The method of titling the ownership of property in California and elsewhere is generally an integral aspect of proper estate planning. By configuring the title to assets in designated ways during the life of the owner(s), estate planning can assure certain outcomes automatically on the death of an owner. The simplest form of ownership is where one individual owns the property in his/her name alone. If the asset is real estate, the single ownership model is called "fee simple" ownership, which represents the highest degree of unfettered ownership in real property.
Hugh Hefner generally fits the profile of many celebrities who have lived and retired in California. He was a widely-known personality and was admired by many people. Conversely, many Americans likely viewed him as too liberated and excessively public with his private life. Nonetheless, it appears that he handled his estate planning wisely and effectively.
When engaging in estate planning for a California resident, it is important to consider how real estate is currently titled and to change the ownership form if necessary to meet the planning goals of the owner(s). When title is owned by two or more owners designated as having the right of survivorship, this is jointly-owned property that passes automatically by operation of law to the other owner(s) at death. Real property that is titled in the names of husband and wife is endowed with the right of survivorship, and title passes automatically to the survivor upon the other's death. Estate planning is easy when the property passes by operation of law.
Many California residents become too preoccupied with their daily activities and struggles to slow down and think about planning for the future and into old age. Of course, they can't be blamed for avoiding estate planning, which does, after all, deal with death and a host of associated issues. There is something to be said, however, for preparing for the needs of retirement and beyond now, while one is healthy and capable of pre-arranging his/her wishes for the future. That would be a far better approach than finding oneself in the last stages of life with only hardship and adversity at hand.
Most residents of California, like people anywhere else, are reluctant to talk about their personal affairs and statuses. It may be surprising to know that the hesitancy applies also to members of their own family. That becomes problematic at times because it can be an important aspect of one's estate planning goals to assure the knowledge and understanding of one's beneficiaries.
As married individuals, many California residents know that there is often a need for discussion and compromise when it comes to making important decisions. When it comes to estate planning, spouses may want to talk about their wishes regarding how they would like their estates to be divided. Individuals who have children may simply want their assets to pass on to those children, but extenuating circumstances could come into play.
In California, estate planning is sufficiently complex to make it wise for adult children to discuss the status of such matters with their parents. The children can add to their peace of mind and to that of their parents by discussing estate planning preferences and goals with them. In some families, this may be difficult to do because the children and their parents are not accustomed to talking about financial matters together.
A power of attorney is an integral part of an estate plan in California and elsewhere. It appoints someone who is a trusted friend or family member to act as one's agent, if the maker of the document ever becomes incompetent to handle his/her own affairs. This may seem like a depressing thing to worry about, but such things do happen. If a power of attorney is not prepared in advance through estate planning, the family may incur extraordinary expenses in court fees to have a guardian or conservator appointed.
California residents who are beginning to consider retirement planning may want to consider the issue of renting vs. owning a house during the retirement years. Even though owning a home may be an affordable option, there are considerations that may militate in favor of renting a home in one's non-working years. When engaging in the estate planning and retirement planning process, looking at these issues could be a worthwhile undertaking.
Estate planning in California involves organizing one's affairs in case of death or incapacity. That the process deals with one's own death may account for the fact that less than half of the country's population has a properly drawn-up will. However, many more people may have elements of estate planning in place by way of beneficiary designations in their insurance policies, retirement plans and the like.