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Stephen Cockriel

Cohabitation and estate planning in California

In California, there is no such thing as common law marriage. This means that unless a couple is married, a domestic partner or cohabitating partner may not claim any asset as his or hers unless stated in the deceased person's will.

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Stephen Cockriel

An overview of Totten trusts

There are many financial solutions for California residents who need to manage assets that will be left to their heirs in the future. In many cases, individuals with significant assets are looking for opportunities to minimize the risk of probate activity after their death.

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Stephen Cockriel

IRS issues new rules for estate tax closing letters

California taxpayers may be interested to learn that the Internal Revenue Service recently announced that it will no longer be sending out a letter notifying those who have filed Form 706, which is used to calculate a decedent's estate tax, that the filing has been accepted.

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Stephen Cockriel

Trusts for special needs children

Children with disabilities can face various challenges upon losing their parents, especially if their disabilities make them dependent on full-time caregivers.

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Stephen Cockriel

Federal estate tax will increase for 2016

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that the federal estate and gift tax exemption would be raised for 2016. This increase can impact the way that wealthy individuals in California handle their estate planning.

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Stephen Cockriel

Estate planning in California

Those who wish to avoid probate have a few options at their disposal. First, it may be possible to put assets into a revocable grantor trust. In such a scenario, an individual makes a gift to the trust that he or she is the trustee of.

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Stephen Cockriel

Executors of California estates

An executor is in charge of handling a decedent's estate. The first steps of this process involve gathering the assets and determining their value. In some cases, the executor will need to have an expert appraise assets.

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Stephen Cockriel

The use of trusts in estate planning

For many California residents, estate planning is best handled in the simplest way possible. The most basic form of ensuring that an individual's heirs get their assets is to leave property to them in a will.

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