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.
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 totality of what you own is your estate. Sometimes, Los Angeles residents feel assets don't need estate planning attention until later in life. After all, when you're a young California adult, a lot of what you earn is burned up in expenses like college tuition, buying a vehicle or getting married.
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.
A Los Angeles forensic accountant can be hired to place a fair market price on the estate assets you have, but only you and your loved ones know the worth of sentimental objects. Some of the worst squabbles in probate occur over property that has little or no value outside of a family.
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.
The holiday season is one of the few times each year that entire families make a concerted effort to be in the same place at the same time. Even members of small families have incompatible schedules that make scheduling otherwise difficult. A California parent who wants to convey their estate wishes may have no better opportunity to talk face-to-face with heirs than the holidays.
The holiday season gives Los Angeles families the opportunity to get together. That can be something that can be hard to coordinate any other time of the year. There are only a few occasions outside of holidays that draw families to one place. Among the most common are births, marriages and deaths.
An adult lifetime is spent carefully gathering, managing and protecting assets. If you're like many Los Angeles residents with considerable wealth, some or a great deal of those assets will outlive you to benefit the ones you love. Many affluent Californians supplement estate planning documents with trusts, to ensure that heirs and beneficiaries preserve assets wisely and receive the maximum benefits.