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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

Done and forgotten: not a good recipe for sound estate planning

If you're like a lot of people, you feel pretty good in the wake of working with an experienced estate administration attorney to craft what you believe is a future-oriented plan that makes sense and will well protect your loved ones.

And that's understandable.

Now it's the Paradise Papers: sequel in offshore companies' saga

Because our audience follows tax-related stories and developments, we know that the term Panama Papers will figuratively ring a bell for many readers.

Although it might seem a long time ago, it was just back in 2015 that the Panama Papers' disclosure took a front-and-center status in news reports across the world.

Artist Prince's estate progressively marked by acrimony

Mega musical artist Prince died of an accidental drug overdose in April of last year.

Many people might reasonably think that most of the material matters relating to his estate might by now have been fully clarified and even settled, nearly 19 months following his passing.

Can you prevent your heirs from contesting your will?

You've taken steps to plan for the needs of family and loved ones when you pass on. Creating an estate plan, last will or trust can help ensure that your assets are divided in the way you see fit. Unfortunately, even the estates of people who took great pains to carefully plan their last will can end up in probate court. All it takes is one unhappy family member or heir to contest your last will, trust or estate. When that happens, there's potential for probate courts to deviate from your wishes.

You didn't go through all the trouble of creating a thoughtful estate plan or last will to have it tossed aside and ignored. Chances are, you'd like to take steps to prevent your heirs from contesting your will. In order to accomplish exactly that, some testators include "no contest" clauses in their wills. These clauses are language that penalize or even disinherit anyone who brings a challenge against a will.

Did contrasting family values lead to this estate outcome?

The estranged daughter of a noted business tycoon who died in late 2015 openly acknowledges a virtual lack of communication with her father over decades. She laments that he -- in the words of a recently written national newspaper piece -- "didn't leave a dime" in his estate to blood relatives, but says that she can't do a thing about being written out of his will.

The lawsuits she has filed indicate otherwise.

Retirement security focal point of recent GAO study

There are certainly lots of reasons why a motivated individual or family might want to get started on implementing a sound estate plan to prepare for the future.

Addressing uncertainty regarding health concerns might be one of them. Perhaps one or more loved ones have special needs that can be optimally addressed through a trust and/or other planning vehicles. Lawful tax avoidance can be a big issue for some families, especially those with a comparatively high level of assets. Gifting, establishing a family legacy, dealing with a business, resolving inheritance questions, -- these and many other matters can be taken care of by working in concert with a proven estate administration attorney in a timely and focused way on planning strategies that promote best interests.

What can happen when executor appointment is, well, not optimal

It's a safe bet that the three former wives of famed -- and now deceased -- song writer/guitarist Jerry Garcia do not hang out together listening to Grateful Dead albums.

Ditto that regarding former girlfriends and children from Garcia's various relationships.

Why most executors need help during probate administration

If you were asked to be the executor (often called personal representative) of a loved one's estate, that obviously means that trust was imposed in you regarding a very important matter.

You were likely honored by the appointment, and accepted. Many people do.

Well-heeled? Look with regularity at timely estate updating.

A recent Forbes article on estate administration notes that sound and timely planning is a smart strategy for a person "no matter what his or her level of worth."

And the magazine goes on to note in the virtual wake of that statement that staying on top of future-focused money matters can be singularly important for an individual or family with a comparatively significant amount of assets.

6 psychological reasons for estate disputes

You and your siblings are involved in a bitter dispute over your parents' wealth. You almost can't believe it's real. You never imagined you'd fight like this, and the passing of wealth from one generation to the next is pushing you apart.

Is it just the money?

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