Even if a loved one passes away without making a will, the surviving family members usually still have to handle the probate process. This can leave families with a lot of questions.
Not many people can imagine that someone would manipulate their elderly loved ones. However, it is a sad reality that some people will use others for their personal gain, including with respect to the creation of various estate planning documents including deeds, powers of attorney or a will.
People often think that California's community property laws are only relevant when couples divorce. However, they also apply to how property is disbursed and how debts are handled after someone's death.
Even though he lived to the ripe old age of 95, fans around the world were still devastated by the death of Stan Lee in Los Angeles earlier this month. As one of the creators of X-Men, Spider-Man, Black Panther, The Incredible Hulk and the Marvel Universe, Lee's fortune at the time of his death was estimated to be anywhere from $50 million to $80 million. His surviving family members are his daughter and a brother.
Many people who are seeking ways to simplify things for their loved ones after they're gone consider adding one or more of their children or other family members to the deed to their home. If you add an adult child, for example, to your deed, they become a co-owner of the property while you're alive. They can then inherit it when you die, and it doesn't need to go through probate.
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.
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.
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).
Most California wills go through probate without any challenges. However, there are some grounds on which family members, heirs or others who believe they should have been included in the will can challenge them.
Recently, we discussed the battle over music legend James Brown's estate among those involved in his complicated personal life. Now the estate of another wealthy and colorful man, billionaire mogul Kirk Kerkorian, is the source of a legal battle here in California nearly three years after his death at 98 years old in June 2015. The state's attorney general is even involved.