Newman Law Group

Tustin Estate Planning Law Blog

Appointing separate power of attorney agents to multiple accounts

Deciding to appoint someone to handle important personal matters is a step in the right direction. Of course, even if California residents want to appoint power of attorney agents, they may feel uncertain about the best way to go about doing so. Additionally, they may wonder whether they can put more than one person in charge of different accounts.

Fortunately, if individuals do want to put separate people in charge of separate accounts, they can certainly do so. Many individuals choose to appoint someone to the role of the financial power of attorney agent and a different person as the health care power of attorney agent, but those are not the only two categories that can be separated. Interested parties could also appoint one person to handle certain financial accounts and another person to handle different financial accounts.

An IDGT could help with reducing estate taxes

Individuals who have accrued a considerable amount of wealth throughout their lives may have reason to be concerned about their taxable estate. Some California residents may exceed the exemption limit and their estate could face taxation after their passing. As a result, reducing estate taxes may be something that interests them, and trusts could help.

One trust to consider is an intentionally defective grantor trust. A grantor trust is commonly a revocable living trust that allows the grantor to act as the trustee. The grantor also handles the tax obligations resulting from the trust, including income and estate taxes. However, an IDGT is an irrevocable trust that allows the grantor to remain the owner of the assets as long as he or she meets certain requirements under the Internal Revenue Code.

Trust preparation may be worth considering for any estate planner

The idea of creating an estate plan is sometimes offputting to certain individuals. They may not like the idea of having to think about what should happen to their belongings after their passing or what decisions should be made if they become seriously ill. As a result, when they do decide to start planning, they may want to go with a bare-bones approach that could help them complete the process quickly. However, it may be wise to go beyond a will and consider trust preparation as well.

Some California residents may automatically think that trusts are only for extremely wealthy people. Fortunately, that is not the case, and almost anyone could benefit from using this planning tool. It can allow interested individuals to better control what happens with their assets by leaving specific instructions as to how and when they should be distributed, which differs from the automatic distribution of assets at the end of probate.

New or young heirs need special estate planning consideration

Having children is a joyous experience for many California residents. Of course, the birth or adoption of a child is a major change to a person's life, which means that it may be necessary to accommodate that change in other ways. For example, individuals who have already created an estate plan may need to make adjustments for their new heirs.

Estate planning with children in mind is about more than just considering what assets they will receive. It is an unfortunate reality that an unexpected illness or accident could take parents from their children much too soon. As a result, it is important that parents consider who they would like to care for their children in the event that they are no longer able to do so. A will can provide information on who the parents would like to act as the guardian of any minor children they have.

Trust administration involves working with multiple people

A person's estate plan often relies on other people to ensure that the correct steps are taken to administer the remaining assets. Many California residents choose to use trusts as part of their plans, and they need to appoint trustees to handle the trust administration process. Choosing the right person can be difficult as trustees have a lot of responsibilities to handle.

One important aspect to consider is that the trustee will have to work with various people during the administration process. He or she will need to have contact with current beneficiaries and may need to work with remainder beneficiaries as well. Additionally, the trustee will have to make regular reports to the court and the beneficiaries to show how the trust is doing.

Executors will need to marshal estate assets

The death of a loved one is a life-changing event for surviving family members. It can be a challenging experience for a number of reasons, and the executor of the estate will likely have many challenges to face in addition to handling his or her personal feelings. Settling a California estate takes a lot of work, and the executor will need to pay close attention to estate assets in particular.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to protect the assets of an estate. Some family members may think they can simply take what they want without waiting for formal probate proceedings to end, and if items go missing, serious issues could arise. As a result, the executor needs to ensure that the assets are protected, which could include changing the locks on a home or other storage area and inventorying the assets to make sure everything is accounted for.

Wills, other planning documents can provide useful instructions

Many events in life are better navigated when instructions are available. For particularly difficult times in life, those instructions can seem like a gift to lessen stress and help individuals through a trying period. Wills and other estate planning documents can provide useful instructions to California families who need that information and help after the passing of a loved one.

An estate plan can help surviving loved ones find a sense of purpose by giving them specific duties and jobs. Not every job is active, such as being a beneficiary who receives assets from the estate, but some jobs have important tasks to accomplish. For instance, the executor of the estate will need to tackle a number of responsibilities, and putting someone in charge who can handle those responsibilities and providing that person with instruction could bring at least a bit of relief.

Estate planning tips to avoid probate

Estate planning is often thought of as something only wealthy families need. However, every family should have a strategy in place to make the transition of assets smoother and less stressful for loved ones. One big reason to have an estate plan is to minimize the risk of assets winding up in probate court. Probate is an expensive process that can take many months to complete. Here's how families in California can avoid having assets locked up in the probate process.

Basically, probate is the process of settling an estate. The probate process usually takes anywhere from six to nine months, but may take longer in some cases as the probate process varies from state to state. However, there are ways that this process can be avoided altogether. The best ways to avoid probate are through an initial form of ownership or with a living trust.

Make a list of assets to include when estate planning

Making the decision to create an estate plan is one that most people will not regret. In fact, estate planning can better ensure that California residents are able to express their end-of-life and wishes to their family members in a legally-binding way. One of the easier places to start with this process is to consider the assets to include.

Valuable assets often come to mind when individuals begin thinking about how they want to distribute their property. Certainly, assets like real estate and vehicles are important to consider, but it is important not to overlook other smaller, sentimental items. Personal property like books, furniture and jewelry are all important assets to keep in mind when estate planning. Remembering to include them could prevent family members from potentially fighting over them later.

Wills are important to consider for anyone with an estate

If California residents own any assets, they have an estate. As a result, they can benefit from creating an estate plan that would allow them to express their wishes for various estate-related matters. Wills and other documents can work together to create a unique and tailored plan for anyone.

Though estate plans are beneficial, one recent survey showed that 25% fewer adults had a will in 2020 than in 2017. Unfortunately, this means that more adults may be leaving their estates up to chance in terms of how their assets will be distributed and who will be in charge of important matters. In fact, without estate planning documents, state laws will dictate how an estate is settled, which may not be in line with someone's personal wishes.