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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Estate Planning Archives

Making the most of the estate tax exemption


Residents in California know that estate planning can be very complicated. This is especially true due to increasing taxes and a number of changes to state and federal law that make shielding your hard-earned money from unnecessary taxation extremely difficult. Estate planning isn't a one-time deal. It's something that people with substantial estates need to take seriously and revisit frequently, especially as their personal and family situation evolves. The changes in California and federal law leave the unaware vulnerable to massive tax increases.

James Gandolfini's will comes under the microscope


People in California probably know about James Gandolfini, the actor most-well-known for his turn as Tony Soprano on the hit television show. When he unexpectedly died at the relatively young age of 51, people mourned the loss of this talented man, but soon afterwards the attention turned to the controversies surrounding his estate plan.

Same-sex marriage to continue in California


People in California know that the Supreme Court handed down a tremendously important decision last month overturning Proposition 8. Proposition 8, the voter initiative that outlawed same-sex marriages within the state, was effectively nullified by the Supreme Court's decision, which has now cleared the way for same-sex marriages to legally resume all over California.

Debt onset later in life increases need for estate planning

People in California know that the Great Recession has been hard on many families, as unemployment rates have skyrocketed, and tax increases have resulted in a tremendous decimation of wealth across nearly every generation. People may be surprised to find out that older Americans have received a disproportionately high amount of this burden.

Saving for retirement and future generations

People in California are forced with a lot of tough choices as they decide how to save their money. Obviously, people want to protect as much of their money from unnecessary taxation as possible, but because every person's situation is different, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all estate plan. When it comes to retirement, the next generation of retirees has some scary realities to face, but with the right estate planning strategies, they may just be able to create a healthier financial situation than they thought possible.

Estate planning can help combat tax-related worries

People in California choose to live in the Golden State for many personal and practical reasons. While the quality of life for many here is indeed quite high, Californians pay dearly for these benefits when it comes to taxes. Across the 50 states in the U.S., California has the distinction of having the highest gasoline tax, highest sales tax and highest income tax for high earners. In addition to those staggering figures, California has the nation's highest energy costs, and housing in California is 2.7 times more expensive than in Texas, which can put an even bigger dent into residents' bottom lines at the end of the day.

Making estate planning a family affair

Many people in California have concerns about wills, estates and trusts but often feel they are too busy to do anything about it. After all, most people don't reach a level of financial success and responsibility by spending too much idle time. It is also common for people, to make another serious mistake when it comes to estate planning: They don't spend enough time discussing their estate plan with their heirs and loved ones.

State laws can have serious implications for trust taxation

People in California and readers of the blog know that there are a number of tools available to estate planners looking to maximize their assets for the good of their heirs or favorite charities. However, what many people do not realize is that state laws can have serious estate planning implications, especially when state tax agencies come to exact their pound of flesh.

Sixteenth Amendment reaches 100th birthday

Readers of this blog may have seen the recent piece about Phil Mickelson's frustration with the California state income tax. He's certainly not the only one complaining, as income taxes have steadily increased over the last several years and certainly seem likely to continue to grow in the foreseeable future. Death and taxes, the two things that are inevitable in this life, as the saying goes, also are the two things that make having an estate plan absolutely essential for people looking to protect their assets and avoid unnecessary taxation.

Estate planning crucial when facing higher taxes

California sports hero and worldwide golf superstar Phil Mickelson had some choice words about the new state and federal income tax rates he, as one of the highest-paid athletes in the world, will be forced to pay as a California resident. That is, if he remains in California at all. Mickelson has expressed his frustration with the increase in the state income tax, as he recently saw his tax rate increase from 10 percent to 13 percent.

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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