Estate Planning Archives
While estate planning goals vary widely among people in California, irrevocable trusts can adapt to many uses. In general, an irrevocable trust holds property for another party's benefit and cannot be altered once established.
It isn't uncommon for California residents to write their own wills. However, there are several mistakes that people tend to make when doing so without the help of an attorney. For instance, it may be possible for individuals to forget to include their family members as part of the document. While a person can give money or other assets to whoever he or she wants, close family members have the right to challenge a will.
In the realm of estate planning in California, a new type of asset has appeared. Along with such assets as real estate, financial accounts, personal property and intellectual property, a person must now consider digital property assets as an item to account for in his or her estate plan.
People in California who live together but are not married may want to consider creating estate plans. As part of an estate plan, each person can give the other permission to make medical decisions. Another reason for an estate plan is so that partners can inherit assets from one another. Without these protections in place, these rights will default to family members, and unmarried partners may have no say.
When California residents are planning for the disposition of their estates, one of the most important factors in protecting the estate and its continuity can be involving heirs in the process. Especially in the case of high-value estates with significant assets, family and shared knowledge and communication can be particularly essential.
California parents of children with special needs often have challenging, lifetime planning options to consider. Lifetime care, including support for housing, caregivers and other professional support, can have costs that run well into seven figures.
Estate planning is used to ensure that assets are handled according to the owners' wishes after they have died. For California same-sex couples, there may be issues that require additional consideration.
It is not uncommon for California residents to get married more than once. However, a second or subsequent marriage could lead to estate planning issues that may be overlooked. For example, property that a person brings into a marriage is generally considered to be that person's property. However, money or property accrued during a marriage will likely be considered property of both spouses.
When estate plans include a family business, owners face a unique set of challenges in establishing continuity and protecting the company during transition. Owners of California-based family businesses will want to carefully think ahead to avoid family disputes over control, keep third-party relationships intact and minimize the estate's tax implications.
A person in California who is preparing an estate plan might also want to consider writing something known as a letter of final wishes. This is a document that addresses all the aspects of an estate plan that wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies and other documents cannot. An LFW might discuss a testator's reasons for making certain estate planning decisions and more.