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.
Estate planning in California is not just for distribution of assets after death. It also has to do with managing money during life. One may have an overall financial plan but, without an estate plan incorporated into it, several unwanted outcomes may arise. An experienced estate planning attorney can explain what an estate plan is and why you will need one as part of your overall financial success and legacy planning.
Taking a form will off the internet and saying that there is now an estate plan in place would be an exercise in self-delusion. The truth is that there are many issues that must be evaluated, several more legal instruments prepared, and in the ideal situation, this should all be done under the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney and, where appropriate, a qualified financial adviser. For residents of California, choose an attorney who is proficient in the estate laws of this state.
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.