California Estate Planning Laws You Need To Know

California Estate Planning Laws You Need To Know

No matter where you reside, it is necessary to have basic estate planning documents in a systematic manner like a will, medical directive and reliable power of attorney for handling the finances. Bay area California is a prosperous state and it has high real estate value. Planning to avoid the probate the after your death is crucial. Planning in advance will give you utmost peace of mind and it will also be beneficial for your family and loved ones. 

If you are well versed with the California Estate Planning Laws then things will be easier for you as the state has a system of compensating probate lawyers.

How do lawyers charge?

There is a standard procedure for the probate lawyers to charge as their fee and the percentage of their gross value of assets which need to go through a probate. The probate code of the state is Cal. Probate Code § § 10810, 10811 and the percentage is:

  • 4% of the first $100,000 of the gross value of the probate estate, then it is 3% of the next $100,000, then it will be 2% of the next $800,000, then it will come to 1% of the next $9 million and finally it will be 5% of the next $15 million.

It is not necessary for the Lawyers to charge a percentage fee , but if you look closely at the California attorneys, you will find that most of the attorneys do that. If you have a gross estate of 2 million dollars, then the fee of an attorney will be near to seven thousand dollars if you need some small amount of paperwork. This fee is just for doing ordinary work in California. If some attorney has an usual amount of work then the attorney can ask to court to approve a higher fee.

Check some basics to avoid mistakes:

You must check the basic probate avoidance planning and other aspects of estate planning in California so you can hire the right attorney for making your estate plan. If you know the tax saving strategies and some basic knowledge about the issues which are unique to California residents then you will not make any mistakes.

Hire a reliable attorney:

The next step is to hire a reliable Bay area estate planning attorney whom you can trust. You need an attorney who is genuine in his dealings and gives you advice that works for you. Therefore, you must look for an attorney locally who has a reputation in the market. A good attorney will charge more, but you can rest assured that your estate planning is in the right hands. 

A well known and knowledgeable attorney will be well versed with the California estate planning laws and will be prompt to your needs. The attorney will guide you about the procedures and in case there are any changes, he will intimate you without any delay.

It is also important to meet with your attorney every two to three years to adjust the estate planning documents as per the updates in the laws and the changes in your personal life. In case of death, birth, and divorce in family, estate planning needs to be done again or some changes need to be improvised. Therefore, you need an attorney whom you can call and talk personally about these changes. The attorney will do the necessary changes accordingly.

Through a will you determine how your own care and the estate has to be administered. You will mention how your property has to be distributed and what all business functions need to be worked. So, call a well-known attorney in California today and get an estate plan to make things smooth for you and your family.

Bad Excuses For Not Making an Estate Plan: “I’m Not Rich Enough”

Bad Excuses For Not Making an Estate Plan: “I’m Not Rich Enough”

Those of us who deal with estate planning for a living get to hear a range of interesting excuses from those who haven’t yet created an estate plan. These excuses can range from puzzling, to frustrating, to downright bizarre. Almost none are valid in the face of the importance of having an adequate estate plan—or the severity of the consequences of failing to create one. That is why we are taking on a series of articles addressing the bad excuses for not estate planning. We want to address the ones that sound like they might be logical, show what’s really at stake, and then let you decide if estate planning is really in your best interest.

If You Have Assets, You Need an Estate Plan

You read that correctly. And think about it: everyone is “rich” to somebody. If you own anything of value, whether it’s a real estate investment (or few), a car, or even just a bank account with a high value, that valuable item is a thing your loved ones could potentially fight about upon your death. Eliminate this opportunity for adding petty insult to tragedy by creating an estate plan that specifies who your heirs are, lists your assets completely and accurately (it is particularly important that real estate investors keep estate plans currently with every major purchase or sale), and specifies who will receive what in the event of your death. Having a plan of secession for your real estate business is both good business practice and the easiest way to manage your legacy.

Stars Just Like Us: Even the Rich Screw Up Their Estate Plans

In light of these facts, you might expect the fabulously wealthy to have fabulously well-prepared estate plans. But you’d be wrong. There are so many examples of the fabulously wealthy botching their estate plans. Some—we’re looking at you, Prince and Aretha Franklin—fail to create an estate plan at all, sentencing their loved ones to months and sometimes years duking it out in Probate Court. In these sad cases, attorneys and CPAs clean up, often to the tune of millions, while grieving heirs wait years and risk losing some or all of their portion of the estate to the Taxman or a court ruling that doesn’t go their way.

