Americans are living longer and healthier lives. As a result, some families in California neglect to review estate plans or to even establish one in the first place. When a parent becomes ill and death may appear imminent, children may find themselves confronted with questions and issues regarding the transfer of property and other estate administration concerns.
A recent case found a family concerned about the transfer of their father’s house. The brother and sister, whose mother predeceased their father, intended to split the estate. The daughter’s name was on bank accounts and the father did have a will. The children were concerned about the estate having to go into probate.
Regarding questions of probate, it’s important to understand the different estate planning documents and their primary function. A will typically indicates who receives what after a person passes away. An estate plan that is comprised of a will only may require probate. Trusts can allow for an estate to be settled without probate. In California there is also a document known as a “transfer on death deed” that can facilitate the transfer of property without having to go through probate.
Planning for a parent’s passing is a painful undertaking for anyone to contemplate. If a family can come together and have a compassionate conversation regarding end-of-life plans and other estate administration issues, the passing of a loved one — while still painful — may be less stressful. A conversation with a knowledgeable estate planning professional in California can help the parties involved come up with a comprehensive plan to ensure that a loved one’s final wishes are successfully carried out.