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.
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.
As we discussed in a recent post, Aretha Franklin, despite her considerable wealth, age and poor health, died without an estate plan in place. It might be surprising, then, to learn that when 26-year-old rapper Mac Miller died earlier this month, he had an estate plan. In fact, it was reportedly similar to the one Michael Jackson had when he died in 2009.
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.
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.
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.