At this very moment, there are hundreds, even thousands, of individuals throughout California who have been handed the awesome responsibility of administering a substantial estate. For each, there are many ways that even the most well-intentioned executor or administrator can allow things to fall through the cracks.
Being named the executor of someone's estate is a bit of a mixed blessing. You may wonder if you should feel honored to be chosen, but there still may be some part of you that wonders why you were the one "lucky" enough to get the job.
It isn't uncommon for a parent to name one of their children or another responsible party as the executor of their estate. In cases such as these, this individual is the representative of their assets and heirs.
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.
When it comes to estate planning, some California parents ignore the benefits of the choices available to them. One example is using a trust to make sure that assets pass to intended parties. Using a trust can give parents more control over their estate versus leaving it up to a court or in the hands of an executor. Some parents might be concerned about privacy and do not want their will publicly available in probate court. A living trust could be the answer due to the fact that such a trust is not subject to probate.
Los Angeles residents with high-value estates may be interested in the latest court filing by the executors of the Lou Reed estate. This filing outlines the value of most of Reed's property, though some high-value assets have been left out.
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.
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.
Grief and duty mix following a family member's death. Relatives nearest to the deceased are often assigned the roles of executors and trustees with time-sensitive duties to perform. Fiduciary responsibility begins the moment someone dies and continues until estate assets are distributed, as directed by the decedent or a court.
California parents who keep contents of their estate plans confidential aren't doing heirs any favors. Children can be disappointed, and sometimes angered to the point of litigation, by making assumptions about inheritances or roles as fiduciaries.