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.
There are many ways a person can pass wealth on to descendants. One of these is the trust, which comes in a wide variety of forms to suit a person's needs. Trusts can be particularly useful if a person has minor children or other young descendants who could benefit from receiving their inheritance once they become older and more financially mature.
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.