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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

Loving and caring for a cherished companion via a pet trust

The current health pandemic has obviously upended the lives of millions of American families in material ways.

Ironically, though, it has also been the catalyst for home improvement on at least one front for legions of families spanning the country. Since the inception of stay-home guidelines earlier this spring, shelters and other providers have reported a steady decline in the number of animals in their facilities. It turns out that individuals and families from California to Maine have been adopting pets by the millions during the national health scare.

Factors indicating that you might want to revisit your estate plan

It is a reality in the estate planning world that many individuals and families delay paying attention to key matters inviting timely input because they simply don't want to think about end-of-life concerns and death.

Why are so many Americans living abroad frustrated with the IRS?

Reportedly, about 70% of all Americans who live outside the United States have a problem with the country’s taxation scheme.

Bottom line: They don’t think they should be required to pay taxes at all.

Perceived need for estate planning haste during an uncertain time

A recent national media piece on estate planning notes the general angst that many individuals across the country feel these days owing to the current health pandemic.

Admittedly, coronavirus is a scary thing. Its arrival was unexpected and its anticipated tenure unknown. It has proved resistant to initial would-be fixes and stands as an adversary yet to be tamed.

Avoid the gift tax in life and minimize conflict after your death

Parents who want to avoid disputes after their passing have at least one great option that they can use to do prevent them. It's a simple solution: giving gifts while they're still alive.

While parents may want to leave inheritances to their children, it's a good idea to consider giving financial gifts (or assets) to their children while they're still alive. Doing this makes it clear what their intentions are and that they are providing a certain gift to a specific child.

IRS projecting compliance and a tough enforcement stance

A recent Forbes piece spotlighting the Internal Revenue Service notes news of recent years stressing a progressively weakened tax agency. The IRS is increasingly portrayed as a handcuffed agency featuring a steady reduction of agents/examiners, a decreased audit rate and general unresponsiveness.

Many agencies might merit such a smack to their historical pedigree and perceived credibility, but only if they are underperforming and generally powerless.

Some thoughts on wealth transfer across generations


We continue today with subject matter we introduced and generally touched upon in a recent blog post. Namely, that is asset transfer from one generation to the next, a topic that understandably commands special relevance for families with above-average asset levels.

Your kids’ inheritances: harmonious result or rancor?

It’s your family, and unlike any other.

That likely means this from the perspective of estate planning and contemplated inheritances for your adult children: Take advice from third parties in only the most general sense.

How is debt handled in the probate process?

What happens in California to a loved one’s debt in the wake of his or her passing?

That is a question often posed to estate planning attorneys, and a query that just as often naturally leads to a spotlighting of the probate process.

Disputing a will? Conflicts after a parent's death? Work it out

When your mother passed away, you didn't think there would be any issues. You and your siblings, you thought, were all on the same page. You thought you'd all just be happy with whatever you inherited and that you'd be working together to get through this tough time in your life.

Unfortunately, once the will made it clear that you were getting more than your brother and that your sister was getting less than all of you, there was a big break in your communication. Your sister was furious, and your brother didn't understand why your parents did this. Both of them were hostile toward you, and you didn't know what to do to calm the situation.

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