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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

What are the duties of a guardian?

When picking a guardian for your children, you need to think carefully about the duties that they'll have to perform. It's imperative that you pick the right person, and you need someone who can take these tasks in stride. That's also why it's so important to talk with them beforehand, making sure they understand exactly what being a guardian means and what they'll need to do if you pass away unexpectedly.

It is worth noting that guardians are not always for minor children. They may also be used for those with special needs and requirements that mean they must be cared for even into adulthood. Again, talk with the guardian for your children to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

What impact might a reverse mortgage have on estate planning?

You’ve likely seen ads, myriad online pitches and extended infomercials (some of them featuring tier-one celebrity figures) touting the alleged virtues of reverse mortgages.

The information surrounding such financial vehicles is vast and detailed, and consequently more than a bit complex to many Americans.

The average inheritance for the 1% is $4.8 million

When talking about the richest people in the world, it's common to hear them referred to as the "1%". This simply references the fact that they are in the top 1% in terms of wealth. You can be very, very wealthy and be in the top 5% or the top 10%, so this is just a way of sorting out those who have the most wealth. It's a class of its own.

What puts those people into that class? In many cases, they inherited quite a bit of money. According to one study, the top 1% averaged an inheritance of $4.8 million each.

Some key considerations re contesting a will

Probated wills in California sometimes result in interested parties – heirs, beneficiaries, loved ones, charitable foundations, close friends and more – being ecstatic with the outcome. That happy state of affairs generally means that expectations were realized or even exceeded. Sometimes, too, completely unexpected benefits materialize.

Of course, that is not always the case. Life routinely augments upsides with disappointment, a reality that is often underscored in estate planning matters.

Estate planning often focuses on far more than just the kids

Any proven estate planning professional certainly appreciates that the kids, their offspring and even generations beyond that loom large in parents’ future-directed planning decisions. After all, estate planning strategies are centrally about transferring wealth to succeeding generations.

In fact, a pass-it-on mindset among so-called grantors is what initially drives many of them to reach out for experienced legal help. People who have accumulated wealth and have families understandably want to preserve their assets and optimally ensure their distribution to younger loved ones.

4 ways parents can prevent estate disputes

Disputes between siblings, after a parent passes away, are often the main thing that parent wants to avoid. What they care about, more than anything else, is their family. They do not want some fight over money or assets to make it so that children never speak again. They know it happens. They don't want it to happen to their family.

What can they do? Do they just have to hope things work out and that no estate disputes arise? Certainly not. There are steps they can take in advance to prevent this outcome. Here are four of them.

Why is an advance health care directive so important?

Living will. Medical directive. Durable health care power of attorney.

The terminology can mix and merge in a way that understandably confuses many individuals and families focusing on key estate planning concepts and imperatives.

Alzheimer’s disease spotlighted in the estate planning realm

November is closely linked with many notable things each year. The month spells winter’s onset for real in many parts of the country. People start counting down the remaining days of the year and begin to focus closely on year-end holidays and family get-togethers. And, of course, Thanksgiving is a central asterisk on the calendar.

November also provides an annual spotlight on an additional topic, namely, the ravaging scourge of Alzheimer’s disease. That ailment reportedly afflicts five million or more Americans who live with its steadily debilitating and mind-robbing symptoms.

Strategizing when estate planning involves foreign assets

Not every family has assets that contain foreign holdings.

Many do, though. And those bank accounts and other financial vehicles tied to locales outside the United States yield both welcome assets and distinct challenges.

Beneficiary designations: often important, often overlooked

One reason why many prudent California estate planners forgo executing do-it-yourself contracts and forms is their uncertainty as to whether such documents are tightly tailored and comprehensively address their unique planning needs.

Likely, they don’t, which is an oft-demonstrated fact that prominently emerges when it comes times to settle an estate. Concededly, over-the-counter boilerplate offerings are sometimes sufficient tools for responding to straightforward and generic issues. The real-life intricacies involved in most plans, though, demand close attention from a proven professional to be fully identified, optimally dealt with and periodically updated as required.

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