As many California residents may know, having an estate plan in place may help avoid bitter, lengthy and costly disputes when someone dies. The battle between Anna Nicole Smith's estate and her husband's family is testament to what may happen when an estate is challenged. While both Smith and the eldest son of the man she married are dead, the battle continues between the estate's heirs.
Many California residents were shocked and saddened by the death of Robin Williams. While entertainers may be so involved with their career they fail to ignore estate planning, it appears Williams did not neglect taking steps to protect and direct his wealth after his death.
When it comes to estate planning, some California parents ignore the benefits of the choices available to them. One example is using a trust to make sure that assets pass to intended parties. Using a trust can give parents more control over their estate versus leaving it up to a court or in the hands of an executor. Some parents might be concerned about privacy and do not want their will publicly available in probate court. A living trust could be the answer due to the fact that such a trust is not subject to probate.
People in California may recall the story of a soldier who was killed by a bomb in Iraq, and his father, who went to court to get Yahoo to release his son's emails. Who gets digital assets after someone passes away is a new area of law and an issue people should address in their estate planning. Who gets access to emails, social media accounts and even things like paid downloads of music and videos should all be spelled out in an estate plan to avoid confusion and unintended results.