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Bay Area Estates and Tax Law Blog

Approaching fast: IRS cutoff date for offshore tax program nearing

Most American taxpayers likely don’t even know what the acronym OVDP stands for. Those who can readily connect those letters with “Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program,” though, probably know quite a bit about that IRS initiative. They know it simultaneously offers hope yet packs a punitive punch.

If you’ve circled September 28 on your calendar, you might be happy to see that day rapidly nearing and soon to be in the rear-view mirror. The IRS is formally dropping OVDP on that day, with tax officials citing materially declining participation as the reason for its demise. Since 2009, the program has allowed filers with undeclared overseas income to come clean, pay a fine and escape otherwise even harsher penalties (including prison time). Some people think that the program’s termination signals a softening IRS stance.

Guardianship at core of family dispute re well-known entertainer

We have stated many times in our estate planning blog at the Alameda County Law Offices of Connie YI that effective estate administration entails more than the mere protection of family property.

That is certainly a key and fundamental planning focus, true enough. It must often be coupled with close attention to other matters as well, though. We stress on our website that, “Protecting your financial and health-care related interests is just as important as protecting your property.”

Blended families may have more issues with estates and wills

Divorce is more common than it was years ago, and so there are more blended families in the United States these days. After all, many people choose to remarry after a divorce, and that often means bringing children from a previous marriage into a newly blended family.

This blending can create a situation where there are step siblings and step parents who are both part of an estate plan. When one of the parents in a blended family dies, there are commonly disputes between the surviving spouse and the children of the deceased.

Queen of Soul’s estate planning tale similar to that of other stars

The adage, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” applies in an unintended though most literal manner to the realm of estate planning. A planner who executes a well-crafted will prior to passing leaves behind a legal document that provides for both comprehension and clarity regarding vital matters like beneficiary naming, inheritances and asset distribution.

Conversely, lack of a will can quickly render post-death estate accounting and a final settlement a tortuous and even acrimonious exercise. Multiple parties demanding a piece of the estate pie are often willing to go to court to get it.

Considerations re others acting for you in estate planning

Tick. Tick. Tick.

That is the aural imagery advanced in a recent Forbes piece with a “what might go wrong” perspective on estate planning, especially concerning the individuals empowered to act on behalf of a planner.

Estate planning: What exactly does that term entail?

We use a recent Forbes article on estate planning as a logical launch pad for discussion in our blog post today. That piece focuses on the idea that estate administration inordinately focuses on after-death strategies and outcomes, and not enough on here-and-now realities.

Put another way, as paraphrased from the author’s bottom line: Planning often focuses too much on death and not enough on life.

This estate litigation not fated, but not especially surprising

Glen Campbell unquestionably lived large, having a life that fully justifies the many biographies that will certainly surface in the wake of his recent death. The singer/guitarist was a music legend with a broad-based entertainment career spanning decades.

As to his mention in an estate planning legal blog, it bears noting that Campbell married multiple times and fathered many children. Readers of our posts at the Bay Area Law Offices of Connie YI will perhaps not be overly surprised to hear that his active and frenetic family life -- coupled with his well-publicized battle with Alzheimer’s disease during the final years of his life -- has led to litigation-linked news following his death.

Estate planning acrimony: What’s the biggest trigger?

What might interfere most with your expectation as an adult child that mom and dad’s estate plan is going to leave you with “X” amount of money?

In other words, what might most reasonably derail your decidedly confident view and turn that inheritance into, well, just a little “x?”

The elderly often refuse to believe in undue influence

Your parent, nearing the end of his or her life, suddenly has a new love interest. The person is far younger than your parent, and you feel skeptical. That is confirmed when you meet the person and spend time with the two of them together. It seems clear to you that the younger person just found out about your parent's net worth and is attempting to work his or her way into the will.

Or, perhaps one of your siblings moves closer to home as your parents get older, after having been away for decades. Their relationship seems to flourish. You feel happy about it at first, but then you overhear some conversations about their estate plan when you go home to visit. It seems like the sibling who moved back is working on getting a larger share than you.

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