There's more to developing an estate plan than preparing all of the necessary documents with your attorney. If you're leaving a considerable amount of money and/or other assets to your children, it's important to talk with them about handling the wealth that they will one day inherit.
When Californians begin the process of estate planning with their attorney, they're often dealing with documents and terms with which they are only vaguely, if at all, familiar. However, it's essential to understand what these various documents are and the distinct purposes that they serve. Two common ones are a will and a trust.
Most of our readers remember the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Even if you don't recognize his name, you likely saw him in one of the many movies he did, including "Hunger Games," "Doubt," "Charlie Wilson's War" and "Capote." Hoffman died in 2014 of a fatal mixture of drugs. The Oscar-winning actor was found with a syringe still in his arm.
Americans are staying single for longer -- often through their 20s and into their 30s. Often single people don't have any kind of estate plan in place, particularly if they have no children and don't yet own a home or have significant assets.
If you're remarrying and haven't yet created an estate plan, now is the time to do so. It can prevent issues among your children, new spouse and previous spouse if you pass away or become incapacitated to the point where you're no longer able to speak for yourself.
Many Californians don't consider developing an estate plan until they have a child. Then, the primary consideration is often who will be that child's guardian(s) should both parents pass away or be unable to care for their offspring.
Many people develop an estate plan when they first have children. They want to ensure that their kids are cared for by responsible adults and provided for financially if they pass away. However, too often, they then neglect to update those estate plans over the years.
Parents and grandparents generally feel fortunate when they have considerable assets to pass on to younger generations in their family. However, how can you assure that they'll handle their inheritances wisely?
If you're drafting your estate plan with the intention of leaving some or all of your assets to your adult children, it's essential to talk to them about their inheritances once you've determined what you are going to leave them. For many families, this may be the first time that parents and kids have discussed just how much there is in the estate. Many kids are surprised to find that their parents, whom they've always seen as tight with a buck while growing up, have actually amassed a good deal of money.
If you're a Californian doing your estate planning, it's essential to understand that it can, and maybe should, involve more than a will and other documents that detail how you want your assets disbursed after your death. For example, you can designate your wishes for your health care ahead of time in case you are unable to speak for yourself later.