People in California may have seen a recent editorial about people who have had the good fortune to pass on their wealth to future generations, and the surprising backlash many people in the American public seem to have against their heirs. While many people are quick to criticize people who they feel haven't "earned" their wealth, it is obvious that common misconceptions have a lot to do with the reasons the public perception is so negative. After all, the American dream hinges on the ability to create success, and then share that success with loved ones and future generations.
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.
Readers of the blog here in California know that setting up a trust can be an excellent way to preserve and utilize money for a specific purpose, or a specific person. Many estate plans include at least one trust, and they are favored because of the peace of mind and stability they can provide. However, one integral person in the trust can often be overlooked: the trustee.
California residents, especially readers of this blog, are well-aware of the impending changes to the gift tax and the estate tax that will take place unless Congress acts quickly to pass new legislation before next year.
California movie fans mourned the 2010 death of iconic actor Dennis Hopper. Since his passing, however, various issues have clouded the administration of his estate. Hopper was married five times throughout his life and was in the process of divorcing his fifth wife at the time of his death.
Sacramento readers may not know the name of the fourth-wealthiest woman in the country, but the wealth she has come to possess has certainly had seen its share of controversy in the courtroom as well as the tabloids over the years.
California residents and readers of this blog have probably seen coverage of the controversy surrounding the estate of Michael Jackson. Three years after his death, however, much more remains to be done in the probate of his estate.
Californians recently witnessed one of the largest initial public offerings of stock in Silicon Valley history when California-based Facebook, Inc. went public. For some, like Facebook's co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and other insiders, the IPO will only add to their already considerable financial assets. These 20 and 30-year-old millionaires prove that estate planning is not only the concern of the elderly; indeed, minimizing estate taxes and maximizing asset protection are very much on their relatively young minds.
As previously noted on this blog, Michael Jackson's estate is one example of excellent estate administration that continues to manage the estate's assets and preserve the musician's legacy after his death. The Kinkade Family Trust has already proven essential in protecting the legacy of Thomas Kinkade and his estate's future earnings after the artist's sudden death on April 6 at his Northern California home.
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.