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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

Repeal FATCA: new life for critics of offshore tax legislation

There are unquestionably legions of hard-core proponents who readily extol the virtues of FATCA and want to see its legislative fiat persevere in the future.

Notably, though, most of those supporters are individuals, families and business owners with no assets held in overseas banks or other financial institutions.

Federal judge orders a halt to release of Prince's 'Deliverance'

Have you ever wondered what an estate representative's job would be if there were a potential for the estate to make additional income after the decedent's death? While an estate representative or executor isn't expected to be a financial wizard, he or she does need to take reasonable steps to maintain and, ideally, increase the value of the estate.

That issue just arose in regards to the estate of Prince Rogers Nelson, the internationally revered artist "Prince," who died one year ago today. His music is still earning money, but it was a particular song's value the estate is worried about at the moment.

Your baby's on the way: something you might want to consider now

Understandably, you need knowledgeable and on-point legal acumen brought to bear on your behalf if you are the scion of a family fortune with a strong eye on passing along great wealth to following generations.

Astute estate planning -- regarding inheritances, lawfully sheltering assets from taxation, establishing trusts for varied purposes, leaving your family's imprint on your community via a positive legacy, and additional matters -- is likely on your mind, and should be. Perhaps you have already acted by enlisting the help of a deeply experienced estate administration attorney, who has helped you craft a plan that is well tailored to your personal situation and makes optimal sense for you and your heirs.

Faithful companion: Can estate planning ensure care of a pet?

There was certainly a time when judges in California and across the country were uniformly disinclined in family law matters to spend more than a moment of time -- if any time at all -- considering the interests of Fido and/or Fluffy in a divorce matter. Pets were -- and still are -- deemed personal property. Courts have historically been a bit impatient with pet-related issues and averse to engaging in any best-interest analysis.

Things have been changing in recent years, though, and materially so, with courts and laws now generally conceding the importance of pets and the utility of legal instruments and arrangements geared toward ensuring their care under stated conditions.

What occurs during the probate process?

When a loved one passes away, you'll have many thoughts going through your mind. At some point, you must turn your attention to this person's estate plan.

Did they have a will or a trust? With a will, there is no way around the probate process. Instead, this will move to the forefront in the near future. Furthermore, it's required in order for the distribution of assets to take place.

What would Jimi Hendrix have thought of this estate battle?

With the 50th anniversary of famed rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix's death fast approaching, it would seem reasonable to assume that any legal uncertainty and attendant acrimony involving his estate would be eclipsed and fading fast in the rear-view mirror of time.

Not even close.

Charitable contributions: maybe your adviser should wear two hats

Although certified public accountants provide valuable assistance to their clients across a wide universe of financial matters having material tax-related implications, their services do not typically extend in equal fashion to the giving of reflective advice on estate planning and administration.

Conversely, proven estate planning attorneys are often invaluable advisers and strategists for individuals and families with concerns spanning the entire spectrum of estate-related issues, but their expertise in many cases falls short of advocacy relevant to complex tax considerations.

Estate planning in your 30s: Choosing a trustee

A growing number of younger individuals, such as those in their 30s, are beginning to take advantage of the many types of estate planning trusts.

In the past, most of these people turned their attention to a simple will. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, it's important to learn more about trusts before making a final decision on how to move forward.

Families and estate planning: you can't overvalue communication

Is there a malcontent in your family, say, a brother or sister who constantly complains of some perceived inequity in how he or she is treated vis a vis all the other siblings?

Or is there perhaps a sibling who, compared with other family members, always seems unduly sensitive and is easily hurt when a family decision affects him or her even slightly differently from other members?

Ending an estate battle prior to a total dissolution of assets

"In the ballpark" was the comment uttered by a now-deceased business tycoon some years back in response to an estimate of his net worth pegged at about $500 million.

That concurrence would be far off the mark today, though, if businessman Jeno Paulucci -- who died in 2011 at 93 years of age -- were still alive to voice it.

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