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Los Angeles Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

How can you prevent family conflicts over your estate?

No one wants their family to fight over their assets after they're gone. However, even when there's an estate plan in place, family members and other beneficiaries (or people who believe they were left out) may try to dispute the will and other documents in court.

One Los Angeles attorney says that in 90 percent of estate contests, none of the warring parties comes out ahead. Their legal costs may exceed whatever assets they managed to get reallocated to them.

The 'Queen of Soul' reportedly died with no estate plan

Most people would assume that someone as wealthy and successful as Aretha Franklin would have had a detailed estate plan in place when she passed away recently. However, the "Queen of Soul" reportedly died without even a will — let alone any other documents detailing how she wanted her assets divided among her family and others.

The same happened with another music icon — Prince — when he died two years ago. Reportedly, his estate has still not been settled.

Recognizing dementia and the end of testamentary capacity

When your loved one creates a will, or even if you create one, one thing that can't happen is for changes to take place after you lose testamentary capacity. If you've never heard of this before, it simply means that you can't make changes to your will or other estate documents if you're not mentally sound.

This is a protection that prevents people from taking advantage of you during time of confusion. It also helps prevent changes due to hallucinations or confusion. Testamentary capacity is necessary for anyone to change a will or estate plan.

Why estate planning is crucial if you're in the cannabis business

Marijuana has been legal here in California for medicinal purposes since 2004. At the beginning of this year, its recreational sale and use was legalized. Therefore, many Californians engaged in cannabusiness, who are sometimes known as "ganjapreneurs," have accumulated considerable assets.

However, leaving those assets to family members and other heirs when they die can present some complications that other types of business owners don't face. Californians involved in this business have had to operate under complicated and ever-changing laws and regulations over the past 14 years. Some people involved in the cannabis business haven't kept their earnings in traditional bank accounts.

Planning for your elder years when you don't have children

Many baby boomers opted not to have children. Now, in their retirement years, they have plenty of time and money to spend traveling, pursuing new hobbies and visiting friends without having to worry about making time for children and grandchildren.

However, people without children need to carefully plan for their own care in the latter decades of their lives. Even if you've remained in good health and reasonably active into your 60s and 70s, that can begin to change as you get into your 80s and older. Something called senescence takes place. That's the breakdown of the body. There's no escaping it.

Tips to help with your duties as executor of an estate

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be an emotional and difficult time. For some people, the stress can be compounded by acting as the executor of the decedent's estate. However, if you are an executor, there are things you can do to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the task before you. When it comes to managing an estate, organization is key.

If you take the time to understand the legal documents associated with the estate and stay organized throughout the process, you can get through the ordeal with ease. Here are some tips that can help you settle your loved one's estate.

Why 'micro estate planning' is valuable for parents of young kids

As we frequently discuss here, a thorough estate plan can help you provide for your loved ones after you're gone and also help them avoid costly probate fees and unnecessary taxes. If you have minor children, you can designate one or more guardians in your estate plan to care for them if you and your co-parent both died or became incapacitated.

However, as one financial advisor notes, parents of young children would be wise to go one step further. That involves something he has termed "micro estate planning."

How to include your cryptocurrency in your California estate plan

Cryptocurrency has become increasingly popular in recent years. These digital assets are popular not just with experienced traders, but with everyday folks hoping to strike it rich with the next initial coin offering (ICO).

Part of the intrigue and appeal of cryptocurrencies are their anonymous nature. However, that anonymity means that if you don't take the proper steps when drafting your estate plan, your cryptocurrency investments be lost in cyberspace when you pass away.

Challenging an estate with a no-contest clause in California

There are numerous reasons why you may need to contest a will or estate plan in California. Maybe your parent remarried, and his or her spouse applied a lot of pressure toward having the will changed. Perhaps your loved one made drastic changes to the will in the last weeks of his or her life, during a stage of serious mental decline. There are many valid reasons to question a last will's contents.

Whatever the reason, it is important to understand that your rights as an heir are somewhat limited under the law. In some cases, bringing a challenge can even affect your ability to inherit anything at all. If the person who passed on included a no-contest clause in one's will, bringing a challenge in the courts could actually result in losing your inheritance.

Developing a multigenerational estate plan

In many California homes, multiple generations of a family live under one roof. Young adults may move back in with their parents for a time after college until they can afford a place of their own. As people live longer, baby boomers are taking in elderly widowed parents so that they don't have to live alone or move to an assisted living facility. With the high cost of owning property in Southern California, at some point, it may be a financial necessity for parents, grandparents and adult children to share a home.

Sometimes, seniors may not want to give up their homes, but may not be able to care for or navigate a large multistory home. They may let children or grandchildren move into the home while they keep a small section of it for themselves.

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