the recent movie, My Week with Marilyn, which earned lead actress Michelle Williams an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. But other examples of Monroe's continued popularity abound.

Baby Boomers and their parents face estate planning challenges

The first wave of the Baby Boomer generation has only recently reached the traditional retirement age of 65. Their parents, the generation that was steeled by the Great Depression and fought in World War II and Korea, are in their 80s and 90s. Each generation has faced its particular obstacles, but they are united in the challenge they currently confront: how to create an effective estate plan.

Consider the estate of affairs in your succession plan, part 2

Last week we discussed the importance of being proactive in developing a California estate plan to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of a sudden illness or accident. But that is merely the first step in the process. Executing a will and then placing it in a safety deposit box to accumulate dust is not a strong estate plan.

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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