California family members come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of closeness. Step relatives, half-siblings and unmarried partnerships are as common today as they were once scarce. Attorneys caution individuals who are building estate plans to be extremely careful when naming heirs.
A California attorney who specializes in helping clients formulate effective estate plans understands the usefulness of wills and trusts, but the average individual may be less familiar. Conversely, an estate planning attorney cannot decide an individual's desires concerning end-of-life medical care, beneficiaries' worthiness or assets to pass on after death.
You may think you're too poor or too young to consider having an estate plan, but you're not. These are a few of the assumptions many people in Los Angeles make when they think about wills and trusts, health directives and estate planning strategies.
Legal experts say some people are so paralyzed by unknown changes in gift and estate tax laws that they are placing estate planning on hold. Many California experts believe not drafting estate planning documents, because estate tax exemptions and rates are uncertain, is a mistake.
Economic times have been hard in California. So, it would stand to reason, if there is a way to save a buck (or two) by doing something yourself, it would be a good idea. Right?
If you don't have an estate plan, you aren't alone. Many Californians die before drafting wills, creating confusion among heirs and leaving asset distribution to probate judges. Even individuals who have estate plans can wreak havoc among beneficiaries, if the plans are not updated regularly.