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.
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.
If you are a Californian who doesn't have an estate plan in place -- even a simple will or trust -- your assets will be distributed after your death according to the California Probate Code. This law delineates what percentage of a deceased person's assets various family members are entitled to receive simply by virtue of their familial connection.
There's been significant media coverage of the tragic, untimely death of celebrity chef, author and world traveler Anthony Bourdain, who introduced viewers of his television show to people he met and shared meals with across the globe.
The recent suicides of celebrity chef/travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade stunned the world, in part because they both seemed to have it all. They had something in common besides obviously not being as happy as they outwardly appeared to be. Both were separated from their spouses when they took their lives.
It seems as though comedians have taken an increasing large role in calling out issues that Americans need to know about. Whether you agree with a particular person's political opinions or not, it doesn't hurt to see if sometimes they might just be alerting you to something you need to hear about.
Shortly before her death this year, former First Lady Barbara Bush exercised her wishes for how she would spend whatever time she had left. In a public statement, Mrs. Bush, who had been suffering from pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure, said that she would "not…seek additional medical treatment and will focus on comfort care."
Would you want local government employees deciding what happens to your belongings and even your body after you die? Virtually no one would. However, that can happen when people die without any type of estate plan in place and no relatives to be found.
Just like parents who wouldn't want anyone taking care of their children after they're gone, you probably have some specific people in mind to take care of your pets in the event of your death. To make sure your animals end up in the right hands after you're gone, you can incorporate your dogs, cats and other animals into your will.
If you live in California and don't have an estate plan -- even a simple will -- in place when you die, the state will determine how your assets are distributed. This is done based on California's "intestate succession" laws.