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.
We all want our divorced or widowed parents to find love again, particularly as they get into their later years. However, when they decide to remarry, as more and more seniors are, adult children often become concerned about what that will mean for their inheritance.
One advantage of having a carefully-considered, detailed estate plan is that you minimize the chance of fighting among heirs after you're gone. Even close family members can turn on each other if they believe that they were unfairly or mistakenly denied the inheritance they expected.
Increasingly, Californians doing their estate planning have to deal with the reality that they have a child with a substance abuse problem. Even when children are in recovery, parents may be understandably concerned about what could happen if they inherited a large sum of money or considerable assets. Even a few thousand dollars given in a lump sum to an addict could lead to tragic consequences.
The majority of Americans don't have a will. Even many of those who realize that they should put something in place to lay out how their assets will be distributed and, more importantly, who will take care of their kids, use do-it-yourself (DIY) methods.
The Swedes have a word --"dostadning" -- that literally means "death cleaning." This unpleasant term refers to something that many people do as they get older and downsize to a smaller home or assisted living facility. It's getting rid of things you don't use, need or have room for. There's even a book called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.