How to protect your assets, even if you didn’t win the billion dollar powerball

Posted January 25, 2016 in Estate Planning, Probate by Michael Lonich.

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January 25, 2016
How to protect your assets, even if you didn’t win the billion dollar powerball
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After the historical $1.5 billion jackpot was finally won, it is time for many of us to consider how to protect our assets during our lifetime and after. Although winning the lottery may not be something we will experience, many of us do have valuable assets that we would like to protect when we are gone.  Therefore, this year it might be time to give your estate plan a review.

An important tool in estate planning to consider is the living trust (also called a revocable living trust). In its simplest form, a living trust is a written agreement which sets forth what happens to your assets in the event of your death.  One of the greatest advantages of a living trust is that it protects your estate from the probate process, which can be time consuming and expensive. And while a living trust is primarily used as a convenient and efficient way to distribute your assets upon death, you still maintain control over all your assets during your lifetime. Therefore you can alter, add or revoke the living trust at any time for any reason.

In many situations, a trust is the best way to achieve your goals. With a trust you can:

  • Avoid probate
  • Provide for your care should you no longer be able to handle your own affairs
  • Provide for children from a previous marriage
  • Hold money for minors and ensure they cannot spend it all the minute they come of age
  • Protect assets from creditors and former spouses
  • Benefit family and charity through one mean

Probate, on the other hand, is the process the court utilizes to manage the affairs of a decedent’s estate. In contrast to a living trust, the probate process, in most metropolitan areas in California, can take about 6- 18 months. This delay creates additional expenses that can consume 3% to 6% or more of the gross value of the probate estate.

At Lonich & Patton, our estate planning attorneys don’t believe in offering services that are “one size fits all.” We understand that each family has particular needs and concerns, and we can customize our estate planning services to meet these specific needs and ensure that your long term wishes are carried out. If you are interested in nonprobate transfers or have any questions regarding your current estate plan, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich & Patton for further information. The attorneys at Lonich & Patton have decades of experience handling complex estate planning matters, including nonprobate transfers, and we are happy to offer you a free consultation. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Source:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2012/01/04/make-a-new-years-resolution-to-give-your-estate-plan-a-checkup-2/#2715e4857a0b7be8584f7cf0

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Gina N. Policastri Receives 2016 Avvo Clients’ Choice Award

Posted January 22, 2016 in Firm News, Uncategorized by Michael Lonich.

Gina Policastri, partner at Lonich & Patton, was recently awarded the 2016 AVVO Clients’ Choice Award.  To obtain this award, an attorney must receive five or more 4 or 5 star client reviews on AVVO within a year.  Gina did this in the first 21 days of 2016!  Gina’s award reflects her reputation for high quality and compassionate legal representation.  As one recent client reviewer stated, “Gina is a highly competent, intelligent and witty attorney. She understands family law, knows your rights, is highly proactive and will fight for you and your children. Don’t hesitate to meet with Gina, you will be impressed with her professionalism and compassion for your situation and needs.”

Gina Policastri is a Certified Family Law Specialist.  She handles all areas of family law including high conflict custody cases, complex business valuation and asset division issues and complicated child and spousal support matters.

 

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Important Estate Tax Figure for 2016

Posted January 21, 2016 in Estate Planning by Michael Lonich.

For 2016, the federal estate tax exemption has increased to $5.45 million per individual, up from $5.43 million in 2015.

The estate tax is a tax on the value of your estate which exceeds the estate tax exemption. Your estate consists of the fair market value of everything you own or have interest in at the time of your death. The total of all of these items is your “Gross estate.” Once your Gross estate is accounted for, certain deductions are allowed and thus your “taxable estate” is determined.

After the net amount is computed, the value of lifetime taxable gifts (beginning with gifts made in 1977) is added to this number and the tax is computed. The tax is then reduced by the available unified credit.

Many relatively simple estates do not require the filing of an estate tax return, however you should consult with an estate attorney. A filing is required for estates with combined gross assets and prior taxable gifts exceeding $5.45 for 2016.

