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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.

Sharing the details of one's estate plan can also prevent future conflicts. Advisers recommend parents have frank discussions with their children about their plans so that children can ask questions and understand the reasons for the decisions. One decision that may need explaining is the choice of estate executor. Choosing the oldest child may seem traditional, but it is not always wise, especially if that child is not capable of handing the serious responsibility.

Those who finally attend to writing a will or establishing a trust may be surprised to find that doing so does not mean the job is done. Estate planning is not something one can do once and leave alone. Like many important things, the documents in an estate plan may require maintenance and revision as lives change. For assistance in preparing and maintaining an estate plan, many in California find the advice of an attorney invaluable.

Source:, "Avoid these 7 estate planning mistakes", David Heilich, June 26, 2017

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