Communication is important for any area in life. It is particularly important when it comes to estate planning in California. Failure to communicate with family members and intended beneficiaries can result in future problems.
One common mistake is when people decide how they would like to have their assets divided without consulting with intended heirs. Many times a specific amount of assets is donated to charity as well as other family members and friends. The remainder of the assets is then generally divided equally among a person's children. This may result in an estate plan that works for everybody; however, sometimes it can cause problems for heirs.
These types of estate plans have failed because the estate planning strategies have not factored in what beneficiaries actually prefer to receive. This often leads to conflicts among one's children. For example, if one decides to divide the ownership of a vacation home among one's three children, one child may actually be estranged from his or her siblings. However, this child is now burdened with paying property taxes on the jointly owned real estate property.
Also, it is important to not procrastinate in having this conversation regarding estate planning with one's children and intended beneficiaries. Life can offer many surprises, and no one in California or elsewhere ever knows when his or her passing may occur. This also means that even after an estate plan is in place, one should periodically update one's estate plan in order to conform with the changing desires of one's intended beneficiaries.
Source: itemonline.com, "Why should you work on your estate plan now?", Brian Vnak, Sept. 2, 2015