Fremont wills and trusts lawyerEstate planning can be a complex matter, with state and federal laws to consider, but the initial steps do not have to be complicated. In fact, almost anyone can complete an effective estate plan with the right mindset and good advice. Learn more about these initial steps, and where you can find help, with the following information on effective estate planning in Fremont, California.

Know What You Own

From your beloved baseball card collection to real estate and the remainder of your retirement plan, it is crucial that you know what you own before you start the estate planning process. Start by gathering detailed documents on financial accounts (i.e. bank accounts, savings bonds, retirement accounts, etc.), real estate, vehicles, and other large or monetary items. Then make a list of family heirlooms and assets that may hold value. If necessary, have items appraised so that you know how much you are leaving to each of your heirs.

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Fremont wills and trusts attorneyIn most cases, the assignment of assets to one heir is straightforward; you only need to determine a creative way to decrease the tax load. In contrast, assigning assets to multiple beneficiaries is generally complex. Not only do you have to decide how to increase the overall amount each person receives after their tax costs, but you must also discern whether to distribute the assets fairly or equally. What is the difference between these two options, and which one is most appropriate for your estate plan needs? Read on to find out.

Fair or Equal – What is the Difference?

While some people use the terms fair and equal interchangeably, the two terms are quite different from one another. To split things equally means to give everyone the same amount, but fair distribution is not always equal. Sometimes, it may appear that one heir has “more,” but the truth is that they have more for a very particular reason.

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Fremont estate planning lawyerEstate plans typically involve human heirs, such as children and grandchildren, but this is not always the case. Some individuals have non-human dependents to consider. Does that mean everyone should include their pet in an estate plan? Not necessarily, yet it might be worth considering if there is even the slightest possibility that your companion may outlive you. The following explains why this provision might be necessary, and how you can take the first step toward implementing it in your estate plan.

Why Plan for Your Pets?

When the owner of an animal dies or becomes incapacitated, the pet often ends up at a shelter. It happens so frequently, in fact, that some 100,000 to 500,000 pets wind up in shelters because of an owner’s death or incapacitation. How do these once companions end up in shelters?

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Fremont estate planning lawyerThere are often changes to estate tax laws when a new administration enters office, so the fact that President Trump plans to repeal the estate tax is not all that surprising. California’s decision to change their estate laws, should the repeal go through, is a little unexpected. Yet, given the controversy surrounding the new President, it is not really any more surprising than the repeal itself. It does create some interesting obstacles for wealthy California residents - and you should be fully aware of them. The following explains further.

What the Repeal Should Mean to California Residents

If President Trump were to repeal the estate tax law, those that are currently required to pay a 30 percent estate tax (taxpayers can pass up to $5.45 million to heirs, tax-free, and married couples can pass a total of $10.9 million) would no longer have to do so. When totaled, it is a pretty significant cut out of the estate. In fact, 2015 taxation totals on just half of the 10,800 estate returns filed amounted to more than $18 billion.

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Fremont estate planning lawyerWhen children grow up and start their own families, grandparents may want to consider a reevaluation of their current estate plan to ensure they have made provisions for their grandchildren. This may be especially critical if there are any special circumstances, concerns, or issues within your family. Learn more about leaving an inheritance for grandchildren with help from the following information.

Making Provisions for Minor Grandchildren

Leaving behind a gift or inheritance to a minor child (those under the age of 18) is a fairly complex matter. You cannot simply leave them the assets and hope it all works out. Instead, you must appoint a guardian to manage and oversee the assets until the child becomes of age, or until they are able to manage the money on their own.

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Willett Law Firm

39300 Civic Center Drive, Suite 310
Fremont, CA 94538

Phone: 510-791-2244

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