Wills

Estate Planning: Affordable Care Act and expanded Medi-Cal

Under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), low income persons under age 65 may enroll in the expanded Medi-Cal in order to meet the federal requirement that everyone have health care insurance. At age 65, Medicare covers doctor visits, hospital visits and some prescription drugs. Read...

Eight Common Estate Planning Objectives Of Married Couples

As the previous posts demonstrate, estate planners still struggle with how to structure estate plans for married couples in order to accomplish both the tax and nontax objectives of such couples. Introducing the portability election into the arena has only made such choices even more varied. If you asked 10 different […] Read...

So You Have Been Named Executor of An Estate – What Does It Mean?

An executor is a person named by a Will in charge of wrapping up the decedent’s estate and making sure that the wishes of the decedent are followed. Often, people name close friends or relatives as executors of their estate, reflecting on that person’s trustworthiness, reliability, and managerial ability. People named as an executor frequently feel a sense of validation or honor at their designation, recognizing that it is a big deal to be left in charge of someone’s Will—but perhaps not recognizing the staggering amount of responsibilities and potential liability that accompany this distinction. An executor’s duties are imposed upon them by the probate code, and though the task of concluding an estate seems simple on the surface, it can be fraught with complications. The marquee duty of an executor is known as a “fiduciary duty,” meaning that the executor must act honestly, in good faith, and in the best interest of the beneficiaries of the estate. Any breach of these duties may expose an executor to personal liability if the beneficiaries choose to sue—something few executors expect. A typical estate, without any complications, can still take up to one year or more to conclude. During this time, an executor can expect to doing the following: Paying debts of the Estate Paying taxes due by the Estate Distributing assets to beneficiaries Creating and managing Estate accounts for handling expenses File the Will with the probate court, follow filing deadlines and instructions, notifying beneficiaries and named parties It is important to distinguish the role of an executor from that of a trustee. A trustee is a different type of...

Estate Planning News – April 14th, 2014

In this week’s inaugural edition of Estate Planning News, our firm has selected some helpful articles from around the web that cover problems commonly encountered by clients during the Estate Planning process: so our readers won’t make them! In an article from CNBC, authors highlight mistakes Estate Planning clients frequently make. The problems discussed occur all too often, as clients consistently regard Estate Planning as a “one-time” action rather than the lifelong process it ought to be. This is great reading for people who have not reviewed their estate plan recently. Along similar lines, Professor Gerry Beyer of Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog identifies the “Ostrich Syndrome” associated with Estate Planning, where clients do not want to begin the process because it is difficult to confront the questions associated with drafting a comprehensive plan. We wholeheartedly agree with him that this creates more problems than it solves. The article about an Estate Planning checklist is a good place for people overcoming the aforementioned “Ostrich Syndrome” to start when they realize they need a plan. It can be overwhelming to consider all of the steps that need to be taken when planning for the future, and having an easy-to-understand list of potential considerations is a big help. Finally, we conclude this week’s Estate Planning News with an interesting piece about digital assets and estate planning. In an age increasingly dependent on intangible assets and cloud technology, considering things like email accounts, subscriptions, and other digital property are often an afterthought when it comes to Estate Planning. Avoid the top 5 estate-planning blunders – CNBC.com CNBC.com Avoid the top 5 estate-planning blunders...