Many times planning an estate is not as straightforward as one might think. It is possible for different estate planning documents to seemingly contradict each other when it comes to directions on how to administer an estate's assets. In this case, applicable estate planning laws in California will decide which estate planning instrument holds more weight.
Many times, obtaining life insurance is an important part of a person's estate planning strategy. However, in some cases, just simply having life insurance is not enough for California residents. Those with large estates or who have beneficiaries who are not good at managing money may also want to consider creating trusts to go along with their life insurance policies. There are many ways in which a trust can help with administering and managing a life insurance policy and its benefits.
When a person dies in California, his or her estate may be subjected to administration by the probate court. Any assets that were given away prior to the decedent's passing will not be subjected to probate. Property and assets that were included in a living trust also are not administered by the courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in a bankruptcy case may have long-term implications on estate planning strategies. Essentially, the question before the court is whether a debtor who has sought bankruptcy protection and then inherits a loved one’s retirement account is compelled to turn over the proceeds from such an account to creditors.
Not long ago, a world record was broken in the state of California. No, it wasn't something as flashy as a land-speed record, but it is a smart one according to observers. By purchasing a life insurance policy worth $201 million, a California tech mogul smashed the previous record by $101 million.
California community property laws influence how estate assets are divided. A Los Angeles spouse cannot be disinherited involuntarily, and children or other relatives are not automatic heirs. According to California Probate Code Section 6400-6414, a will cannot prevent a surviving spouse from claiming half an estate, but the protection does not cover an unmarried partner.
The estates of wealthy California residents can be subject to high federal taxes unless provisions are made to preserve assets. One goal of estate planning is to minimize the tax burden so that beneficiaries are not deprived unnecessarily of full inheritances.
The loss of a loved one is a highly-stressful event. Someone, often a close family member, also may be responsible for the settlement of the decedent's estate. An attorney's input is useful, since some legal issues require attention even as survivors struggle to manage their grief.
Drafting an estate plan can be as much about what you do want as it is about what you don't want. Maybe it has taken you several years to get to the point of meeting with an estate administration and planning adviser. Many Los Angeles residents want the distribution of assets issues finalized so they can get back to living instead of talking about dying.
Dying debt free in Los Angeles may be a goal, but it's often not a reality. In many states, leftover debt following a person's death is an estate's problem, not a direct concern for heirs. In California, community property laws sometimes force surviving spouses to pay a deceased spouse's bills.