It is no secret that the probate of an estate can be a long and complicated process. There are several details families must be aware of and steps a personal representative must complete to bring the estate to a condition for it to be closed and distribute the assets left behind.
Taking on the role of a trustee is a great responsibility. In the past, we have discussed the particular legal duties that trustees have when administering a trust in California. However, another essential task all trustees should complete is keeping records throughout the entire process of the trust administration.
Most individuals chosen to serve as the trustee of a loved one's trust understand that they have a specific set of duties to fulfill.
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict when a medical emergency could happen. But Californians can take measures to plan for situations like these.
When you're creating your estate plan, you'll need to determine what details you want to share with family members and what to keep to yourself. Of course, there are some things you'll need to discuss with at least one or more family members. For example, you need to get someone's agreement before making them your executor or trustee or giving them power of attorney or other fiduciary responsibility.
Among the most important decisions you'll make as you create your estate plan is naming the trustees and successor trustees of your trusts. A dishonest trustee can take all of your hard-earned assets and keep them from the loved ones and beneficiaries you intended to leave them to.
A comprehensive estate plan is often comprised of a number of documents. It's crucial that they don't contradict one another. This can cause confusion, delays and expense when it comes time for your executor(s) to settle your estate. Therefore, if you make changes to one document, your estate planning attorney can advise you if similar changes need to be made to other documents to ensure continued consistency.
Your last living parent or perhaps another elderly relative whose estate you were chosen to administer has passed away. They never got around to downsizing and decluttering -- something we talked about recently. They've got a home filled with items that go back many decades. Some may have considerable monetary value, while others may only have sentimental value -- and maybe not even that.
Many Californians resist putting an estate plan in place. Even when people get older and their health starts to deteriorate, they may feel like planning for their death is tempting fate.
If you're planning to give marriage a second (or maybe third) try in the new year, you likely have more assets and people to protect that you did when you married the first time. A prenuptial agreement can help you and your partner protect the assets you bring into the marriage and ensure that the financial well-being of any children you have from previous relationships is protected.