If a loved one in California broaches the subject of discussing estate planning during a holiday get-together this year, it may seem counterintuitive to you. After all, the holidays are a time for fun and festivities, and a discussion about your final wishes seems like it might be depressing.
As a Californian resident who is dealing with matters of trusts or trust administration for the first time, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Which option is right for you? What are the legal ins and outs of trusts? Today, we'll take a look at testamentary trusts.
Santa Ana residents have to deal with the issue of taxes every year of their adult lives. Yet few realize that even one's death may not signal an end to their tax liabilities. The assets that one has accumulated in hopes of passing on to their beneficiaries may also be subject to tax. However, just as is the case with one's income taxes, there are tax mitigation methods that may help to reduce (or even eliminate) one's estate tax liability.
Probate is the legal process where the will of a deceased person is validated and assets are passed on to living beneficiaries. This process also satisfies the debts and taxes of the deceased through an executor. Proceeds from life insurance, bank accounts that are payable at the time of death, certain retirement accounts and real estate ownership accounts will go directly to beneficiaries and do not go through probate. All other property from the deceased will be included in the probate estate.
Death can be expected and planned for, or a sudden surprise leaving loved ones struggling with the deceased’s financial affairs. Whatever the case may be, there are often a number of financial issues that may arise once a loved one passes. As an estate executor, you may have been named in the will or appointed by a court to oversee affairs involving the estate. You are responsible for ensuring any remaining debts and expenses owed by the deceased are repaid using the value of the estate. While it is critical that some expenses must be paid, there are others that you are not required to pay at all.
If you are one of the many Californian for whom charitable giving is a way of life, you may wish to look into establishing one or more charitable trusts to benefit your church, your favorite charity, your alma mater, etc. The beauty of a charitable trust is that it likewise can benefit you as well.