Other celebrities simply don’t plan for their unique and often tragic family situations. Terminal illness is an unfortunately common example of a situation where estate planning becomes all important. Cases like that of Michael Crichton, who had a thorough estate plan in plan yet died before the birth of his youngest child, show that even an out-of-date estate plan can be incredibly problematic. Similarly, when Heath Ledger died at 28 (showing that you also can’t be too young to need an estate plan, another topic for another day), he had designated his parents and siblings his heirs. Perhaps at the time he didn’t realize he would have a two-year-old daughter at the time of his untimely death. While his family, fortunately, agreed to provide for both mother and child, not all situations with these types of complexities end happily and rarely does the presence of money make any of them easier. The presence of an estate plan, however, can make everything easier on a grieving family.

Fortunately, some celebrities do set good estate planning examples, albeit more rarely. Others simply remind us to make certain estate planning arrangements. The lesson in all of these stories can be simple: regardless of your income level, making an estate plan is always a smart move that can prevent unnecessary complications while establishing your legacy.

Estate Planning Experts Can Help Find The Best and Most Cost-Effective Estate Plan for You

Now that we have thoroughly busted the myth that you need to be very rich to have an estate plan, let’s knock out the related myth that you need to be rich to pay for one. If you have assets, you are indeed at risk without one. For most people, managing the risk and keeping their assets among their loved ones is a worthwhile expense.

A good estate planning attorney will not only be aware of the legal concerns you may have about estate planning but will also be able to break down the process into manageable pieces for you. There are many legal and estate planning support professionals who can ease the process of creating an effective estate plan. Similarly, many of these professionals have multiple areas of expertise. For instance, Royal Legal Solutions exclusively serves real estate investors and also uses estate planning tools for asset protection purposes. So when we approach a client’s estate plan, we are sensitive to the needs of these investors and aware of some additional benefits and uses of estate planning tools that can protect our client at a low cost. Other legal experts may specialize in estate planning and elder law or other combinations. When seeking an estate planning professional, verify their credentials and look into both the expertise and reputation of your chosen pro.  Quality help in this area is worth its weight in gold.

Royal Legal Solutions is a pioneering asset protection firm based in Austin, TX. The firm exclusively serves real estate investors and represents investors from all over the United States and Canada. As one of the few firms in the country that focuses on asset protection, Royal Legal Solutions proudly offers the most advanced forms of anonymous asset holding and litigation protection to our client.

Royal Legal Solutions is a full-service firm for investors, meaning attorneys are versed in other practice areas include estate planning, retirement planning, and general practice areas that affect real estate investors differently than the average person. If you have questions about any of these issues, please feel free to connect with Royal Legal Solutions’ lead attorney Scott Smith on LinkedIn or connect with Royal Legal Solutions on Facebook.

Prince left a mess. Do you have the same problem?

Prince left a mess. Do you have the same problem?

Prince, Tupac Shakur, and Kurt Cobain left their vision and their life work in the hands of…well..whoever was assigned by the court after they died. Certainly not a person chosen by them to handle their legacy.

Your blogs, selfies, Facebook posts, and videos probably don’t have the depth and breadth of what these artists left behind, but maybe you should also think about what people see and hear from you after you’re gone.

Prince’s situation might be the saddest of the three artists. During his lifetime he meticulously managed his image and his music, carefully directing, with legal action if necessary, the purity of his vision. But he left no provisions for how to curate his legacy to best guide his vision beyond his death.

“I don’t think about gone,” Prince once said. It’s a sentiment so many of us share until we reach the age when gone can be clearly seen, not so far in the distance. But even when gone doesn’t appear to be in sight, it can come suddenly, as it did for Prince.

By refusing to think of it, Prince abdicated his ability to define his image, his musical legacy, and his carefully constructed image of who he was as an artist and as a person.

In 1998, Prince told Guitar World, “…what they did with that Beatles song [‘Free As a Bird’], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave… that’ll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”

Would Prince have approved of Justin Timberlake’s ‘duet’ with his image at the 2018 Superbowl? It seems unlikely.

His beloved home and recording complex, Paisley Park, is now half museum and half amusement park with a steady flow of tourists always present. Would Prince have wanted this? Maybe. Maybe not. His wishes aren’t known so Paisley Park operates according to the wishes of someone else. Someone he didn’t select and didn’t direct.

Prince eschewed commercialism, but now Prince related merchandise is sold at a ballpark. Music he chose not to release has been lifted from his music vaults and exposed to everyone. Prince, according to his ex-wife, was a “fierce philanthropist”. It’s probably fair to guess that nothing will be left for charitable causes once the battles over his estate by his heirs, whoever those turn out to be, have been hashed out by the lawyers who, of course, will take their own substantial portion.

