Legal documents used in estate planning have unique purposes. California advisers usually recommend that everyone creates a will. The same advice may not apply to revocable trusts, depending on individual estate plan desires.
Many wage earners spend decades building carefully-monitored retirement incomes while giving remarkably little consideration to beneficiary details. California estate planning attorneys see frustration and anger among heirs when proceeds from a decedent's beneficiary-related fund end up in the wrong hands.
Many probate laws ensure that surviving spouses and minor children receive an appropriate inheritance from a decedent spouse or parent's estate, sometimes against the wishes of the deceased. Disinheriting a spouse or child may not be possible when a will is contested because state law protects these rightful heirs.
The advice of a friend or family member can be valuable, but there are times when what's right for someone else doesn't work for you. It's common practice in southern California to ask someone you trust for advice or a referral.
The Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was the subject of a recent meeting of estate planners from Los Angeles and across the country. Estate planning specialists spent much of last year bolstering trusts for clients in anticipation of less-generous gift and estate tax changes in 2013. The changes were not as dramatic as expected.
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.