Continuing on our estate tax discussion from last month, there are a number of other reasons, besides minimizing estate tax, to consider whether to engage the services of an estate planning attorney:
- Without an estate plan, the State determines what happens to your property when you die.
- Without an estate plan, and in particular a trust, the transfer of your estate will require a probate except in the limited circumstance of what is referred to as a “small estate”. The probate process can be expensive and time consuming. For example, an estate of $2 million, well under the 2012 $5.12 million threshold in the IRS study, would incur attorneys’ fees set by statute of approximately $40,000.00.
- Without an estate plan (which would typically include powers of attorney and healthcare directives), should you become ill or incapacitated, your loved ones could not easily step in to take care of health and/other decisions and needs.
So the next time the question of an estate plan comes up and you think to yourself, I have “nothing”, I do not need a plan, do yourself a favor and reconsider.
Posted in Estate Planning
Tagged Anker Hymes, Anker Reed, Estate Plan, Estate Planning Attorney, Estate Planning Law Firm, Estate Planning Lawyer, Estate Tax, healthcare directives, Los Angeles, power of attorney, Woodland Hills
Source: IRS, Statistics of Income, August 2013
The IRS recently released a statistical report entitled “Estate Tax Returns filed for Wealthy Decedents, 2003-2012”. Some of the more interesting statistics in the data collected were:
- The number of estate tax returns declined 87 percent from about 73,100 in 2003 to about 9,400 in 2012 primarily due to the gradual increase in the filing threshold.
- The gross estate filing threshold was $5.12 million in 2012, up from $1.0 million in 2003.
- In 2012, the total net estate tax reported on all estate tax returns filed for the year was $8.5 billion.
- California had the highest number of estate tax returns filed in 2012, followed by Florida, New York, Texas, and Illinois.
- Estate tax decedents with total assets of $20 million or more held a greater share of their portfolio in stocks (about 40 percent) and lesser shares in real estate and retirement assets than decedents in other total asset categories
Does the significant decline in the number of estate tax returns (due to the threshold for such returns increasing to $5.12 million in 2012 from $1 million) mean that only the “wealthy” (i.e. those with estates in excess of $5.12 million based on the 2012 threshold), need to be concerned about an estate plan and the avoidance or minimization of estate taxes? Absolutely not.
While the avoidance and/or minimization of estate taxes is certainly one good reason to engage the services of an estate planning attorney, there are a number of other reasons to consider which will be discussed in part 2 of this blog series.
Posted in Estate Planning
Tagged California, Estate Planning, Estate Planning Attorney, Estate Planning Law Firm, Estate Planning Lawyer, Estate Tax, estate tax report, estate tax return, Estate Tax Returns, Estate Taxes, Los Angeles, Woodland Hills
If you are a pet owner and concerned with protecting your companion, carrying a note in your wallet which contains care instructions in case of an emergency is always a good idea.
The emergency care note should contain:
- Emergency guardian contact info
- Landlord or owner of dwelling contact info
- Executor of estate contact info
- Neighbor’s contact info
You can use the following as a template for your emergency pet care note:
“In any situation in which I am unable to return home to feed my pets, such as my hospitalization or death, please immediately contact [Mary Smith] at [address and phone] or [John Doe] at [address and phone], to arrange for the feeding of my [cats/dogs] located in my home at [address]. The superintendent of my apartment building [name, address and phone], my Executor [name, address and phone], and my neighbor [name, address and phone] each have a copy of this document.”
For more information about protecting your pet, please see “Caring For Your Companion: The Importance of Protecting Your Pet“.
Pets receiving an inheritance! It may sound extreme, but planning for your pet’s future is not about money, it is about security for both of you. Just as responsible parents plan in advance to appoint a guardian to care for their children, responsible pet owners need to plan in advance for their pets. If you are a pet owner, you should have two plans in place:
1) If you are unable to properly care for your pet due to an illness or other incapacity
2) If you are unable to properly care for your pet due to your death.
According to ASPCA, approximately 62% of households in the United States have at least one pet. Yet, only 17% of pet owners have taken legal steps for their pet’s protection. There are some very easy and cost-effective options which you can take advantage of now. Don’t delay, your pets are counting on you!
Option 1 (Every pet owner must do this):
Carry a Pet Identification Card with you at all times. This can either be a physical card that you carry in your wallet or purse, or additional information contained in your I.C.E. (In case of Emergency) contact on your cell phone. The information on the Pet Identification Card should include:
a) a picture of your pet
b) the pet’s name
c) the location of the pet
d) any special needs of your pet
e) who to contact to take care of the pet. This card can advise a police officer or other emergency personnel that you have a pet that also needs assistance.
