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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

March toward court averted with settlement in Houston estate case

In reference to today's above blog headline, we're addressing the singer, not the city.

You've heard of her, of course. It didn't take her untimely death in 2012 to catapult Whitney Houston into rarefied air as an enduring and iconic pop star with an outsized and widely acclaimed talent. Prior to her tragic passing in a home drowning accident, Houston was already one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry

Gifting your heirs … by not leaving a financial mess

When it comes to thinking about their heirs, most planners across Alameda County and the Bay Area likely focus most of the time on matters relevant to asset transfer and inheritance. That is certainly understandable.

A writer for NerdWallet, a San Francisco-based online financial website, counsels that heir-related considerations should additionally encompass one additional and very important matter.

How to choose the right trustee the first time

There is more to creating a trust than meets the eye. In addition to adding assets to the trust, there's something else you need to think about: finding the right person to serve as trustee.

While this sounds as simple as naming a trustee and moving on with the rest of the estate planning process, you don't want to make a rash decision that you may regret at some point in the future.

For some, a serious planning concern: a loved one's drug addiction

We have noted in past blog posts of our Alameda County estate planning firm that standardized strategies and outcomes in the estate administration realm are both illogical and impossible.

And that is for one distinct and simple reason: families.

For some retired planners, not the best holiday present

A recent Investment News article makes the central point that life never does stop being complicated for some retired individuals and families.

Consider the case of a retiree living in California or elsewhere who is a Medicare enrollee receiving the important benefits provided for by that government program.

That key probate executor function: watch for these errors

We've all heard adages like this before: You wouldn't hire a plumber to perform surgery, so why would you … ?

For purposes of today's blog post, we would simply pose this query: Why would a planner name a lay person with little or no professional experience as executor for an estate that is complex in size and scope?

Is it time to review and update your will?

You've already taken the step of creating a will, which sets you apart from a surprising number of adults throughout the country. If you only recently created your will and have yet to experience any major life changes, you probably have no great need to review it.

However, if your will is more than five years old, or if it's been more than five years since you reviewed it, then you should make time to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney and go over the document. Even if you do not experience any major life changes over a period of five years, estate planning laws may change at the state or federal level, necessitating some adjustment.

Your assets, your heirs: assuming some very important control

A recent media report on estate planning and administration cites to a whopping $30 trillion or so (yes, that's with a "t") in assets that is expected to be passed along from baby boomers to their heirs over the next few decades.

And then there's this: Notwithstanding the sheer magnitude of that and the importance of getting things right for individuals and families in all cases, only about 40 percent of Americans who plan on transferring wealth in some fashion to successive generations have even executed a will.

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.

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