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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

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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.

Soul singer Etta James dies in California hospital

Legendary singer Etta James passed away on January 20, 2012, as she succumbed to complications due to leukemia. The world renowned singer--famous for songs such as "At Last" and "I'd Rather go Blind"--died at a Riverside, California hospital with her husband and two sons at her side.

Consider the estate of affairs in your succession plan, part 1

Some very large estates have been divided in California courts. But sound estate planning is not just for Hollywood millionaires, titans of industry, and masters of the universe. Every person needs to lay out a detailed plan, so that when the time comes to dispose of one's property, the process can be as free from strife and discord as possible. Most importantly, a strong estate plan will most fully effectuate the intent of the person who created it.

Estate taxes may rise in 2013

One of the concerns that California residents have when they do estate planning is the effects of federal taxes on their estate. At the moment, estate taxes have an exemption amount of $5 million with a top marginal rate of 35 percent, but that exemption is set to expire in 2013. If no action is taken by Congress, then the exemption will fall to $1 million and the top marginal rate will rise to 55 percent. So readers of this blog may be particularly interested in a piece of legislation by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington.The bill, called the Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011, was recently introduced a week before Thanksgiving. If passed, the bill would allow the top marginal tax rate to rise to 55 percent, as it would under current law. However, the bill also proposes that the current exemption amount be allowed to expire, and that the $1 million exemption be indexed for inflation starting in 2000. That would mean the exemption amount would fall from the current $5 million for individuals and $10 million for couples to $1.31 million for individuals and $2.61 million for couples.

Heiress estate plan leaves $33M to private nurse

When a person has a substantial estate to transfer upon their death, he or she will often utilize wills and trusts to handle many of the issues that they may face. Wills and trusts are often an excellent way to avoid probate court and to see that the deceased person's wishes are followed when it comes to asset protection. One Filipino woman who owns property in California and elsewhere understands the importance of estate planning as she is expected to inherit some $33 million from a wealthy recluse she had nursed for years.The massive inheritance that Hadassah Peri is expected to receive comes from Huguette Clark. Ms. Clark died at the age of 104 and is the daughter of a wealthy copper baron. She is perhaps best known for her reclusive behavior, having not been seen in public circles for an estimated 70 years. Mrs. Peri has been Clark's private nurse (and reportedly close personal friend) for over 20 years. She came to the United States in 1972 from the Philippines.

Portability provision aids estate planning

Even those California residents who are young and healthy may benefit from estate planning. A good estate plan will maximize the size of the estate while minimizing the potential tax consequences for one's heirs. Moreover, proper estate planning will reduce the need for litigation and help the estate to escape the probate process as much as possible.

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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