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Gold River California Estate Planning Law Blog

Caring for your unmarried partner with an estate plan

Maybe you and your partner are living the Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell or Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham life: You're longtime loves who simply decided never to marry.

That lifestyle works for couples everywhere, and even if they don't need a marriage certificate, they do need one legal document: an estate plan.

Luke Perry's death provides estate-planning lesson

We so often hear of celebrities who haven't created an estate plan and how their family members wind up in court, fighting over the assets, when they die.

Actor Luke Perry, who died March 4 in Southern California following a massive stroke, apparently had his estate plan figured out. He was 52.

How to make estate planning easy—and why it matters

Do you wish you could predict the future? You can, using a successful estate plan. The future is coming, whether you provide for your loved ones or not. Formalize your wishes in an estate plan. Peace of mind comes when you are in control.

Well-meaning people die every day without leaving an estate plan. You probably do not want to leave your family guessing how to best settle your affairs. Your estate plan represents a lifetime of work and goals for your future. Do not wait to take this important step.  

Wealthiest Californians would see estate taxes rise under bill

A California state senator has sponsored a bill that would ask Californians to vote on whether the state should implement a tax on the estates of the richest residents.

Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is proposing a 40 percent tax on estates worth more than $3.5 million for individuals or $7 million for couples.

Daughter asks court for control of estate after father's death

Longtime soap opera actor Kristoff St. John passed away last month, reportedly without a will, and now his oldest daughter has asked a California court to allow her to take over his affairs.

The young woman, who was born in 1992, filed court documents in Los Angeles seeking to be appointed the administrator of her father's estate. St. John died Feb. 3 at age 52. His body was discovered in his home in the San Fernando Valley.

Update your estate plan after these events

Do not assume that the estate plan you made five years ago -- or even the one you just made today -- is going to stand the test of time. Life changes. Things happen. The future is not always what you expected it to be. When facing significant changes, you absolutely want to update your estate plan so that it accurately reflects what your life looks like now.

Examples of life events that may make it necessary to update your plan include:

  • Getting married
  • Getting divorced
  • Having a loved one or an heir pass away
  • Having a new baby
  • Starting a new job or a new career
  • Starting a new company
  • Acquiring any significant property, such as a new home
  • Starting new investment portfolios

New homeowners: Now is the time to make an estate plan

Buying a home is a significant milestone. This is likely one of the biggest purchases you will ever make in your lifetime. Not only is it a financially valuable asset, but it is also emotionally important. The fact that you now own a significant asset means you need to create an estate plan. Without a plan in place, your home may not pass down to who you want when you die. 

As a new homeowner, you must factor in any family disputes and tax consequences when deciding what to do with your real estate. It is vital to be thoughtful about who will inherit your home and how. Here are some options for how to transfer ownership of your home via an estate plan. 

The business steps doctors should take before retirement

You know that one day you'll retire and leave that medical practice you started in Northern California. You'll have more time for fishing. Or traveling. Or playing with the grandkids.

It's great that you're thinking about a fun future. But have you thought about your succession plan? It's never too early to do that, and with the demographics of today's medical community, it should become a priority.

Could your dog benefit from a pet trust in California?

We love our furry friends more than anything in the world, and as we grow older, they can become our primary companions in life. For this reason, many older California residents begin to worry about what will happen to their pets after they're gone, so they include their animals in their estate plans. Under California estate laws, you can set up a special pet trust that will provide funding for the care of your animal after you've died.

Pet trusts in California will last for the entirety of the pet's life. When you set up your pet trust, you will need to name an executor and a caretaker of your animal who will serve as the beneficiary. Often, estate planners choose to name different parties as executor and beneficiary/caretaker so that there is additional oversight regarding the way the funds are being used. With different parties serving in these rules, the executor can audit the caretaker to ensure that the pet-related funds are being used exactly in accordance with the terms and instructions laid out in the trust.

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