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Estate Planning Archives

Seniors need to update their estate plans when moving

California seniors move into assisted living communities for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they just want to be free of responsibilities like home maintenance, cooking and cleaning. Many newly widowed people feel isolated and want the socialization that these communities provide. Some people need a little help with activities of daily life (ADL) like bathing and dressing as they get older.

What if a condition placed on an inheritance can't be met?

Sometimes, when developing an estate plan, people choose to place conditions on the money inherited through wills or trusts. The beneficiary must meet what's called a "condition precedent." For example, you may make your grandchild a beneficiary of a trust, but only after they've graduated from college or if they use the money to start a business.

Using estate planning to fund loved ones' educational goals

Many people see their estate plan as a means not just to leave money to their grandchildren and others in younger and future generations, but specifically to help them (and their parents) pay for the best possible education they can get. Setting up a trust is a popular way to do that. There's more than one way to set aside money for future educational needs. It's important to choose the one that best meets your family's needs and is fair to everyone.

Are you considering leaving your kids unequal inheritances?

Many people take advantage of having their families together over the holidays to discuss their estate plans. Maybe you're in the early stages of thinking about your plan. Perhaps you have one in place and just want to check in with everyone to see if there are things that you need to revise.

3 ways estate planning can keep the family together

A death in the family is difficult enough, but when inheritance arguments erupt, it can result in the disintegration of the entire family. Fortunately, most estate planning attorneys are well-armed with various strategies to plan an estate in a way that limits the chances of family infighting.

Don't forget your “digital life” in your estate plan

If you're one of those people whose bank statements and bills show up in your email inbox instead of your mailbox and you can't remember the last time you bought postage stamps, congratulations on minimizing your carbon footprint. However, if most (or any) of your financial and tax information is online, you need to include your digital life in your estate plan.

Don't just lock away your advance health care directive

An advance health care directive is one of the most crucial elements in your estate plan. Even if you don't have a full estate plan in place, by having this document, you can let your medical providers know about your wishes regarding what measures you want taken (or not taken) to keep you alive if you suffer a serious injury or illness and are unable to speak for yourself.

Why people put off estate planning — and why they shouldn't

People have all sorts of reasons for postponing their estate planning. Unfortunately, too many people postpone it for so long that they die without any estate plan in place — even a simple will. They don't intend to, but they leave their family members with the stressful, time-consuming and often expensive task of dealing with their assets and debts in probate court.

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