Wills vs. Trusts: Which Should You Choose?

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Estate planning is a necessity for anyone with finances and property intended to pass on to another person or organization. How to plan your estate, however, is a larger question best answered by this fact: if you plan on leaving anything you own to beneficiaries, you will want to decide between using will or a trust – or potentially both. To help you make the most informed decision, here are wills and trusts explained:

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Different Types of Real Property Taxes and Fees

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Taxes invade almost every aspect of our daily lives and property ownership is no exemption. When investing in such a large asset it is important to understand the different types of real property taxes and fees associated with the purchase. Although the process of buying a home is often handled by a real estate agent, it is important to know the ins and outs of each tax and fee associated with buying a property.

 

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6 Tips For Estate Planning Over The Holidays

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For many people, the holidays are some of the few times a year that the entire family is together. Your family members are more relaxed and not as distracted by everyday obligations. It’s a great time to catch up, make memories, and discuss some important matters like estate planning. While it may feel awkward to initiate this kind of conversation, it is important to discuss what you intend for your estate during a time when adjustments can be made in a good frame of mind.

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To Catch a Thief- How to Prevent Inheritance Theft

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When you create a will or estate plan you may assume that your money will go to the intended heirs. But inheritance theft can happen right in front of your heirs, and the thieves will probably get away with it if the proper measures aren’t put into place to stop them. Since the thieves are … Read moreTo Catch a Thief- How to Prevent Inheritance Theft

What Are the Benefits of Micro Estate Planning?

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Traditional estate planning can reduce your taxes, eliminate large probate fees, and give you security for the future. However, you might be unfamiliar with a brand-new estate planning term: micro estate planning. What Is Micro Estate Planning? Long-term planning is important, and it should still be considered in your overall estate planning process. However, it … Read moreWhat Are the Benefits of Micro Estate Planning?

Will I Get My Spouse’s Inheritance?

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Inheritance laws help control the rights of the decedent’s property and how much is inherited by each of his or her survivors. California is a community property state, which means the law presumes all property acquired during a marriage is owned equally by both spouses. However, property one spouse owns alone before a marriage or … Read moreWill I Get My Spouse’s Inheritance?

The Importance of Having a Living Trust in California

The Importance of Having a Living Trust in California

How Will You Prevent Lengthy Probate Proceedings? The basic purpose of a living trust is to ensure that an appointed trustee of your choosing gains all property or other assets upon your passing or incapacity. If the individual who is in control wants to change details of the trust, they can apply for a revocable … Read moreThe Importance of Having a Living Trust in California

5 Important Estate Planning Lessons You Should Know

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According to research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, only 29.3 percent of Americans have a healthcare directive specifying their end-of-life wishes. Perhaps even more stunning, a survey from Caring.com found that less than half of adults in the U.S. have prepared estate planning documents, such as wills or living trusts. Here are five tips … Read more5 Important Estate Planning Lessons You Should Know

Prince’s Estate Planning Issues

The legendary rivalry between superstars Prince and Michael Jackson apparently extends beyond the grave in terms of whose estate is more difficult to navigate.  While Michael Jackson had a valid will when he died, controversy surrounded the appointment of an executor, and there remains an ongoing battle between the Jackson family and government agencies regarding the actual value of the estate.  Meanwhile, Prince, notoriously shrewd in business and control of his art and image, didn’t even leave a will.  Having died unmarried with no children (despite the numerous claims of a variety of pretenders to his throne), his statutory heirs comprise of siblings and half-siblings, and up to half of his estate will be paid to state and federal tax agencies.  Of course, the federal government and state of Minnesota are claiming the Purple One’s holdings are worth much more than the heirs claim, meaning his tax bill will be greater as well.  Moreover, the famous vault of unreleased material might double the value of his estate.  Had Prince done some basic estate planning, he could have selected specific beneficiaries and avoid probate altogether.  

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What is Estate Planning?

Planning for distribution of an estate following death is commonly considered a legal process that is only necessary for wealthy individuals, but the truth is that everyone has a need for some form of estate planning. Every young person with children needs an established will and directive regarding disbursement of personal property and dependent children guardianship in the event of an untimely tragedy. Even possessions as simple as furniture or vehicles are considerations when evaluating what would happen in the event of death or incapacity. Incapacity is another issue that many do not consider either, which can be especially important for young single parents. Everyone needs some form of an estate plan, regardless of the total value of their personal holdings, because passing away intestate can produce results that no one may want. The answer is developing a comprehensive legal directive, usually done most effectively with the counsel of an experienced estate planning attorney such as Lowthorp Richards.

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