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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Posts tagged "estate planning"

Income inequality and estate planning in California


Income inequality has become a major topic of political discussion in California and across the United States. Over the past couple of years, the media has published countless articles about the amount of wealth controlled by a small percentage of Americans. And, in this presidential election year, one candidate has staked his campaign on the issue: Bernie Sanders.

How can capital gains taxes affect estate planning?


Avoiding unnecessary taxation has long been one of the primary goals of drafting an estate plan for California residents. As we noted in a recent post, the federal gift and estate tax exemption will increase to $5.45 million on January 1, continuing an upward trend that began about a decade ago. As a result of the relatively high gift and estate tax exclusion, estate taxes are not a major concern for a large number of people.

Why consult an estate planning attorney?


The primary reason to prepare an estate plan is to ensure that your assets are passed on to those you want to receive them. If you die without a will or trust in California, your estate will be distributed according to the state's intestacy laws. Our law firm understands that this could result in an unwanted situation because this could mean your assets end up going to distant and possibly unknown relatives, rather than the people you would have chosen.

2016 is a good year to prepare an estate plan


Many individuals in Northern California have been meaning to get around to estate planning for some time. Some people may make it their New Year's resolution to prepare an estate plan in 2016. Preparing an estate plan is extremely important for those who wish to avoid probate and have their assets distributed according to their wishes. For those who plan to prepare an estate plan in 2016, there are a few things of which to be aware.

The many goals of estate planning in California


The term "estate planning" refers generally to the process of making preparations for the management of one's assets in the event of incapacity, and the distribution of assets to heirs and beneficiaries upon death. There are several important goals that should be considered by any California resident entering into the estate planning process.

Estate plans are not just for the ultra-wealthy


Most of us do not know how to relate to the financial power of the super-wealthy. Whether they earned their money from the entertainment industry, in the tech sector, or through another path to substantial earnings, some California residents possess assets and wealth that dwarf those of our friends and ourselves. To us, it may make sense for individuals of extreme wealth to have estate plans: they need to know that their assets will not be lost after their deaths. We may not, however, see the same level of urgency in estate planning with regard to protecting our own modest savings in comparison to the affluence experienced by others.

Naming beneficiaries is an important part of estate planning


As we discussed in last week's post, under California law there are some assets in an estate that will pass to beneficiaries independently of the instructions in a will or trust. These non-probate assets include funds or securities in bank accounts, investment accounts and some retirement accounts. In most cases, these assets will pass to a beneficiary named in the account agreement when the original account owner dies.

Every California estate plan should include a living will


When most Californians think about estate planning, they probably think about wills, trusts and the disposition of one's property after death. But careful estate planning also includes planning for the possibility of becoming incapacitated during one's lifetime. One of the most important tools in planning for incapacity is the living will, also known as an advance health care directive.

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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