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.
For many of us, our companion animals are an integral part of the family. However, too many of them end up in animal shelters after their guardians become unable to care for them or pass away because those guardians didn't plan for their future.
When you and your attorney are crafting your estate plan, you're obviously focused on where you want your assets to go after you die -- to family members, non-profit organizations and other beneficiaries. You also need to make important decisions about how to help your heirs avoid probate and what executors to choose for various aspects of your estate.
When you begin considering making a will, you may consider a number of different ways to go about it. Some people choose to simply make wills on their own, many of which meet the requirements needed to hold up in court. However, involving an attorney has a number of benefits you may have yet to consider.
Recently, we discussed no contest clauses in wills. We noted that when people are found to have a legitimate reason to believe that all or part of a will should be contested, they can challenge it without fear of losing whatever inheritance they were given.
Do you wish you could exert more control over the choices your child made in their lives and as they progress through adulthood? If so, you may find that an incentive trust can help ensure that happens.
One of the more common estate planning questions that clients ask about trusts is whether their home can be placed into it. You can continue managing your assets if you place them into a family or living trust. However, there are certain conditions that must be met to do so.