MICHAEL W. BROWN, INC.

Estate & Business
Planning and Elder Law

 
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Michael W. Brown's practice is approximately 70% Estate Planning and Elder Law and 30% Business Planning.  He is committed to providing the most up-to-date planning techniques presented in easy to understand language.

Mr. Brown is Certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in Estate Planning Trusts and Probate Law; a member of the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section of the California State Bar; the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.; and a former Chairman of the Planned Giving Committee of the Los Angeles Affiliate of the American Heart Association.

 

Contact us today to get started. 


 

Estate Management.

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You might not realize it, 

but you have already made plans to manage your estate and take care of your family when you die or become disabled.

You have probably used joint ownership or even a will.  Or, maybe you haven't done anything at all. Its not unusual.

Each of these traditional planning methods (and doing nothing is very traditional) have different consequences.  It is our experience that most people don't realize what this can mean until it is too late.

For example, did you know:

  • A Will does not avoid probate court.

  • Using the probate court to settle an estate can take from 5% to 15% of its value.

  • Court files are public record and anyone can have access to your file.

  • You and your property can be placed under the control of the court before you die.

  • You may not be able to sell jointly owned property without approval from the court.

  • The court could control your child's inheritance.

  • Your life insurance may not be able to help your family when they need it.

  • A living trust does not avoid taxes.

  • A living trust does not protect your assets from creditors.

 

Estate Tax.

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Federal and Gift Tax...

is a tax on the transfer of assets while alive or at the time of death.

Who is affected by Estate Taxes?  The heirs of people who are worth more than $11,180,000 when they die.

The law provides that:

  • Individuals can give up to $15,000 per year to as many individuals as they wish, tax free.  A married couple can jointly give twice that amount.

  • Individuals can give, while alive or at death, an unlimited amount of wealth to their spouse, as long as they are U.S. citizens.

  • In addition, individuals can give, while alive, up to $11,180,000, by using their tax credits.

  • A "Bypass Trust" allows a married couple to use both spouses' $11,180,000 exclusion amount.  This results in a minimum of $22,360,000 being sheltered from estate tax rather than just the $11,180,000 which results when only the unlimited marital deduction is used.

  • In addition, new portability rules allow a deceased spouse to transfer their unused exemptions to the surviving spouse.

 

Business Planning.

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Most small businesses...

need a yearly review of corporate activities to make sure they follow corporate legal formalities and keep a "paper trail" regarding their financial operations.  

This office conducts that review, as well as being available throughout the year to answer clients' questions or to refer them to someone who can.  

In addition we assist clients in:

  • Preserving their personal liability protection.

  • Preserving all income tax deductions.

  • Using their business to reduce estate taxes.

  • Planning for the succession to partners, children or employees.

  • Conducting their yearly shareholder and director meetings.

  • Selling to outsiders.

Medi-Cal Planning.

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Qualifying for Medi-Cal...

is a complicated process, but done correctly can save the family thousands of dollars.

 
  • The worst case scenario is that you you can keep your house, your car and half of your cash.
  • More aggressive techniques may be used in specific situations.