When an individual passes on, the person's family may be the beneficiaries of an estate plan. However, it is important to understand how assets will be valued before and after being placed into an estate when the benefactor is considering liquidating some before his or her death. This is because some assets may expose heirs to higher taxes than necessary.
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.
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.
There are many potential estate planning mistakes that could make it harder for an estate to distribute assets to beneficiaries. One of the biggest errors occurs when an executor of an estate is not up to the challenge of following the terms of a will, or the trustee of a trust doesn't pay attention to detail. By not following the terms of a trust or will or by using poor judgement, legal challenges could be made.
When someone passes away, their assets are generally distributed based on what is in their will or, if they die without a will, according to the state laws of intestacy. However, in many cases there are outstanding debts which can complicate the situation, especially if the individual's estate planning documents do not address the issue.
Having an estate plan in order as soon as possible can reduce the stress of those who are tasked with administering the estate and following a person's final wishes. When documents are properly prepared and organized, it enables beneficiaries to get their inheritance sooner rather than later. If the last wishes of a California resident are not stated or are unclear, it could result in messy legal battles that could cost a lot of money to sort out.
Increasingly, throughout California and the rest of the country, people over the age of 65 are getting married. This can lead to complications in estate planning particularly for those who have been married before and have children from a previous relationship.
Father’s Day is this coming Sunday (June 15). It is a day to celebrate the sacrifices and contributions that fathers and father figures have made on their families, especially children. On Father’s Day, much of the focus is on giving dad gifts or giving him a rest from most of his duties. The gifts typically focus on power tools, fishing tackle, baseball tickets or even ties. However, it may be difficult to shop for the dad who has everything.
Whether you have a will or not, part of your estate plan must deal with digital assets. Traditionally, estate plans did not deal with these assets, since they are a relatively new aspect of estate planning. However, a majority of people have email accounts, and a growing number of people keep digital copies of important documents and pictures.
In a number of our posts we have noted that estate planning is helpful for people at just about any age. You don’t need to have millions in liquid assets, multiple real estate holdings or tax shelters in order to have a basic estate plan. In fact, just having an idea about how you would want to be treated medically if you are unable to speak, or who you would want to make decisions on your behalf is enough. With this in mind, we offer this post to introduce the basic things you should have in your estate plan.