Did your elderly parent insist on remaining in their home until their death, surrounded by the furniture, trinkets and other items they could never bring themselves to clear out? If so, you may be facing the daunting task of cleaning out that home and selling it.
You've inherited part of a family member's estate. Maybe they designated you as a beneficiary in their will. Perhaps they died without a will ("intestate") and you are due a portion of the estate under California's probate laws. What if you don't want or need the inheritance? You'd prefer that someone else receive it -- or at least a portion of it? Maybe you have a sibling who has greater need for the money (or property) than you do.
By having a thorough, professionally-developed estate plan, you can ensure that your affairs will be looked after responsibly if you become physically and/or mentally incapacitated and unable to do so. You also can plan for your assets to be disbursed as you've designated after you're gone.
Sometimes, people make decisions when drafting their estate plan that they don't discuss with their family. They may want to avoid the conflict inherent in telling a child that their sibling is getting more money than them or that they're leaving the bulk of their estate to their favorite animal rescue group instead of their children and other family members. They may feel that a friend or caregiver has done more for them in their old age than any of their kids and want to reward them accordingly.
Your older sister was named the executor of your father's estate. Your dad was your last living parent. You were fine with her having that job. She's a retired realtor who at one point in her life worked on Wall Street. Therefore, she had the time and the skills to handle the job.
Your mother named you the executor of her estate. She had a detailed estate plan when she died. However, she hadn't gotten around to updating her plan to take into account some issues that arose after the plan was put in place.
As people get older, they often share their home with others. Sometimes these are family members or friends who help care for them so that they can avoid having to move into an assisted living facility. In other cases, they rent out a room or guest house to bring in some extra income. Some people maintain one or more rental properties in addition to their own homes.
If a loved one died here in California owing money, it's essential to understand how to handle creditors' claims on the estate. These claims have to be filed within a year after the death of the person who owed money. If that deadline is missed, a creditor's claim is generally unenforceable.
When Californians don't have an estate plan, there's the chance that people whom they wouldn't want to have any authority to administer their estate may petition to do so. The case of a former television actor is evidence of this.
If a loved one asks you to be the executor of his or her estate, it's understandably not something you want to think about until you have to. However, after your loved one is gone, you're likely going to be in a state of grief and perhaps denial.