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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

3 things to do to minimize probate battles after you die

Now that your children are adults, you might expect that they would be able to handle dividing up your things and taking care of your final arrangements without a lot of conflict. This might not be the case, even if your adult children get along. Money and assets are often the sources of contention when adult children handle their parent's estate. You can take steps now to minimize the chance of a battle over your estate occurring when you die.

Family costs for mom and dad: often exceeding outlays for kids

A writer and advocate for the elderly notes what he describes as a stark dichotomy regarding the financial outlays made by legions of families across the United States for different purposes.

Those dual purposes: child-rearing up to the age of 17 and providing care for aging parents, respectively.

When dad's 100 and still hasn't transferred assets

Seminars in California locales and elsewhere in the United States occasionally pop up to address centenarians and estate planning.

We reference the impressive "100" number in today's post headline. In doing so, we implicitly acknowledge the number of ever growing entrants on the list of America's oldest people, as well as the implications their age can easily have on family estate planning.

Big winner in Prince's estate outcome: the IRS

A commentator in a news article from earlier this week discussing the convoluted estate of pop legend Prince -- it's probably unobjectionable to anyone to simply call the Purple One's estate a mess -- notes that there are essentially three entities involved in many estate matters. Namely, those are family and close acquaintances, charitable organizations and government tax authorities, respectively.

Guess which one prevailed big time once the smoke finally cleared regarding the details of the famed performer's estate?

Spotlighting an integrated approach to estate planning

When it comes to effective estate planning, should the bottom line be predominantly focused on maximizing or minimizing?

Many readers of our blog likely know that the answer to that query is going to be anything but absolute, given all the ifs, buts and maybes prevalent in the legal universe.

Do you trust the person who has your power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone to act on your behalf, and it's considered an essential tool of modern estate planning.

The intention behind a POA is to give someone the ability to take over handling your affairs when you are unable to do so. The vast majority of the time, POAs are used when someone is ill or incapacitated in some way. For example, if you have severe mobility issues, it may be difficult for you to handle a task like your banking in person. If you give a trusted relative your POA, he or she can do that on your behalf. If you ever become a victim of dementia, a POA can save you from being defrauded or making your own serious financial errors.

If you have offshore accounts, you might want to read this

Some California readers of our estate planning and litigation blog (with occasional entries addressing offshore-related accounts and taxpayer/IRS interactions) might reasonably conjure up the oft-referenced image of an ostrich with its head buried in the sand when perusing a recent Forbes tax-focused article.

That article -- which is obviously timely and closely relevant for select filers, given the rapid approach of the filing season for 2016 taxes -- focuses upon American taxpayers holding some portion of their wealth in foreign banks or other institutions offshore.

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