Posted in Pet Trusts
Tagged animals, Anker Hymes Schreiber, ASPCA, Inheritance for Pet, KC Knox, KC Marie Knox, Los Angeles, Pet Identification Card, Pet Inheritance, Pet Protection, Pet Trust, Pet Trust Attorney, Pet Trust Law Firm, Pet Trust Lawyer, Pet Trusts, probate, role of trustees, Trusts, Valencia, wills, Woodland Hills
Everyone’s estate plan will vary depending on an individual’s assets and desires on how to distribute those assets. However, at a minimum, everyone’s estate plan should include the following:
Contact Anker, Hymes & Schreiber, LLP today to speak with our experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Los Angeles regarding your estate plan.
Posted in Estate Planning
Tagged Advance Healthcare Directive, Anker Hymes & Schreiber LLP, asset distribution, assets, business, Durable Power of Attorney, Estate Plan, Estate Planning Attorney, HIPAA, Los Angeles, pour-over will, power of attorney, revocable living trust
A revocable living trust allows couples to effectively double the estate tax exemption (currently $5,000,000). If you only had a will, as opposed to a trust, which left everything to your surviving spouse, you would lose your exemption.
The trust lets you keep your exemption, which could potentially save over $1,000,000 in taxes.
For specific questions about setting up a living trust and estate taxes, please contact our Estate Planning Attorney in Los Angeles today at (818) 501-5800.
Posted in Living Trust
Tagged Anker Reed HSC, Anker Reed Hymes Schreiber, business, couples, economy, Estate Planning, Estate Planning Los Angeles, Estate Tax, Estate Tax Exemption, Estate Taxes, living trust, Los Angeles, revocable living trust
Whomever you named as successor trustee will take over the administration portion of our trust and distribute your assets in the manner you specified.
Please see the following previous posts for additional information regarding trustees:
Posted in Assets
Tagged administration portion, assets, attorney, business, California Lawyer Magazine, economy, Estate Planning, Law Firm, lawyer, Los Angeles, probate, setting up a trust, successor trustee, Trust, trust administration, trustees
A revocable living trust can be drafted and executed in a short time frame. There are no recurring costs for management or administration. So long as your trust is fully funded at the outset (which our Trust Attorney in Los Angeles can assist you with) then all you have to do to maintain it is to review the terms of the trust every couple of years and put any new assets that you acquire into the name of your trust.
For additional questions about living trusts, please contact our trust attorney in Los Angeles at Anker, Hymes & Schreiber, LLP today: (310) 519-0324.
Posted in Living Trust
Tagged (310) 519-0324, Drafting a living trust, Estate Planning, Estate Planning Attorney Los Angeles, Living Trust Attorney, name of your trust, no recurring cost, revocable living trust, Trust Attorney, Trust Attorney Los Angeles, Trust Law Firm
NO! You will not lose control of your assets that are in the trust.
You will be the trustee of your trust during your lifetime. You are able to buy, sell and borrow just as you were when your assets were held in your name as an individual. Here is more information regarding setting up a trust.
If you still have questions, please contact our Trust Attorney in Los Angeles today to schedule a consultation.
Posted in Trusts
Tagged assets, consultation, control of assets in trust, lifetime, Los Angeles, setting up a trust, Trust, Trust Attorney, trust law, trust lawyer, trustee
Wills can be of various degrees of complexity and can be utilized to achieve a wide variety of family and tax objectives:
- If a will provides for the outright distribution of assets, it is often characterized as a simple will.
- If a will establishes one or more trusts, it is often characterized as a testamentary trust will.
Alternatively, the will may leave probate assets to a preexisting living trust, where it is characterized as a pour-over will. Aside from providing for the intended disposition of your property, there are a number of other important objectives that may be accomplished, such as:
- Designating a guardian for minor children
- Eliminating the requirement for bond
- Designating future custodians for minors
For specific questions about drafting a will, please contact our will attorney in Los Angeles today at (818) 501-5800.
Posted in Wills
Tagged Designating a guardian, Designating future custodians, distribution of assets, drafting a will, living trust, Los Angeles, pour-over will, probate assets, simple will, tax objectives, testamentary trust will, Trusts, will attorney, Wills Attorney, Woodland Hills