Orange County Estate Planning and Probate Blog

/Orange County Estate Planning and Probate Blog/

Estate Planning and Divorce

When going through a divorce, the last thing you probably want to do is hire an estate planning attorney. However, estate planning becomes a vital part of your life before and after your divorce. Why? Well, when you are married, some of your estate planning can be deferred to your spouse if you die first. For example, in California, which is a community property state, most of your assets can pass to your spouse with a summary probate administration. However, when [...]

By | January 16th, 2017|Divorce, Guardianship, Retirement Accounts|0 Comments

Trump’s Proposal to Repeal Estate Taxes

President-elect Donald Trump made several promises during his campaign for President. As your estate planning attorney, we have focused on Trump's promises related to estate tax reform. Based upon Trump's tax plan, the following are Trump's proposed changes to the federal estate tax regime during his presidency. Current Estate Tax Regime Currently, a married couple may transfer assets equal to $10,900,000 to anyone without any federal estate or gift tax. If you have more than $10,900,000 in assets, upon your [...]

By | November 9th, 2016|Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax|0 Comments

Heggstad Petition – The Solution to a House Not in Trust at Death

Are you a trustee and trying to sell your parent's or spouse's house after they have passed away? Did he or she have a Trust, but the house was in his or her individual name (not in Trust)? An all too common problem. Enter the Estate of Heggstad to the rescue! The Problem: House Was Not in Trust at Time of Death Before we get to the solution, let's make sure we understand the common scenarios that cause the problem. [...]

By | October 12th, 2016|Trust Funding|0 Comments

How to Avoid U.S. Gift and Estate Taxes When Becoming a U.S. Resident Alien or U.S. Citizen

If you intend on becoming a U.S. Resident Alien or U.S. Citizen in the future, it is important to consider the need to avoid U.S. gift and estate taxes now.  Once you become a U.S. Resident Alien or U.S. Citizen for gift and estate tax purposes, many of your estate planning opportunities will be lost forever.  Unfortunately, many estate planning attorneys do not have the expertise to handle international estate planning issues and simply apply basic estate planning techniques to every [...]

Medi-Cal Planning: Avoiding Medi-Cal Recovery

Medi-Cal planning is essential for anyone receiving, or likely to receive, Medi-Cal benefits. A major concern for anyone on Medi-Cal is California's Medi-Cal Estate Recovery Program. Even if you or a loved one is not currently on Medi-Cal, due to the high costs of nursing home care, you may qualify for Medi-Cal in the future and should consider the following. Current Medi-Cal Planning Currently, the California Medi-Cal Recovery team will collect a Medi-Cal recipient's assets once they die to [...]

By | August 3rd, 2016|Medi-Cal Planning|0 Comments

Estate Planning for Expecting Parents

So you've gone from bachelor(ette), to the perfect (or not-so-perfect) married couple, and now the perfectly prepared expecting parents. You've read all the baby books you could find, and after hours of research, you have purchased the perfect stroller, crib and car seat. You're ready! Or are you? Expecting parents often overlook the need for financial and estate planning for their family. Understandably, it is not the most enjoyable topic. But what happens to your newborn if something were to [...]

Estate Planning for California Community Property

When we meet with married couples, one of the many important topics we discuss is estate planning for California community property and separate property. As many of us know, California, unlike most states, is considered a community property state. Most people assume, incorrectly, if you are married, then all of your property is community property. What is Community Property? California law defines community property as all property acquired by a California domiciliary during marriage that is not specified by statute [...]

By | April 21st, 2016|Estate Planning Basics 101|0 Comments

Adding Your Child to Title on Your House to Avoid Probate – Good Idea?

Adding Your Child to Title on Your House to Avoid Probate - Good Idea? Simple answer is no. First, let's discuss why many of you are considering adding your child to title. Someone, perhaps an estate planning attorney, has told you that when you die, your assets go through probate. There are certain assets that will avoid the probate process, including: 1) assets that are held in a trust, 2) assets with a pay-on-death beneficiary, and 3) assets held in [...]

Estate Planning for Millennials

Estate Planning for Millennials When people find out that I'm an orange county estate planning attorney, most people's eyes glaze over immediately. At best, they respond with something to the effect of "you work with rich people." I agree, there is nothing sexy about estate planning. However, estate planning is not just for old rich people. In fact, estate planning for millennials can be just as important as it is for "old rich" people (however you define "old" and "rich"). [...]

By | March 3rd, 2016|Estate Planning Basics 101|0 Comments

Changes to Estate Planning in 2016: What Orange County Residents Need to Know

2016 Estate Tax Rates What are the changes to estate planning in 2016? The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the "Act") made the following permanent: (1) the reunification of the estate and gift tax regimes, (2) the $5 million estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer ("GST") tax exemptions, as increased for inflation (as discussed below), and (3) portability. Estate Planning Changes for 2016 In 2016, there is a $5,450,000 federal estate tax exemption (increased from $5,430,000 in 2015) and a [...]

By | February 11th, 2016|Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Transfer Tax|0 Comments