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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

Cakes, candles, parties and … due reflection on estate planning

Investment News editor and financial planner Mary Beth Franklin ended up with a key take away from her husband's recent 65th birthday that she didn't remotely suspect would materialize amidst the festivities.

And that was this: that figurative and literal coming-of-age party triggered "numerous age-related decisions regarding health care and estate planning."

Offshore tax evasion: obviously, a top-tier priority for the IRS

"Follow the money."

Those were the words uttered recently by a top IRS official within the agency's Criminal Investigation division (CI) concerning government attempts to track down alleged tax evaders with money secreted away in foreign accounts.

Billie Lourd to inherit a vast estate

In a recent article published for Rolling Stone magazine, actress Billie Lourd revealed that she always lived in her mother’s and grandmother’s shadows. For the unititiated, Lourd’s famous mother and grandmother are Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, respectively.

The two passed away within a day of each other in December 2016. Fisher was best remembered as the iconic Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise of movies. Debbie Reynolds was known for her numerous movie and television roles from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “The Golden Girls.”

Updating your estate plan: a continuing look at this "must do" task

We stressed in our immediately preceding blog post the logical need for individuals and families in California and across the country to periodically revisit the estate plans they carefully crafted in the past. We noted in our July 27 entry that the financial strategies and detailed expectations inherent in given estate administration documents and tools need to be adjusted sometimes "when the world around us changes."

And, of course, that world changes often, and in fundamental ways, for most planners, regardless of how hard they try to implement financial plans that will comprehensively and permanently address life's ongoing and material modifications.

Your rights as a surviving spouse

Most states, including California, have laws in place to protect surviving spouses and other potential heirs to a decedent's property. This means that if one spouse dies, the other still has inheritance rights even if a will was never written or an existing will never updated.

If you find yourself in a position where you are worried about your rights as a surviving spouse, it is important to remember that California, as a community property state, will generally support your claim to one half of the marital property you and your husband acquired during the marriage. Read further to find out more about inheritance law and your rights.

When and why you should update your estate plan

Estate plans are not static. Everyone wishes that they were -- that we could just create them and forget about them, and that the plans themselves would adapt to life changes and legal changes over time. But that Utopian world doesn't exist. We have to change our estate plans, and often, when the world around us changes.

So what are some examples of events that warrant a review of your estate plan? Let's take a look at a few common ones:

Thicke estate litigation update: things seem less than clear

The California judge slated to rule this upcoming September on a dismissal motion filed last week by Tanya Thicke might have things clearly in mind and fully pieced together by then, being capable of weighing in definitively and with full confidence on the matter.

On the other hand …

Elder law planning: more than about thwarting rising medical costs

Many articles and commentaries on so-called "elder law" estate planning stress its utility in guarding against skyrocketing nursing care costs, especially in residential homes.

As a proven estate planning law firm that routinely provides diligent representation to California seniors across the entirety of estate administration concerns, we readily concede that a core focus of many of our elder clients and their families is precisely centered on cost controls in the health care realm.

Your will is going to trump a beneficiary designation, right?

Any reasonable California resident is likely going to feel an uptick of peace and relief in the immediate wake of working with a proven estate planning attorney and implementing a well-tailored strategy for protecting loved ones and addressing future contingencies.

A seasoned legal professional will be sure to look broadly and comprehensively at all elements that are materially relevant to an optimal planning outcome when working with a client. A key goal in that process is to ensure that they are fully and smartly addressed and integrated into an administration strategy that truly promotes a planner's best interests.

3 common causes of fights over an estate

Your loved one is getting older, and the last thing you want to see is a family fighting over the inheritances and estate left behind. There are many reasons that people fight over estates. Some disputes come out of nowhere, but it's more likely that they have been brewing for some time.

Here are three common reasons that estate disputes occur and what you can do to avoid them. With some preparation, you can preserve the wishes of your loved one while reducing the risk of conflict.

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