If your estate planning issues occurred suddenly when an elderly family member died or required intensive medical care, you may need the services of an estate planning attorney. Estate planning services can help guide a person’s family through their time of grief by easing the process of asset distribution, minimizing their tax fees, and making sure their final wishes are clear.
What is an estate?
The Internal Revenue Service defines an estate as a person’s net worth at a specific time. Net worth is the sum of a person’s assets, legal rights, and interest in real or intellectual property less their liabilities at the same point in time. Unfortunately, transfer of that property after a person passes is not always that simple, especially if the deceased did not have clear title to that property.
- A beneficiary may inherit the property through the grace of a lender.
- Frequently, the lender will not refinance a loan on the real property that the deceased distributed to an heir.
- The lender usually requires that they be paid in full upon the death of the property owner.
Our fully licensed and insured estate planning attorney forms simple or complex trusts to help you protect your assets and your financial well-being. Trusts may contain real estate, vehicle titles, beneficiary deeds, and transfer account balances. Our law firm can help you establish who should distribute your funds, act as executor, and inherit your estate’s assets after your passing. We can help you with:
- Living wills
- Medical directives
- Living or revocable trusts
- Healthcare and financial powers of attorney
- Trust formation and administration
- Probate litigation
- Guardianships and conservatorships
In advance of some time in the future, if you were to become unable to manage your own healthcare or finances, our estate law attorney can help you form a conservatorship and a guardianship. The conservator, appointed by the court, manages the patient’s finances, and the guardian cares for and makes medical decisions for the loved one.
Probate litigation occurs when a loved-one dies without a will. If circumstances have changed since the trust, will, or conservatorship was created or the conservator or guardian is not adequately executing his or her duties, probate litigation may be necessary to solve the problem. Probate litigation is the solution for seniors who have been abused financially by caregivers, telemarketers, or fraudsters.
Federal Estate and Gift Tax
While federal estate tax only applies to estates of $5 million or more or $10 million or more for married couples, estates subject to this tax owe 40 percent in gift estate tax or generation-skipping transfer tax. Generation-skipping transfer tax is tax on gifts from a grandparent to a grandchild.
It’s important to choose an estate law attorney who is intimately familiar with estate tax law. We can negotiate IRS regulations and protocols in a timely manner on your behalf. Some of the most common tax services we provide include:
- Unfiled federal and state tax returns
- Offers and compromise
- Payment plans to the IRS and the state
- IRS and state wage garnishments, liens, and audits
When planning your estate, it’s important to consider the various types of tax issues that can arise. Our Sacramento estate lawyer can help you throughout the process.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into Estate Law.