California Senate Bill 1265 would seek to curb abuses of power by homeowner associations. The bill intends to further democratize the process of HOA elections but there are others who say that the bill is misdirected. The bill's detractors point out that the current system of elections in the state's 55,000 homeowners' associations is the strongest in the nation. They claim that the current system is fair.
A California law may figure prominently in one's estate plan, depending on the person's circumstances and needs. The statute, passed in 1986, allows children to inherit real estate from their parents without having to pay a tax based on the current market value. The effect is to protect the children from the impact of steep tax increases on inherited property. The tax-friendly law appears to be cutting down on the number of real estate transactions and on the number of marketable homes going on the market.
In California and throughout the country, opioid overdoses are the biggest cause of death for persons under 50. It is estimated that about 12 percent of American families have a relative who is addicted to opioid narcotics. In some families, new ways of providing financial assistance to afflicted persons are being formulated, with the emphasis on obtaining rehabilitation, educational programs and various health care programs through trust administration plans.
Probate in California involves the administration and settlement of a decedent's estate. Although traditionally probate is a means of proving that a will is valid, the process can also take place if the person died without a will. Assets owned at death are treated as estate assets, and it is far better to process those assets according to the owner's dictates in a will. Without prior estate planning, the court and the participants must turn to state intestate laws to see who inherits and in what percentages.
California and other states are seeing a reversal to some extent of the longtime trend of family members establishing independent and separate households. The Pew Research Center estimates that 20 percent of the population lived in multigenerational homes in 2016, which is the equivalent of 64 million people. Some of this trend includes working adult children who are making changes in their living space to accommodate their aging parents. Where applicable, the trend is a factor to be considered in estate planning.
Deciding who will inherit what assets is what most people think estate planning is all about. In a way, they are right, because that is the ultimate goal of an estate plan.