CA Estate Planning Blog

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Death in the Digital Age: I Don’t Want “Likes” After I Die

Many of us think nothing of sharing our lives with our friends and family members via social media. It is an easy way to keep up with acquaintances that have moved away, and a much easier way to share photos than pulling out a bunch of dusty albums or, like your grandparents did-- setting up the slide projector. But have you ever thought about what is going to happen to all the stuff you post on the internet after you die?

The internet, and social media in particular, are such a relatively new phenomenon that few people have included instructions for the disposition of their digital assets in their estate plans. Fortunately, this is starting to change as people pass away with more and more ties to the digital world.


Facebook now has a setting that allows you to delegate the power to shut down your account or turn it into a memorial page.

Read more . . .

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Posh Pup in Legal Battle

In 2010, an economics professor named Patricia Bowers passed away. She had no children, so she left most of her modest estate to organizations she cared about. $100,000, however, was set aside to care for her dachshund “Winnie the Pooh” for the rest of the dog’s life.

Fast forward to today, and what should be a simple pet care trust is causing a lot of legal drama. The woman who cares for Winnie claims that the dog’s expenses are not being paid for by the trust, and is demanding an accounting from the attorney administering the estate.

Read more . . .

Saturday, August 20, 2016

When Planning for Retirement Includes Planning for Business Succession

How prepared are most small business owners for retirement?

According to a recent Census Bureau report, by 2029, when all baby boomers will be at least 65 years old, they will represent 20 percent of the population of the U.S. Economists estimate that 10 million small-business owners plan to sell or close their businesses over the next 10 years in order to fund their retirement. There are indications that up to 65 percent of businesses sold during the past years were sold by baby boomers.

Since this trend is expected to continue, the economic landscape of the country is expected to transform.

Read more . . .

Sunday, July 31, 2016

California Budget Limits Medi-Cal’s Ability to Seize Estates

When you die, you probably hope to pass on whatever assets you have left to your family and friends. But did you know that the State of California might end up seizing your estate depending on what sort of healthcare benefits you received from the government before you died?

Many people enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program do not realize that without a proper estate plan in place, they may end up leaving nothing to their family and friends because the state will take and sell off all their possessions to pay itself back for money it spent on healthcare costs.

Fortunately, starting January 1, a new provision included in the recent state budget will limit the ability of the state to seize estates.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

6 Events Which May Require a Change in Your Estate Plan

6 Events Which May Require a Change in Your Estate Plan

Creating a Will is not a one-time event. You should review your will periodically, to ensure it is up to date, and make necessary changes if your personal situation, or that of your executor or beneficiaries, has changed. There are a number of life-changing events that require your Will to be revised, including:

Change in Marital Status: If you have gotten married or divorced, it is imperative that you review and modify your Will. With a new marriage, you must determine which assets you want to pass to your new spouse or step-children, and how that may relate to the beneficiary interest of your own children. Following a divorce it is a good practice to revise your Will, to formally remove the ex-spouse as a beneficiary.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Essentials of Estate Planning

What areas should my estate plan cover?

Estate plans have an important purpose: to protect your assets and your family in the event of your incapacity or death. Though not pleasant to think about, creating a comprehensive estate plan to manage unpredictable future occurrences is a gift for those you love. Not only will it keep them safe, it will help to prevent possible conflicts among family members. Of course, in order to construct a durable estate plan it is crucial to work closely with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Read more . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Purple One’s Probate Problems

The Purple One’s Probate Problems

When Prince passed away earlier spring we lost a truly amazing musician. His music and showmanship were groundbreaking, but so too were his ideas about the rights of recording artists. Over the years he has been in court probably more than any other musician out there, fighting for control of his work product. He even famously changed his name to an unpronounceable “love symbol” during a legal battle in the 1990s.

In more recent years, he fought a constant battle against people who attempted to upload his songs and image to the internet.

Read more . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Using Life Insurance Trusts and Related Taxes in Estate Planning

Is it practical to use life insurance trusts in estate planning?

The terms of using life insurance trusts in estate planning have changed in several ways over the last two decades. Whereas 20 years ago the exemption from the federal gift and estate tax was $600,000 and estate planners routinely advised their clients with life insurance policies to implement a trust to hold them, now that the exemption has increased to $5.45 million, such trusts are not implemented as frequently.

A life insurance trust refers to an irrevocable trust designed to take title of a life insurance policy during the insured's lifetime in order to protect that policy from being considered part of the owner's assets.  By creating such a trust, the imposition of federal estate tax on the policy is prevented.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

FAQ Concerning California's New Revocable Transfer on Death Deed

In September of last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law House Bill 139 -- creating a new type of deed designed to help expedite the probate process. Specifically, the “revocable transfer on death deed” was created to simplify the probate process for surviving family members, effectively allowing valuable real estate to pass to heirs outside of the probate court. The following answers some of the most frequently-asked questions about this new estate planning tool.

FAQ #1: What led to the creation of the revocable transfer on death deed?

To understand the the revocable transfer on death deed, it helps to better understand the traditional methods of transferring real estate prior to its introduction. When a person dies owning real estate, there were generally three ways in which the home could transfer to the intended beneficiaries: (i) via joint tenancy with the right of survivorship; (ii) through the directives in a Will or Trust, or (iii) by intestate succession as laid out in the California Probate Code.

Read more . . .

Monday, May 16, 2016

Estate Planning for Women

Why is estate planning particularly important for women?

Whatever your age, gender or financial status, you should engage in estate planning. Nonetheless, experts tell us that estate planning often is more important for women, partly because it is one of the only aspects of taking responsibility that women tend to ignore. According to Patricia Annino, author of Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning, women, at least in our culture, are psychologically oriented toward taking care of others, rather than themselves. Even though estate planning will eventually benefit their loved ones, they tend to be focused on, even preoccupied with, meeting the daily needs of those around them, postponing essential planning for the future.

 What factors make estate planning essential for women in particular?

As most of us are aware, statistics show that women live, on average, 7 years longer than their mates.

Read more . . .

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