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September 13, 2011
Wills provide a legal record of written directives regarding how estate assets should be distributed upon death. While it's not a task people enjoy doing, writing a Will is an important element that shouldn't be avoided.
Wills are vital documents for individuals wanting to take care of their family after death. This written contract makes the job of estate settlement much easier for estate executors.
Every estate that passes through probate needs an estate executor to take care of final matters. The Will is used to name the person who will assume this role.
September 05, 2011
Even though an inherited Roth IRA is subject to tax levies when transferred to beneficiaries, it can be a smart approach for keeping financial assets out of probate. Account holders pay taxes when they make deposits into the IRA, but fund might be subjected to estate tax if they exceed allowable exemptions.
When heirs acquire an inherited Roth IRA it's best to retain the services of a tax accountant. Rules surrounding estate tax has changed over the past three years, with additional changes planned for 2012.
August 30, 2011
Have you ever inherited anything from a deceased relative? If so, you know it's a bittersweet experience. Inheritance gifts hold many sentiments. They can alter your life if consisting of large sums of money or valuable property such as real estate or jewels.
Inherited gifts can be a blessing or a curse. As a probate liquidator, I've watched many families engage in inheritance wars over a deceased relative's belongings. I've also seen the disappointment on people's faces when they discover everything their relative owned has to be sold to pay off outstanding debts or past due taxes.
January 07, 2010
Federal estate tax is slated to be abolished in January 2010, but Senate Democrats are likely to pass a temporary measure early in the year to reinstate death tax and make it retroactive to January 1st.
At present, estate tax is assessed at the rate of 45-percent for inheritances valued above $3.5 million for individuals and $7 million for couples. Smaller estates are exempt from taxation. However, as the estate tax hangs in limbo, beneficiaries may soon find they will be charged a capital gains tax on inheritance property gifted through decedent's last will and testament.
October 24, 2009
Trust refers to a vault which holds valuable assets, along with a person's Last Will and Testament. People use trusts to transfer inheritance assets upon their death. When a trust is used, inheritance assets do not have to pass through probate and generally are exempt from taxation.
Many people believe establishing a trust is complicated. While this can be true for exceptionally wealthy people, many types of trusts exist which are simple to establish. Some of the most common include living, revocable, irrevocable, testamentary, and irrevocable life insurance trusts.
July 27, 2009
"What is probate?" is a question I hear on a regular basis. In a nutshell, probate is the legal process used when a person dies. A series of events occur to tie up loose ends and distribute inheritance assets to heirs or beneficiaries. Everything decedents own must be accounted for and outstanding bills and taxes paid before assets can be distributed.
Let's further probe the question of "what is probate?" Probating estates is required within all 50 states of the Union. Probate is governed by state law, but the process can be different within each county of the state. This non-uniform standard can create confusion; particularly, if the estate administrator resides in another state or county and is not familiar with probate laws.
July 03, 2009
Executing a Last Will and Testament is a relatively simple and inexpensive process. A Will is used to bequeath inheritance to beneficiaries. There are many ways to draft a Will, but the most common is to utilize the services of a professional estate planner. Doing so can protect the Will from being contested in probate court.
The Last Will and Testament involves several elements. First, a probate executor is designated to handle estate-related affairs. Estate administrators are responsible for a variety of duties, so it is best to discuss this position with the person before naming them in the Will.
June 01, 2009
A life insurance trust is used to protect insurance proceeds from estate taxation. Beneficiaries are designated within the policy and distribution schedules are established. The life insurance policy is placed inside the trust and managed by a Trustee.
A life insurance trust consists of a Trustor, Trustee and beneficiaries. The Trustor is the person who establishes the trust. The Trustee is the person who manages the trust. This person is designated through the policyholder's Will.
May 24, 2009
The term, probated, refers to estates held in probate. This process is used to determine the value of assets owned by a person who has died and validate their last Will. An estate administrator is designated within the Will and is responsible for overseeing the estate and handling numerous duties.
Strategies exist to prevent estates from being probated. These measures must be taken prior to death. Most are quite simple and can be accomplished without the assistance of an estate planner. Others require the execution of legal documents and require the services of a probate attorney.
May 18, 2009
A California probate attorney is generally required to handle estates of residents who have died. Probate is the legal process used to establish a value of the decedent's estate. It is also used to validate the decedent's Will or appoint an estate administrator if the decedent died intestate (without a Will).
Individuals can hire a California probate attorney to help establish estate planning or to assist them in settling an estate entered into probate. Many people procrastinate about estate planning; particularly when they are young and in good health. However, this is a huge mistake that could cause their family tremendous hardship.