The new year has begun and it is a time that people often take a measure of their lives and make goals for the coming year. Estate planning can figure into some of these goals. Life changes such as getting married, the birth of a child or starting a new job can inspire a person to write a will in California. But is having a will in place enough to protect one's estate assets?
Another year is coming ever closer to its end. As people review the past and anticipate the future, resolutions and plans for the New Year are made. Among those plans may be a plan to protect one's estate assets. A comprehensive estate plan can go a long way towards achieving that goal, but how does one begin in California?
As one year ends and another begins it is a time to review the past and look to and plan for the future in California. Future plans may include setting up an estate plan or revising an existing plan. If a trust is involved, an important decision must be made that will significantly impact estate administration. Who will be the trustee?
People in California are becoming aware of the importance of estate planning due in part to the number of prominent people who have recently passed away without having one. The lack of a plan can cause chaos and tie up an estate in probate for years. Simply having an estate plan may not resolve all of the possible issues that could arise, regarding distribution of estate assets.
Baby boomers are retiring at an astonishing rate in California. Now in their 50s and 60s, many baby boomers are stepping back from careers to enjoy grandchildren, golf and other retirement pursuits. One issue they may need to pay attention to is their estate plans. Many estate plans are created when families are young, and one of the chief concerns is care for children if parents die prematurely. Once the children are grown, wills and other estate plan documents may need to be revised to reflect changes in a family's financial situation and their desires for asset distribution.
Estate planning in California can seem like a large, complicated process that is filled with unfamiliar terms. Words like power of attorney, wills, executors, trusts and probate can sound intimidating if one doesn't understand what they mean. Perhaps one of the less understood terms is probate.
One does not need to be a celebrity in California to recognize that if a person has a sizable estate, that person should have an estate plan in place. The plan typically includes a will and appropriate trusts. If trusts are used in place of a will, this may allow the estate to be kept out of probate at the time of the author's passing and allow the details of the estate to remain private.
There are many pieces to an estate plan in California. Many of these involve assets to be distributed to beneficiaries following a person's death. Some of these assets are subject to probate and some are not. Typically, the assets that have a named beneficiary are not subject to probate.
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.
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.