Planning for the future and preparing for long-term care is not always an easy process. This is a smart step for California readers of all ages and income levels, yet there are a few common estate planning mistakes that can derail a person's efforts and cause complications down the road. Of course, one of the most common mistakes that people make regarding their estate plans is to do nothing or assume they do not need one.
The will, sometimes called a last will and testament, remains the most common and recognizable tool that people in California and other states use to create their plan for asset distribution to their beneficiaries and for related purposes. However, living trusts have increasingly grown in popularity and are worth considering when one sits down with one's estate planning attorney to work out a plan. The revocable living trust is set up by the person called the grantor or settlor, and that person appoints a trustee to govern and administer the trust. In many instances, the settlor and the trustee are one in the same.
Divorce will bring many changes to a person's life, including finances, retirement and more. In a time of upheaval and transition, it can be easy to overlook some of the things a California resident may need to do after divorce in order to truly protect his or her interests. One of these things is to make estate planning adjustments.
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.
Estate planning in California is not a difficult process, but it should be done under the guidance of an experienced attorney and a qualified financial planner where appropriate. The risks of mistakes and the erroneous adoption of incorrect provisions taken from the internet are too great. This article shares some important points to keep in mind about the importance and structure of estate planning devices.
Many people in California are interested in leaving a legacy that will live on after death. This may mean incorporating some form or forms of charitable giving into one's estate plan both during life and afterwards. People often associate philanthropy with tax benefits but there are many aspects of personal satisfaction that motivate charitable giving. If one has an interest in establishing a legacy of giving the easy way to start the effort is to bring it up to the estate planning attorney during the discussion stages of the process.
In California and other jurisdictions, the way that real estate is titled will have an effect on how the property is passed on to others. Thus, when an individual or married couple purchase real estate, it is important how the property is titled because that designation has an estate planning effect. If the new deed lists the grantees as husband and wife, for example, this is interpreted as meaning that the parties are joint tenants with the right of survivorship.
It is problematic in California and elsewhere for a small business owner to die without an estate plan. Without estate planning, the business assets will be divided up by the intestate (without a will) laws of the state where the business is located. This lack of planning allows for outcomes that the business owner may not have wanted. It's true that many famous people have died without a will or an estate plan, but the cost to their estates -- along with the stress and trouble to their heirs -- was nearly always immense.
A last will and testament prepared and executed in California is a legal instrument that generally disposes of one's assets after death. The will is an instrument that does not become legally operative until the testator dies. While still alive, the testator can make changes or modifications, or he or she may invalidate an existing will and make up a new one. Estate planning is a process in which wills and other legal instruments are used to create an interrelated web of legal mandates to control one's assets while alive and after death.
Many people in California have more than one pet these days and they are usually an integral part of a family's identity and life. It is therefore entirely understandable for people to want to provide for their domestic pets in their wills or other estate planning methods. When the method used for this purpose is through one's will, certain state law limitations may interfere with one's ability to fully manage the pet's future.