Your estate isn’t any less valuable to your heirs than the huge and complicated estates left behind by wealthy celebrities is to their heirs. And your legacy, although it might be mostly Facebook, blogs, videos, and Pinterest rather than master recordings and the ephemera of celebrity is important to you and will be important to those you leave behind. If you care, if you want people to remember who you really were after you’re gone, make sure your family can find not just your documents and accounts but also the digital wake of videos, blogs, posted thoughts, and selfies you’ve created during your own journey.

If you want to preserve your own thoughts and wishes and dreams, as well as the assets you will leave behind, you must be sure those wishes will reach your survivors. Our service, AfterVault.com, is the perfect service for making sure those wishes are known. Your wishes are organized and kept securely online. If something happens to you, AfterVault.com alerts your family or friends and tells them how to get the information in your online vault, organized and in one simple step.

Living Trusts vs. Wills – What’s The Difference?

Living Trusts vs. Wills – What’s The Difference?

Do you know the difference between a will and a trust?

You’ve probably heard these terms but do you know what sets them apart and whether you need to have both? As we mentioned before, your will is a part of your estate plan. The same can be said for the trust, but each of them serve different purposes.

What Is a Will?
A will can be defined as a document in which you state your wishes and decide how your property will be distributed after you die.  The will is revocable and you are able to alter it at any time prior to your death. It’s always very important to review your will periodically and especially in the event of a major life event, such as marriage or divorce.

What Is a Living Trust?
Unlike a will, a trust or living trust not only specifies what’s to be done with your property after your death but how it should be dealt with during your lifetime as well. You’re able to appoint a trustee and, in the case of disability or illness, this person will be able to manage your property.

Perhaps the most important attribute of living trusts is that your estate will usually not need to go through probate. A caveat is that you must be careful to have everything accounted for in the trust or that portion of the estate will still require probate. Be sure to look into using a ‘pour-over’ will to direct any external assets into the trust in the event of your death.

What is the difference?
The easiest way to explain the difference is to show you what it is included in each. We found a great comparison from Nolo.

Do you need only one or both?
Each and every case should be looked at individually hence the best advice is to discuss it with your estate planning attorney.

By establishing a trust you can avoid probate. You can learn more about probate here. Having a trust is also a good idea when you have minor children because a trust allows you to establish provisions specifying when a child will be entitled to any assets held in trust.

You can set up a trust with tax planning provisions if your estate exceeds the current estate tax threshold. You can find your state`s current estate tax here.

Whether you have a will, a trust, or both, don`t forget that you can safely store them in AfterVault.com so your family can find them when they most need your vital information.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers. Please talk to your lawyer if you have any questions or doubts about your situation.

Less Than 25% Of Australians Have An Up-To-Date Will

Less Than 25% Of Australians Have An Up-To-Date Will

Not long ago we talked about the fact that only 42 percent of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents such as a will or living trust.. The situation in Australia is quite similar with only 55% of adults having a will.

In this article we’d like to highlight some of the most important findings from a report prepared by Charles Sturt University and The University of Adelaide called “Estate Planning in Australia or: it will never happen to me”. You can find the full report here.

Do you have a current up-to-date will?
44.90% of the respondents do not have a will. Of the other 55% that do have one, only 24% have an up-to-date will. As discussed in one of our previous articles having an outdated will is one of the top estate planning mistakes.

Have you discussed your will?
It’s a positive sign that almost everyone has discussed their will with spouse, partner or  family, considering the difficulty of this conversation.

Have you created a pre-paid funeral plan?
Only 13.70% have created a pre-paid funeral plan. This low number might be due to the fact people don’t realize that the funeral could cost to your family up to $20,000.

Do you have Life Insurance?
It’s interesting to note that, according to the report, “individuals in a relationship, with children, and a higher disposable income are more likely to have life insurance.” If you’re one of the 36% that have a life insurance or are planning to have one we recommend to make sure your family will be able to find your life insurance information.  This advice is based on our previous research where we found that “millions of families (yes, millions!) have lost billions of dollars”.

Online Assets
Even though the table below shows that almost everyone possesses online assets, only 28% know what will happen to their online assets in the event of incapacitation or death. If you are among the other 72% we advise you to take care of your online assets. You can download our free “Digital Estate Planning Checklist”  from here.

 

Have you prepared a Formal Succession plan?
As we have noted in one of our articles, estate planning is even more essential for business owners. In fact, your business insurance might even require that you have some sort of plan in place to ensure that your business can continue even if you are gone. And by putting your affairs in order you can best protect both your family and your business.

According to the research paper less than 26% of business owners have prepared a succession plan.

 

 

We hope this article was helpful!

And don`t forget that you can safely store all of your estate planning documents in AfterVault.com so your family can find them when they most need your vital information.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers. Please talk to your lawyer if you have any questions or doubts about your situation.