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Law Office of DeAnne E. Parker
Redding Probate, Trusts, Estate Planning And Business Attorney

Redding Estate Planning Law Blog

How often should I review my estate plan?

Putting together a comprehensive estate plan is an important step for residents of Northern California. The process can be complicated and involve multiple steps, which is why it is generally a good idea to get the assistance of an experienced attorney when doing initial estate planning.

Once a solid estate plan is set up, the plan can help reduce conflict or confusion after a person dies since it should reflect the person's wishes. Moreover, a good estate plan can also save costs in terms of taxes, fees and the like, meaning more of a person's legacy will actually go to his or her loved ones, favorite charities and the like.

Overview of creditor claims against an estate

When California residents think about a probate dispute, they may envision family members fighting with each other over who should take what of an estate. While intra-family quarrels are one type of probate issue, and the kind that tends to grab headlines, there are other cases in which litigation can develop after a person dies. For example, despite how much one may try to avoid it, most people may end up dying owing money to another party, be it an individual, a business or a government agency.

Moreover, there are some who will die with large but who may be exposed to legal liability, meaning another party had a right to sue the deceased person. For example, someone who dies behind the wheel in a car accident which also kills or injures other victims may well be at fault and owe compensation.

People think wills are a good idea

According to a recent survey, over 3 out of 4 people across the country acknowledge that having a will is a good idea. However, only 40 percent of those asked actually had a will. Perhaps, not surprisingly, those over 65 were the most likely to have a will. The survey estimated that about 2 out of 3 people in this age group had taken the time to at least do some simple estate planning.

By contrast, fewer than 1 out of 5 adults under the age of 34 had a will, only about one in three adults between the age of 35 and 44 had a will. The reasons why Californians do not create wills varied, but around half of all those surveyed said that they just had not found the time to create one.

Overview of charitable trusts

Many residents of Northern California may wish to leave some or even all of their fortunes to their charities. There are a number of ways in which a person can accomplish this goal. For instance, for some, the best course of action may be to set up a charitable trust.

Charitable trusts can offer a number of important tax incentives to those who set them up. Even if estate taxes or inheritance taxes are not an issue, charitable trusts also offer income tax and capital gains tax incentives, if they are set up properly. Moreover, a charitable trust allows the donor to give money to charity, but maintain some oversight, thus helping the donor ensure that his or her money is being used according to his or her wishes.

What is Medicaid planning and how can it help me?

Over the past decades, people have had the great blessing of being able to live longer thanks in large part to modern medical technology.

The flip side of this is that modern medicine comes at a great cost, such that providing for the needs of a California who requires a nursing home or other round-the-clock care could easily cost $40,000 a year.

Other ways to avoid probate

This blog has previously talked about how Californians who want to avoid probate can do so. For instance, many residents of Redding may want to rely on trusts to avoid the probate process.

In other cases, jointly held real estate may be a good tool to ensure that a person's loved ones get the person's property with minimal inconvenience.

Why is estate planning so important for business owners?

Northern California is the home to many family businesses. While it is good when these businesses can turn a profit long enough to support one generation, it is a real point of pride when they get passed down through two or more generations.

The reason it is a point of honor when one generation successfully hands off a business to the next generation is that it happens rarely. Fewer than 1 out of 3 businesses actually survive one generational transfer, and only 3% last down to the fourth generation of family owners.

What happens if I die without a valid will?

Like other states, California has laws that specify what happens if a resident of this state dies without a will.

As many Northern Californians who pay attention to the news know, even people who are quite wealthy can from time to time simply neglect their estate planning and then die leaving millions but no will. However, California's so-called intestacy laws would also apply in situations where the only known will gets invalidated or fails to dispose of all the assets that get administered through probate.

How can an LLC help me with estate planning?

As readers of our blog probably recognize, there are lots of ways, beyond a simple will or even a trust, that Californians can use to help them with the estate planning process.

For instance, some residents of Redding and other parts of Northern California may want to consider forming an LLC for estate planning purposes.

Update on Aretha Franklin's estate legal battle

A previous post on this blog discussed the fact that there has been considerable controversy surrounding the estate of Aretha Franklin, the world-famous singer who died about this time last year. As that previous post stated, some family members have questioned the actions of Ms. Franklin's niece, who is serving as personal representative. These family members believe that someone else would be in a better position to control the finances of Ms. Franklin's multi-million dollar estate.

After a contentious court hearing recently, the judge overseeing the estate decided to convert the case in to what is commonly referred to as a supervised estate. A supervised estate is one in which a personal representative can do very few things without first getting the court's explicit approval.

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