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.
Over the years, a person is likely to amass a pile of stuff, both physically and on paper. When the time comes for estate planning, many people will choose to streamline and organize their estate to make estate administration easier for the person in charge. By applying commonly used techniques, California residents can have an easier time organizing their estates.
As a society, individuals are creating and using digital data more than ever before. It has been said that between the years of 2012 and 2014, humans produce more data than human civilization has ever produced in the history of time before that. In California, after a person passes away, the executor may need to have access to a person's various digital accounts. Estate administration can possibly be eased if a person specifies instructions for handling these accounts in the will.
This time of year, many people resolve to get financial affairs in order so they are better prepared for the future. The reasons for a plan to protect the estate assets are many. Recently, a news article covered some of the most common reasons for estate planning, and also gave some insight into the types of estate planning tools, which may be of interest to California residents.
Starting planning early can ensure heirs have an easier time upon one's passing. Estate administration comes with work and responsibility, and the more time and planning that one invests in the process now, the less confusion and suffering will result for the ones left behind. In California, there are benefits to early estate planning.