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Camarillo Estate Law And Real Estate Law Blog

Estate planning may look at retirement housing choices

California residents who are beginning to consider retirement planning may want to consider the issue of renting vs. owning a house during the retirement years. Even though owning a home may be an affordable option, there are considerations that may militate in favor of renting a home in one's non-working years. When engaging in the estate planning and retirement planning process, looking at these issues could be a worthwhile undertaking.

When owning a home, owners are able to have the security of not having to deal with a landlord. They do not have to confront the prospects of a lease ending or being forced out of the property when it is inconvenient to move. In addition, various tax breaks make home ownership enticing. Property taxes, interest on mortgage payments and other benefits are available.

Estate planning is filled with strategies for asset managementEst

Estate planning in California involves organizing one's affairs in case of death or incapacity. That the process deals with one's own death may account for the fact that less than half of the country's population has a properly drawn-up will. However, many more people may have elements of estate planning in place by way of beneficiary designations in their insurance policies, retirement plans and the like.

The first formal step to get an estate plan established is to make up a list of all of one's assets and liabilities. The best place to start is at the beginning, and it is difficult to put together a plan without knowing all of one's financial details. A good bet as the second step will be to sit down and create a list of who will be the beneficiary of each of the assets.

Have you reviewed your estate planning documents lately?

You set up your estate plan years ago, filed it away in your safety deposit box and haven’t thought much about it since. Just knowing it’s there gives you and your family a sense of security in case anything was to happen. However, taking the time to review and update these documents is equally as critical as creating a plan in the first place.

There are several reasons your estate plans should be updated, one of the most crucial being that your estate plans stay valid and keep your family from being forced into probate. Most people who set up an estate plan do so to protect themselves, their family and the assets they’ve worked so hard for.

Should you avoid the probate process?

The word “probate” can have a negative stigma attached to it. Many people create estate plans that avoid the process altogether. The reality is that probate is not always bad. Your own situation and wishes should determine whether or not you avoid it. Here is what you should know when you are creating or reviewing your estate plan:

Asset protection estate planning requires professional guidance

California residents who save and invest to increase their retirement funding are also generally concerned about asset protection measures to keep their assets protected and preserved. This process is called asset protection estate planning. It involves the use of an estate planning attorney, along with one or more other professionals as necessary in the areas of tax and investment strategy.

Several different strategies and investment vehicles are available to choose from depending on the financial situation, needs and goals of the individual or married couple. One investment vehicle that offers tax savings is the municipal bond. These can be purchased individually or in a mutual fund or similar structures. One attraction of these bonds in addition to tax benefits is their ready liquidity.

HOA not involved in condo owners' complaints over ocean views

In some situations, condominium owners in California may find that the relief they seek with respect to their property must be processed through local governmental agencies.  In those cases, their own HOA is ineffective in regulating relief due to an outside third party's involvement. An interesting battle has gone on for more than 25 years regarding ocean views available to owners in the Del Mar Woods condominium complex.

An adjoining owner of large parcels that hug the beachfront, the Torrey Pacific Development Co., planted eucalyptus trees along its northern border in the 1970s when the condominiums were built. The problem is that those fast-growing trees get to a height of 40 feet, which obstructs the ocean views of the condominium owners. The owner of the beachfront properties stated that it has faced 37 lawsuits over the trees since 2003.

Homeowners face a tsunami of regulations in battle with HOA

Living in a well-appointed California real estate development that is governed by a Homeowners' Association may be seen by residents as a point of prestige and matter of convenience. Getting involved in a dispute with the HOA can be a living nightmare of red tape and questionable association policies. In one dispute in another state, a family wanted to construct a small four-foot wooden fence to keep out trespassers and daily interlopers such as workers, teens, bicyclists and the like.

The problem with such matters is that the first thing that must be studied is the rules and regulations of the HOA. These can be voluminous, ambiguous and even oppressive, depending on a resident's particular perspective. Those rules, however, are not the end of the bureaucratic clutter. California also has a body of laws and regulations that may be pertinent and must be followed in such matters. The fence described above is now held in abeyance because of several issues that arose.

Estate planning avoids government interference after death

California residents will benefit from participating in the process of creating an estate plan. The benefits of engaging in that process, with the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney, are many. Making a will allows for the orderly disposition of a decedent's assets to the beneficiaries who are specifically designated in the legal instrument.

Without a testamentary document, any assets in the decedent's name at death will be disposed of by state law. That may result in a distribution scheme that is the opposite of what the decedent would have wanted. That disconnect will also impact surviving loved ones, and may cause family conflict and unnecessary emotional trauma and financial sacrifices.

California estate planning mistakes can undo good intentions

Making plans for the ultimate future is not an easy step to take. It requires a certain emotional preparation to be clear and prudent about those critical decisions. Estate planning includes many factors beyond distributing one's assets, and those in California who are considering making these plans certainly wish to avoid mistakes that could hinder the accomplishment of their goals.

Some people may not even have a solid grasp on their assets and liabilities. When preparing an estate plan, it helps to know the value and scope of one's property as well as the size of debt. It may also prevent negative outcomes if those preparing their estates are honest about the abilities of their minor children to handle an inheritance. In many cases, a carefully planned trust will benefit one's children more completely than an outright inheritance.

Estate planning for retirement may avoid devastating problems

In California, one of the greatest fears that people have about retirement is that their money will run out far sooner than expected. That can cause a person to face unwanted poverty head-on and to struggle excessively instead of enjoying life in one's golden years. The remedy against such a fate is to retain an estate planning attorney and a financial adviser or CPA to put a strong plan into effect. These professionals will work in tandem to set up a solid plan that will accommodate various factual possibilities in one's later years.

At the outset, it may be necessary to do a lot of homework to learn one's finances and spending habits. All assets must be documented with details in a list that can be shared with advisers. With all the information, a determination can be made regarding how long the assets can sustain a certain level of proposed spending.