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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Estate Planning Archives

Voters in California pass Proposition 30 to raise taxes on rich

One of the major differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney was their opinions on how to handle taxation of the middle and upper class. Obama favors an increased tax rate for the wealthiest Americans, and not surprisingly, Democrat-dominated California voted to increase the state tax rate on earners in the higher tax brackets. People earning between $250,000 and $300,000 will now pay 10.3 percent in state income tax. Those earning $1 million and more will now pay 13.3 percent, which is a 3 percent increase.

Same-sex couples may face more estate planning concerns

A recent news article discussed the issues that California same-sex couples may face when it comes to making sure that they and their loved ones are fully protected financially. Same-sex couples can face more difficulties than heterosexual married couples when it comes to filing taxes, collecting insurance, contributing to retirement plans, collecting social security benefits and even going through probate, so LGBT couples need to take additional care when it comes to estate planning.

Deadline for decrease in estate tax exemption approaches

Our readers in the Sacramento area have surely heard about the impending federal estate tax break which is set to expire on Jan. 1, 2013. Anyone concerned about estate planning and avoiding unnecessary taxation should consider acting immediately to take advantage of the expiring estate tax exemption, as it could mean saving a significant amount of money down the line.

Court holds Marilyn Monroe estate not owed royalties

Sacramento readers may be interested to learn that earlier this month the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the estate of Marilyn Monroe could neither stop the sale of images of the deceased actress nor collect royalties from sales by the Milton Green Archives. Under California law a person who is a legal resident of the state may be entitled to posthumous publicity rights, including the right to control images and likenesses of the deceased. For the California rich and famous, this is one estate planning consideration that could have repercussions for decades after a person's death.

Before giving assets away to avoid gift tax, visit an appraiser

In addressing their estate plans, some California residents have probably heard about the gift tax exemption, which is scheduled to change dramatically at the beginning of 2013 unless Congress takes legislative action. One of the most important aspects of estate planning is asset protection, and for individuals and couples looking to avoid unnecessary taxation, the gift tax exemption is of critical importance.

Son of Mary and Robert Kennedy Jr. named administrator

The estate administration process involving the late Mary Kennedy's estate has taken a step forward, as the son of Mary and Robert Kennedy Jr. has been appointed as the administrator of the estate. Conor Kennedy, the couple's eldest son, turned 18 in late July and on the same day requested the court to name him as the administrator of his mother's $2.1 million estate.

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.

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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