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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

Though leaner these days, IRS still packs an investigatory punch

According to one prominent national new source, “the IRS is a shadow of its former self.”

If you think that you might reasonably have some serious problems to deal with in the event of an agency audit, does that assessment make you feel any better?

Trust creation: It doesn’t have to be complicated

It is notable how select legal tools in various practice areas are sometimes misunderstood or underappreciated by individuals and families that could derive strong benefit from using them.

Consider the prenuptial agreement in family law, for example. It is often scorned for its perceived throttling of love in a relationship. Some couples regard its execution as a bet against marriage survivability. In fact, strong and broad-based utility attaches to the tool, with many couples who explore its tangibles ultimately seeing it as a planning device of considerable power.

Protracted estate legal battle re aged media titan finally ends

It doesn’t uniformly raise eyebrows when an individual appointed with decision-making powers concerning another person’s finances or health care questions the latter’s capacity. That actually happens routinely in California and across the country, often in cases where an agent spotlights alleged diminished capacity owing to extreme age and related factors.

Those eyebrows figuratively noted above will flutter, though, in select instances.

To avoid disputes, leave the kids a will

It's shocking how many people pass away with no estate plan and no will. Obviously, everyone will pass away at some time. We all know it. Anyone with assets knows it's coming and they know that an estate plan can make it go smoothly. But they just don't do it.

Take, for example, the singer Aretha Franklin. She was an icon. She passed away last year, and it turned out that she didn't even have a will. If you thought that only those without much in the way of assets would skip this important step, think again. Many of the world's rich and famous make the same mistake.

Keeping it private: dealing with high-asset family estate squabbles

Most people value their privacy, and that is certainly true for members of well-heeled families who understandably don’t want the details of their assets closely chronicled in media tabloids.

There are of course many sound and tailored strategies that a proven estate administration attorney well versed in working with wealthy families can do to promote privacy and sound outcomes in the asset-planning realm. It goes without saying, though, that the base effectiveness of an estate plan is closely linked with the input that legal counsel receives from family members on key matters.

Some art collectors understandably have estate planning concerns

Can you sense it?

Although many of our readers might not perceive it in any manifestly overt way, they nonetheless can intuit that there is an unprecedented amount of cash and other assets being shifted around presently. The movement owes to vast amounts of wealth owned by baby boomer individuals and couples now intent on passing it along to future generations.

Taxes often a spiked concern for Americans with foreign holdings

It’s complicated.

When it comes to Americans and their filing of taxes, it’s always been complicated. Indeed, the United States tax regime is known worldwide for its comparative intricacies and exactions.

Considerations re having the estate planning “talk” with parents

Don’t exactly relish broaching the topic of estate planning with one or both of your parents?

Well, join the crowd. A recent Forbes article addressing that subject matter cites study findings indicating that most adult children “don’t feel it is their place to bring it up” with mom and/or dad. They prefer waiting for their parents to take the lead.

It's not easy to pick which child will take over your business

Imagine that you have two children. For decades, you have run a family business. It is your pride and joy, not to mention your main source of income. You want to pass that business on to one of your kids when you pass away.

Your first child is smart and well-educated, but they lack dedication. They're more interested in pursuing hobbies and enjoying life. While you don't feel like that's a mistake, per se, it does make you think that child is not the ideal person to run your business. They simply won't have the drive and won't put in the hours.

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