Newman Law Group

Estate Tax Archives

Trusts as a tool for reducing estate taxes

Estate taxes in California can be on the high side, amounting to as much as 13%. Reducing estate taxes is a goal of many people, and they will go to extraordinary lengths to accomplish it. This includes even moving out of state prior to an expected increase in income from an event, such as the sale of a company. A recent Supreme Court decision may provide another way.

Protecting assets in view of current tax law

People concerned with passing on their assets and belongings after their death, and people who are concerned that the appropriate asset goes to the appropriate heir, tend to be very conscientious when it comes to estate planning in California. In addition to assuring the desired transfer of assets, a plan can also be key in protecting assets to be passed on. A successful strategy for this requires that plans be reviewed once a year or so.

Family dynamics and estate planning

Families are made up of people. People come in all shapes, sizes and personalities, and this can add to family drama and contribute to challenges when it comes to estate planning in California. Most people understand the importance of having a plan in place in this day and age, but they may be reluctant to engage in planning because of the conflicts that may arise. This can be particularly true when sizeable estates are involved.

Estate planning is an ongoing task

For a variety of reasons, most people in California and elsewhere do not have a will. Estate planning is a personal and challenging task, so once a will is in place, it may seem like a victory. The testator -- the person who writes the will -- may be surprised to know that a will is a document that requires frequent reviews and revisions. In fact, there are specific times when updating one's will is critical.

Estate planning is not just about money

Contemplating one's death is not a pastime most people wish to engage in. But failing to contemplate and plan on what happens to the property and people a person cares about in California can have serious unintended consequences. These can be avoided by taking some time to determine one's final wishes through estate planning.

Protecting assets for a special needs child

Estate planning in California can be complex and tricky in the best of situations but it takes on added gravity when a child with special needs is involved. A couple of different variables come into play when one is protecting assets in the interest of long-term care for a special needs child. There are options that can simplify the situation.

Estate planning and families can be a difficult mix

Families can be complicated, particularly extended families and new families. Divorce, re-marriage and children with a second spouse can all serve to complicate family dynamics, which can, in turn, complicate estate planning. Indeed, family conflict was recently cited as one of the three main threats to the success of estate planning in California and the rest of the country. According to the recent survey, the other two are market volatility and tax reform.

Failure to do estate planning can lead to undesired outcomes

Estate planning can be a stressful process. It may be difficult to know where to begin. In addition to facing one's own mortality, creating an estate plan in California can be an emotional experience in deciding who gets what and when. Circumstances that can further complicate all of this include needing to provide for family members with special needs or family members from previous marriages. But deciding to let the task of estate planning wait until a later date may result in the state deciding how your estate is settled.

Estate planning vs. estate documents

It's almost mid-February, and perhaps one is sitting back and reflecting on a year that he or she believes is off to a good start in California. The often delayed task of estate planning has been completed. But has it? Has an estate plan actually been created or are there now estate documents where before there were none? And what is the difference?

Estate planning: U.S. Senate bill seeks to change estate tax

Preparing one's estate can be a complicated process for many families here in California. An estate owner may have to decide what to do with a family home, certain heirlooms or the savings he or she has accumulated. Others may have to consider the process of how to manage passing down a family business or farm. A recent bill introduced in the senate may change the percentage of estate tax, and supporters claim that it will have a positive effect on those who want to leave their company to their children as part of the estate planning process.