The SECURE Act: How it Affects Estate Planning and What to Do

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With the introduction of the Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act in effect as of January 1, 2020, new and big changes have been made that affect one large aspect of retirement accounts: the payout process for beneficiaries. Previously, those who inherited someone’s retirement account were able to spread withdrawals from the account over the course of their lifetime. However, under the SECURE Act, beneficiaries are now required to withdraw all funds from an account within a 10 year period.

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COVID-19: The Ultimate Guide to Estate Planning

With the COVID-19 pandemic at large and death rates continuing to rise, the US now has more known cases than both China and Italy. During this current crisis, it’s best to remain calm and use this “stay well at home” time to do things you’ve been putting off. One such thing that may be worth considering during this unprecedented situation is setting up an estate plan.

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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

family during Christmas

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

Older man looking at paper with woman

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

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?

Can I Make Sure My Assets Are Not Distributed Through the Probate Process?

The probate process involves the court distributing a person’s assets upon death. It usually occurs in situations where a person does not have a will. However, just because a person has a will does not mean that their assets will definitely not be distributed through the probate process. What to Do to Prevent Your Assets … Read moreCan I Make Sure My Assets Are Not Distributed Through the Probate Process?

When Is a No Contest Clause Ineffective in Probate Court?

The Importance of Having a Living Trust in California

The California Court of Appeal just handed down an opinion very strictly limiting the application of a no contest clause contained within trust to later trust amendments.

Peggy was battling cancer for 5 years, during which time her friends, Tracy and David, became the exclusive suppliers of medical cannabis upon which Peggy depended for treatment.  Anticipating her demise, Peggy placed Tracy in custody of all of her estate planning documents.  Soon after, Peggy complained that Tracy read the documents and confronted her about the disposition of her estate.  Shortly after, Peggy executed a trust amendment created in secret, and without advice or assistance of her longtime estate planning attorney, leaving all of her money to Tracy – to the exclusion of Peggy’s brother and godchildren, natural objects of her bounty, and beneficiaries under the estate plan in existence when placed in Tracy’s custody.  After Peggy’s demise, Tracy produced the trust amendment, and the beneficiaries went straight to court.

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What is Probate in California?

Sitting down and having a discussion about what will happen to your assets and finances after you pass away is certainly not an easy thing to do, but it’s something that should be done. You should start your estate planning as early as your graduation from college, and especially once you’re married with children.

When you pass away, most likely your estate will pass through the probate process. This process is the official way your estate is settled through the supervision of probate in California. The estate is frozen until the court determines the Will is valid, all relatives have been notified and that all of the property in the estate is identified. The court will also ensure that creditors and taxes are paid. Once that is all done, an Order is issued by the court for the distribution of the remaining assets. If you die without a will, the court will determine who is appointed as the administrator of the estate and will determine who receives your assets based on a “family tree” of surviving relatives.

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