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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Estate Planning Archives

Divorce revokes transfers to a spouse in a will or trust


It is a good idea to review personal legal documents included in an individual's estate every few years. Families go through changes including death, divorce and remarriage. Sometimes laws change, and a provision in an old will or trust may have consequences that were not intended at the time the document was prepared.

California remarriage? Time for a new estate plan


Californians with children from a previous marriage should seriously consider updating their estate plan when they remarry. California parents in blended families often want to leave most of their estate to their children, but also provide for their current spouse. There are a lot of ways in which a remarried parent can achieve these goals. One strategy is a QTIP trust, in which the parent's surviving spouse is given a life interest in the couple's home and other assets. When the surviving spouse passes away, the home and other assets in the trust are distributed to the children.

What constitutes a valid will?


Throughout their lives, many Americans may acquire assets and wealth such as a house, recreational toys, and investments. Unfortunately, no one can live forever, and tomorrows are never guaranteed. With that in mind, it is important to draft a will to insure that all assets acquired get passed along to the right people.

A basic estate plan does not have to be complicated


Many people have put estate planning into the category of things they will get around to someday in the future. They may be under the impression that estate planning is a complicated process that takes a lot of work. However, for most California residents, preparing an estate plan can be fairly straightforward.

Rock star who died without estate plan leaves family destitute


Most people in California probably assume that rock stars' financial lives are handled by legions of lawyers and accountants who make sure their clients' wealth is safely invested and their posterity provided for. This is not always the case, however. As a recent news story illustrates, even those with substantial wealth sometimes fail to take the basic steps to make sure their families are protected from an untimely death.

Same-sex couples may want to update their estate planning


Now that same-sex marriage is here to stay in California, LGBT couples who have tied the knot can enjoy the same legal advantages available to all married couples when it comes to estate planning. Many same-sex married couples have no estate plan in place at all; others may have done some planning before marriage was possible. Either way, couples that are now married have an opportunity to update their estate plans to take advantage of tax and other laws that benefit married couples.

Does California have an estate or inheritance tax?


People who are starting the estate planning process often wonder about the potential estate or inheritance tax implications. For most individuals in California, this is no longer a major concern. California has no estate tax for individuals who died on or after January 1, 2005 and has no inheritance tax for those who died on or after June 8, 1982. The federal estate tax is now only a concern for individuals with significant wealth.

Avoiding probate is a major goal of California estate planning


Probate is the court-supervised process of estate administration and property distribution after an individual dies. In California, probate can be a lengthy and expensive process. Legal fees - which are based on the size of the estate - and court costs can eat up a significant portion of any estate. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid probate in California with some careful estate planning.

A power of appointment can be a useful estate planning tool


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.

Estate planning as a vital community function


People who call the Sacramento area home know that a community is built one family at a time, and when people work together for mutual financial prosperity the community is strengthened. That is the philosophy of Michael Sawamura, who has made Sacramento his home and puts the needs of his clients first and foremost. He believes in the Sacramento community and wants to see his friends and neighbors prosper. By offering sound legal and financial strategies for estate planning to his clients, he has done just that for the last 25 years.

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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