Probate is a process of distributing assets to beneficiaries upon the death a person. The process is started and organized by the executor named in the deceased person's will or possibly by another family member if there is no will. The probate court will work to resolve disputes between family members, and the final disbursement of assets must have court approval. The probate process in California comes with many statutory fees and can become very expensive if the decedent's estate is complex.
Married California residents who are looking for a way to preserve their estates after they pass away have sometimes turned to the bypass trust. However, with recent revisions to estate tax law and portability of exemption rules, a bypass trust may not necessarily be the most efficient method of estate protection.
Many California residents were shocked and saddened by the death of Robin Williams. While entertainers may be so involved with their career they fail to ignore estate planning, it appears Williams did not neglect taking steps to protect and direct his wealth after his death.
There are many potential estate planning mistakes that could make it harder for an estate to distribute assets to beneficiaries. One of the biggest errors occurs when an executor of an estate is not up to the challenge of following the terms of a will, or the trustee of a trust doesn't pay attention to detail. By not following the terms of a trust or will or by using poor judgement, legal challenges could be made.
Everyone should write a will. There is no doubt about that. A will can clarify your end-of-life wishes on a wide variety of matters, not the least of which is how you want your assets handled after you die. An attorney can help you prepare a will to make it most effective. However, depending on your particular situation, a will alone may not be the best way of ensuring that your assets are protected and ultimately distributed according to your wishes.
A probate judge will decide what's best for your estate assets and minor children should you die intestate. Dying without a will means you forfeit control over the distribution of possessions and child guardianship. California succession laws, Probate Code sections 6400-6414, define what happens when you ignore estate planning.
California community property laws influence how estate assets are divided. A Los Angeles spouse cannot be disinherited involuntarily, and children or other relatives are not automatic heirs. According to California Probate Code Section 6400-6414, a will cannot prevent a surviving spouse from claiming half an estate, but the protection does not cover an unmarried partner.
Trusts can have significant benefits for Los Angeles individuals with defined goals for estate assets. During estate planning, the creation of a trust must be balanced with the costs of establishing the document and maintaining the trust, in the present and the future.
The age of maturity isn't the same for all individuals and can differ by years from the age of majority or legal adulthood. Los Angeles parents who plan to leave their children a substantial inheritance often worry how assets will be handled once the children get them.
Many California legal documents, like some trusts, cover asset transfer wishes for individuals in robust health. Other estate planning documents, like wills, have no effect until a person dies. However, neither of these documents will do much good if you become incapacitated and unable to manage your finances and health care decisions.