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January 2017 Archives

Challenging a will

Almost 99 percent of wills go through the probate process without any issues. However, California residents who have completed a will should be aware of the different reasons a will can be challenged.

Estate planning should account for when things go wrong

California residents who are planning their estates might need to include clauses that address seemingly unlikely situations. When a spouse or an heir dies before or at the same time as an estate's creator, the state government may step in and implement statutes that impede the usual distribution of property. By incorporating features like simultaneous death clauses that designate who should be considered to have predeceased the other individual in cases where couples and other closely related estate creators perish simultaneously, it may be possible to avoid such outcomes. Those with joint ownership of assets may retitle such properties to ensure that they don't get transferred to the wrong estate when the original owners die.

Accounting for digital life after death

California residents may do their banking online or have one or more social media accounts. However, if passwords or PINs to those sites and other online properties aren't stored, it may be difficult for an individual's final wishes to be carried out. Ideally, these important records will not be kept in a safe deposit box at the bank. This is because some banks won't allow it to be opened in the absence of a court order.

Potential changes for estate plans in California

The election of a new president always brings the potential for changes to laws, but since the House, Senate and presidency belong to one party now, it is even more likely that laws will change. One thing that has been frequently discussed is changing the way that estate planning laws work, and some believe that the estate tax may be repealed.

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