Proper estate planning can be a gift to one's loved ones. By outlining a plan for the distribution of assets, an individual may reduce the amount of time and money spent to settle one's estate after a death. Wills are an important tool for individuals in the estate planning process. Individuals in California may wish to know more about the function of a will and how it is implemented.
Many people wish to make the distribution of their estate assets as easy as possible for their family and friends. There are options to ensure that loved ones receive their fair share after one passes away. To transfer assets quickly, privately and to avoid probate, many individuals in California select a revocable living trust.
Some individuals have questions about what assets should be included in their trusts. Certain financial accounts such as CDs and money market accounts can be placed into the trust or left separate. While, sometimes, there may be a good reason for leaving certain accounts out of the trust, it is usually good practice to fund the trust with all of one's financial accounts. In California, doing so can be a part of trust preparation.
Most people think of estate planning and wills, but there are other elements that can assist the individual during times of need while still living. A medical power of attorney is one such element of a complete estate plan that an individual in California can utilize to assist him or her while alive and in need of extra support. The medical POA enables the individual to assign a person to make medical decisions on his or her behalf if he or she is incapacitated.
After a death in the family, someone will likely be chosen to handle the bulk of the person's estate. When the individual has a comprehensive estate plan with an allocated executor, estate administration can be less stressful for the person doing the work, especially in the area of resolving finances. Some experts have gathered other information that can be helpful to California residents during the estate administration process.
Changes in the estate and gift tax have made transferring wealth easier than before. New but temporary higher exemptions allow individuals and couples to gift, bequeath or give to the next generation greater sums of money than ever before. In California, there is less worry about estate taxes, but the concern still exists for some, and certain strategies can help those who worry about protecting assets.
Hopefully, when a person dies he or she has left behind a set of instructions for the survivors to disburse and distribute the assets. Unfortunately, some individuals die intestate, or without a will, and those assets are distributed according to California state law and not according to the individual's wishes. The estates of those who take the step to create a last will and testament will go into probate, a process designed to establish that the will is true and accurate. Others use methods to try to avoid probate. By keeping in mind the fact that wills can enter into a lengthy and challenging court process, individuals planning their estates can take steps to make the process easier.