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Los Angeles Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Do I have the right to live in my deceased parents' home?

When it comes to your parents' home, you might think that you have a natural right to live there, even after they pass away or become incapacitated. While this usually does not cause a problem, in some cases, a parent's home may pass ownership to someone else who does not wish for you to live there.

If you do find yourself in conflict with the new owner of a parent's home, whether he or she is one of your other family members or some other person who now owns the home, you must consider your next few steps carefully.

Estate planning involves talking to your children

There's more to developing an estate plan than preparing all of the necessary documents with your attorney. If you're leaving a considerable amount of money and/or other assets to your children, it's important to talk with them about handling the wealth that they will one day inherit.

Few people are comfortable with talking about money, let alone what will happen when they die. That's why it's best when this can be done in a relaxed atmosphere, such as during a family vacation or over the holidays.

How do wills and trusts differ?

When Californians begin the process of estate planning with their attorney, they're often dealing with documents and terms with which they are only vaguely, if at all, familiar. However, it's essential to understand what these various documents are and the distinct purposes that they serve. Two common ones are a will and a trust.

The purpose of the will is to detail who will receive your assets after you die and whom you are naming to be the executor. The executor is tasked with making sure that the terms of the will are carried out as you have designated.

Know what to do when it is necessary to contest an estate plan

Estate plans are something that your loved ones might have in place to make it easy to handle their estate when they pass away. It is possible that some family members might fight against these estate plans, but they must have a good reason to do so.

At Conver & Grebe LLP, we understand that you are probably ready to just have the whole ordeal behind you. Whether you are the person who is contesting the estate plan or fighting back against it, we can help you assert your side of the case. This is a very difficult time for everyone, so being able to think about things with a clear head might be helpful.

Know when to consider assisted living and conservatorship

Determining when it is time for a loved one to move into a nursing home is a tough process. Many people try to put this off as long as they can, but doing so can cause some hardships on the caregivers.

Making decisions like this will sometimes take a team effort. Your loved one's medical care team might assist with this process since they can help you to understand what your loved one truly needs.

What can we learn from renowned actor's estate planning mistakes?

Most of our readers remember the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Even if you don't recognize his name, you likely saw him in one of the many movies he did, including "Hunger Games," "Doubt," "Charlie Wilson's War" and "Capote." Hoffman died in 2014 of a fatal mixture of drugs. The Oscar-winning actor was found with a syringe still in his arm.

Hoffman had done some planning for his $35 million estate. He reportedly had a certified public accountant draft his will. In it, he left all of his money to his girlfriend to care for the couple's three children. He did not want to put his children's money in trusts because he didn't want them to be "trust fund kids." However, his will did stipulate that he wanted them to have access to the arts and other cultural opportunities available in major metropolitan cities.

Why you need an estate plan if you're young and single

Americans are staying single for longer -- often through their 20s and into their 30s. Often single people don't have any kind of estate plan in place, particularly if they have no children and don't yet own a home or have significant assets.

However, even if you opt not to yet draw up a will, there are a couple of estate planning documents that you should have in place to protect you, ensure that your wishes are respected and save your loved ones considerable stress, time and money should you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. That can happen in a blink of an eye in a car crash or due to some other injury.

Joint property can help you avoid probate for part of your estate

Most California residents want to spare their heirs the difficulty, time and costs associated with probate proceedings. There are a lot of different strategies one can employ to eliminate the need for probate. One way involves the elimination of probate for specific assets, and it involves the use of joint property.

Let's say you own a classic Mustang convertible and you'd like your grandson to receive the vehicle after you're gone. However, you don't want your grandson to wait through probate proceedings to get access to your car. By giving your grandson joint ownership of the vehicle, when you die, the car will automatically be his, and it won't have to go through probate.

Review your estate plan before you remarry

If you're remarrying and haven't yet created an estate plan, now is the time to do so. It can prevent issues among your children, new spouse and previous spouse if you pass away or become incapacitated to the point where you're no longer able to speak for yourself.

If you already have an estate plan, good for you! Now you need to look it over with your estate planning attorney to make any necessary changes to reflect your new circumstances and prevent the problems noted above.

Can I challenge a will if I think it is unfair?

Dissatisfied family members have attempted to challenge wills ever since their creation as a tool to make one's end of life wishes known and pass on property to heirs. It is, in many ways, a fixture of the process for many families.

These days, however, the notion "I deserve this particular piece of property, it's my birthright!" carries far less weight than do the terms of the will and the federal and state-level laws that govern estate planning and will execution.

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