California residents are likely familiar with several high profile legal battles in recent years involving the termination of life-sustaining treatment for terminally ill individuals. This kind of conflict can place families under a great deal of stress, and it may often be prevented if the individual concerned has drafted a living will. This document outlines what form of treatment an individual will receive if they become incapacitated, and it outlines the circumstances when treatment should be discontinued.
When a person dies in California, his or her estate may be subjected to administration by the probate court. Any assets that were given away prior to the decedent's passing will not be subjected to probate. Property and assets that were included in a living trust also are not administered by the courts.
In drafting a will, a California resident may wonder whether all assets and belongings are covered by the document. In some cases, an individual might choose to clarify designations already included in assets such as life insurance policies and retirement plans. In other cases, there might be a concern about whether articles held in joint tenancy should still be listed in a will. It is helpful to recognize that only assets titled in one's own name at the time of death are typically covered by the directions set forth in the will.
A California resident may wonder about the preparation of a living will, which is a written expression that indicates how someone wants to be treated in given medical situations. An individual may detail wishes for or against life-sustaining measures. Similarly, preferences for tube feeding and other means of providing hydration and nourishment may be expressed.
A trustee in the state of California has the responsibility of managing property in a trust that has been established for an individual's beneficiaries. The trustee is required to adhere to the requirements that the creator of the trust, also known as the settlor, mandated.
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.
Increasingly, throughout California and the rest of the country, people over the age of 65 are getting married. This can lead to complications in estate planning particularly for those who have been married before and have children from a previous relationship.
Many people may not understand the importance of a health care directive or a living will. More people may not understand the difference between the two. Essentially, a health care directive allows one make specific rules about his or her care in the event they become incapacitated, cannot speak or cannot make decisions on their own behalf. Similarly, a living will can present protocols for a person’s care in end-of-life situations.