As people age they may realize the need for estate planning and the creation of a will in California. Having a will helps one to transfer assets, establish guardianship for minor children and facilitate the passing of one’s belongings on to one’s heirs after death. While a will is a help, there are other factors that may need to be considered when establishing one’s estate plan.
How something is titled can have a significant impact on how it can be transferred. This is particularly true where real estate and financial accounts are concerned. A will does not change the beneficiary on a financial account or insurance policy, nor can it change a title on real estate.
When financial accounts or insurance policies are established, primary and secondary beneficiaries are designated for those accounts. If a person remarries and does not change the beneficiary on California accounts, the ex-spouse may receive the asset as the beneficiary designation is not changed by the content of a will. With real estate, how a property is titled often dictates the transfer. If a property is jointly owned as tenants by the entirety or as joint tenants with right of survivorship, the property is automatically transferred to the survivor upon the death of the other party.
Estate plans are necessary for ensuring one’s ability to transfer assets according to one’s final wishes. But an estate plan alone won’t necessarily accomplish this. Consulting with an attorney experienced in estate planning in California can help the client to establish a successful plan. A knowledgeable attorney can review a person’s family and financial situation and help to ensure that important issues are not overlooked.