Life improvements are almost always the subject of New Year's resolutions. The declarations to get fit, change relationships and improve career or financial prospects that are sincere on Dec. 31 often become diluted or forgotten by spring.
Everyday people are not the only ones who fail to plan future strategies for their assets. Famous people with great wealth including musicians and reclusive billionaires have been guilty of inadequate estate planning.
California estate plans often include trusts that have dual roles. Assets in revocable living trusts benefit individuals during their lifetimes and reward beneficiaries when the trust creator, also known as a settlor, is no longer alive.
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.
Individual Retirement Accounts are investments designed to provide income during the later years of life. What happens to IRAs or the unused portions in them after death? Ideally, a Los Angeles estate planning expert will ensure that the IRA or remaining sum benefits heirs.
Not every person requires a trust to complete an estate plan. Sometimes a will and powers of attorney cover everything necessary for an estate. In other circumstances, trust instruments are needed to ensure assets and heirs are protected from probate and, sometimes, even from an inability to manage inheritances.
Events like Hurricane Sandy make pet owners think about what would happen to a loved animal when owners were unable to care for them. Natural disasters and an owner's incapacity or death can separate a pet from a human friend.
Many people believe that having a will is all that is needed for a proper estate plan. The reason for that belief may be a lack of knowledge about other estate planning tools like the revocable living trust.
Term and permanent life insurance policies are used to help the very wealthy and the not-so-rich cover estate taxes or balance financial relationships among heirs. Estate planning experts suggest a thorough review of the purpose of the insurance before choosing between term or permanent policies.
An article published in a California newspaper last summer led to a task force and a proposal that could change fees paid to conservators of the estates of dependent adults. Court officials in Santa Clara County are considering rules that would limit what court-appointed estate administration officials charge for services.