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Los Gatos California Legal Blog

California's probate process for a will

Probate is the legal process of taking care of a person's assets and financial affairs after he or she dies. Even if a person has a will, the probate process assures that the decedent's wishes are carried out.

California probate proceedings usually take a minimum of eight months, but can go on for several years. They take place in the county where the decedent resided.

Avoid these celebrity estate planning mistakes

Estate planning, like taxes, is something most people would rather put off until later. However, when it comes to life and death, we can't be sure there will be a later. There are lessons we can learn from reading about celebrity deaths.

Many celebrities have died without wills, leaving family members to squabble over their millions. Included in that list are big names like Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Prince and many others. Celebrities that did take the time and effort to create wills and trusts often made some very big mistakes or omissions.

What you need to know about capital gains

When you sell shares of stock, land or a business, and make a profit on it, the profit is known as capital gains. If you lose money on the sale -- in other words, sell it for less than you paid -- that is considered capital losses. You are taxed on capital gains as income.

The rates that you are taxed on the capital gains are dependent on how long you held the asset before selling it. If you owned it less than a year, it is considered a short-term capital gain. The amount would be taxed using the rate for your tax bracket.

3 tips for avoiding a tax audit

The tax season is upon us! March is the time when most individuals and families realize that April 15 is only a few short weeks away. While tax preparation software has seemingly become the normal way to get taxes done, many families still seek the services of a tax preparation specialist or accountant (or lawyer), or even attempt to do their forms themselves.

Regardless of the method used, many people still worry about the possibility of an IRS tax audit. As you start working on this important deadline, here are few tips to mitigate that possibility.

Federal Trade Commission continues case against AT&T

In 2014, AT&T was sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly reducing the data speed on heavy data users who had unlimited data plans. According to the FTC, AT&T failed to notify the users that their data speed would be reduced by nearly 90 percent.

AT&T is the number two wireless carrier in the U.S. According to AT&T, because it is a common carrier, it is exempt from the FTC regulations. An appeals court ruled favorably on AT&T's behalf.

What happens when you don't file taxes?

If you didn't file your taxes one year, you may not want to file the next year because of fear that the IRS will notice that you didn't file the year before. Be careful, one year can lead to another year, to another year and so on.

The IRS doesn't have a statute of limitations on filing your taxes if you owe them money. Even if it has been 10 or 20 years since the taxes were not filed, you can still file them. However, you cannot collect refunds for taxes over the last three years. But if the IRS finds that you owed and never paid, they can start collection at any time. Unfortunately, late filing will mean you owe more as you will have to pay additional penalties and interest.

What is fraudulent misrepresentation in the business world?

Fraudulent misrepresentation is not the same as breach of contract. A breach of contract is when all parties agree to certain terms of a contract, and then one of the parties does not follow through on their end of the deal.

Where fraudulent misrepresentation differs is that the contract is based on a false premise. Something in the contract terms might be misleading, false or inaccurate. Another type of fraudulent misrepresentation could even be a gesture or a verbal statement that misled parties to sign an agreement.

No Prince hologram for the Superbowl per the Prince family

You might have noticed that there was no hologram of Prince featured at the Superbowl this year. Many had hoped that Justin Timberlake would sing alongside a reproduction of Prince's likeness in memory of the great musician's contribution and life.

However, the Prince family decided to cancel any plans to use Prince's image in hologram form. Instead, it was displayed as a backdrop image while Timberlake performed his rendition of the Prince hit "Purple Rain."

Why do I need a healthcare directive?

Many people don't realize the importance of health care directives until it's too late. They may find themselves having to make hard and fast health care decisions on behalf of their loved ones. And when they do make a decision, they may be riddled with guilt not knowing if it was what their loved one wanted.

Healthcare directives can give you a chance to provide your family with direction if you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions.

If you're still on the fence whether you need one or not, here are some reasons why a healthcare directive might be right for you.

Who will execute your estate plans?

There are a lot of decisions to make when you and your attorney are doing your estate planning.

Once you have decided what type of documents you need and who will get what, it is time to make another crucial decision -- who will you delegate to make sure your plans are carried out?

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