 

Estate Tax 2016 2015
Federal estate tax exemption $5.45 million $5.43 million
Maximum estate tax rate 40% 40%
Annual Gift Exclusion 2016 2015
Amount you can give each recipient $14,000 $14,000

 

Estate planning is a highly complex area of law. If you are interested in creating a trust for your family business or have any questions regarding your current estate plan, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich & Patton for further information. The attorneys at Lonich & Patton have decades of experience handling complex estate planning matters, including family business trusts, and we are happy to offer you a free consultation. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Sources:

IRS 2016 tax: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-15-53.pdf

https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Whats-New-Estate-and-Gift-Tax

https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Estate-Tax

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What happens to the children after a split when you are not married?

Posted January 21, 2016 in Family Law by Michael Lonich.

The Kardashians always seem to be in the news. While the Kardashians are widely known for their expensive lifestyle and new fashion trends, Kourtney Kardashian was all over the news after her split with Scott Disick. Kourtney and Scott were together for about 9 years and have 3 children (Mason, 6, Penelope, 3, and Reign, 1]). However, while there seems to be no issue with Kourtney keeping the kids, what happens to the children after a split when you are not married?

The concept of a “common law marriage” no longer exists in California. Thus, simply living together does not give rise to a “marriage” or other legal marriage-like union under California law. This means that a non-marital cohabiting relationship does not give rise to “spousal-type” rights, obligations or remedies (except under certain circumstances in an invalid marriage, a “putative spouse” or under a Marvin claim, where non-marital partners have the right to enforce expressed or implied agreements for support or property sharing in the event of a separation).

However, there are certain family statutory rights and obligations that arise regardless of there being a formal marriage. Child support, for example, is a statuary duty to support minor children (and certain adult children) imposed on the parents regardless of them having ever been married.  California Family Code § 3900 provides that both the father and mother of a minor child have an equal responsibility to support their child. This duty continues until the unmarried child completes the 12th grade or attains the age of 18, whichever occurs first. However, the law does not limit the rights of parents to agree to provide additional support. A child support obligation between non-marital cohabiting parents is enforceable either through a parentage action or other action under the Family Code. Similarly, non-marital cohabiting partners have custody and visitation rights similarly to those formally married.

If you have any questions about child support or child custody, the Certified Family Law Specialists at Lonich & Patton have decades of experience handling complex family law matters. Please contact the Certified Family Law Specialists at Lonich & Patton for further information.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Five Holiday Tips During Divorce

Posted December 16, 2015 in Family Law by Michael Lonich.

Holidays are the time in the year in which we all look forward to spending time with our family, friends, and loved ones. Consequently, dealing with divorce during this time of the year can be challenging.  However, these five holiday tips may help to ease this difficult time.

1. Choose Who You Spend Time With. The holidays are usually filed with holiday parties and gatherings, however, these events may be stressful for a newly single person. While it is important to practice socializing in your new single lifestyle, you should not force yourself to go to these events. Only go if you expect it will be a pleasant experience for you. If not, then this is also an opportunity to start creating new holiday traditions in which you can find enjoyable.

2. Take A Break From The Divorce. During the holidays, things tend to slow down and not much is likely to get done. For this reason, this time of the year is a perfect time to take a break from the stress of divorce and focus on yourself. Take some time to refresh yourself and do something special to welcome your better life to come, such as reconnecting with old friends.

3. Make Plans to Fill the Voids. Even if you are doing something by yourself, it is still a plan. You can watch a new movie or even read that great book you have been wanting to get to.

4. Get Real. Remember that there is no “perfect family” like those Norman Rockwell paintings. In today’s world, families come in all shapes and sizes, so feel comfortable with your new situation because you are not alone.

5. Be Fair with the Children. While the holidays may be a difficult time for you, it is just a difficult, if not more so, for your children. They need to know that it is okay to spend time with both their parents and that they should not feel obligated to choose one over the other.

These are just a few tips available to individuals dealing with divorce during the holidays. The Certified Family Law Specialists at Lonich & Patton have decades of experience handling complex family law matters.  If you are interested in learning more about scheduling where your children will spend the holidays, please contact Lonich & Patton for further information.  Keep in mind that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Souce: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/divorce-magazine/6-tips-for-divorcing-duri_b_8544912.html

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