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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

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.

The divorce-estate planning link: be mindful of it

Kudos to any couple that has the foresight to execute a well-considered estate plan during marriage, especially married partners with children. Despite their best intentions, many spouses don’t get around to crafting a strategy that addresses life’s core concerns and safeguards against the downsides.

Sound and timely estate administration protects assets, helps ensure their future distribution and lawfully minimizes tax outlays. It also designates trusted parties to act on behalf of planners concerning key financial and health matters during periods of incapacity or upon death. Among other things, such appointments grant powers of attorney to responsible third parties over money matters, end-of-life considerations and crucial issues concerning children’s best interests.

Don’t hesitate to ask your would-be estate planner tough questions

If all lawyers in a select practice area were the same, choosing legal counsel would hardly be a chore, would it? An individual or family seeking assistance would merely need to highlight the first name on a list and pick up the phone.

Real life is not that simple, though, as we all know. The reality underscoring any attorney list is that competencies vary among practitioners. So too do important things like passion, sustained focus and a commitment to securing best-case results in every client matter.

Why communicate with estate planning counsel during divorce?

It’s quite likely that most divorcing California residents will want to secure help from an experienced family law attorney. After all, there is often a lot to think about and manage when a marriage comes to an end, ranging from child-centric matters (e.g., custody and support) to marital asset distribution.

The role of proven legal counsel in that process can be centrally important. Notably, too, the same is often true concerning the input of another professional. We duly note on our website at the Bay Area Law Offices of Connie Yi that “if you are divorcing, be certain your divorce attorney is not the only attorney you receive legal advice from.”

No estate plan is forever viable: when to update key documents

Many people feel justifiably proud -- as well as relieved – following their completion of a sound and comprehensive estate plan.

And they should, obviously. Knowing that key life objectives have been promoted through the execution of a tailored and well-crafted legal strategy is immensely comforting to legions of individuals and families.

Understanding adult children and sources of conflict

Trying to create a conflict-free estate plan is difficult, and it's not just the plan you have to think about. Sure, it is important to avoid potential conflicts over issues like unequal bequests or the division of sentimental assets, and you need to keep that in mind when drafting your plan. But it also goes beyond that.

What you really need to think about is why adult children don't get along with each other in the first place. The family dynamics are very important. Often, these conflicts really come to a head during the estate administration process, but that does not mean they're new. They could have been lurking beneath the surface or even overtly influencing your heirs' relationships for years. They just become more obvious when there is money on the line.

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