If you prefer to avoid conversations regarding your own mortality, you may relate to many California residents who say they don't even like to think about the topic, much less talk about it. On the other hand, you might be among those who understand that, even though such discussions may be somewhat uncomfortable, it is important to at least speak to loved ones about your wishes. It is also helpful to connect with an experienced legal advocate to place your wishes in writing and use the estate planning process to your benefit.
Most people are familiar with the musical genius of Nat King Cole, who was a California resident at the time of his death in 1965 at the young age of 45. He was the father of singer Natalie Cole and the creator of universal favorites such as "Mona Lisa" and "Unforgettable." In the late 1940s and thereafter, the entertainer had to contend with the evils of racial discrimination in housing that was engineered against him and his family by a homeowners' association created just to keep him out of a stately Los Angeles neighborhood.
Nothing sparks the holiday spirit like a glowing tree covered in colorful lights or a lawn display of the nativity scene. However, for those who live in California communities managed by homeowners associations, such displays may violate the Covenant, Conditions & Restrictions they agree to when they purchase homes in that community. At this time of year, it is not unusual for homeowners to lock horns with an HOA regarding their holiday decorations. However, one family recently prevailed when their HOA stepped over the line.
California and other states are attempting to find a middle ground where private homeowners can rent their properties out on a short-term basis but where such rentals will be limited in time and scope. In some communities, the homeowners' association has come forward to put restrictions on short-term rentals. Homeowners complain that short-term rentals deflate the value of the homes by bringing transient residents with detrimental practices into the neighborhood.
If you are eco-conscious or want to avoid wasting resources in your estate planning, it is important to communicate your wishes with family and estate planners alike. With careful attention to detail, you can leave a legacy of stewardship of the earth and one another.