Thinking about estate planning doesn't have to be a grim reminder of the inevitability of death. Reframe this idea, and it turns into a way to diminish the stress on family and loved ones at the time of one's passing -- a time likely to send those closest to you into a challenging time of grief. Individuals in California can look at estate planning in this light and possibly have some of their concerns alleviated. By learning more about wills, people may be more at ease when the time comes to plan their own will.
A recent court case shows that attitudes about technology and legal documents are shifting. Not every jurisdiction will share the same interpretation of the law, and in fact, this particular court case did not happen within the United States it serves as an important reminder of how technological updates can affect estate planning. Before individuals start text messaging their wills, though, they should consider the benefits of formal estate planning in California.
Pets are an important part of many families. Some individuals shudder to think that a pet would be abandoned or separated from everything it knows. That's why, in California, people may choose to include pets in their wills.
Many people tend to neglect the little details of life, until all of a sudden, life springs upon them and they are caught unaware. Updating wills, trusts and other estate planning documents can sometimes fall in the procrastination category. But there are reasons for California residents to pay attention to updates on their estate planning documents.
As people reach the end of their lives, they often start to think about how to pass along their legacies and how they want to leave their mark on the world. For hundreds of years, the last chance for a person to make their mark on humanity has been through their last will and testament. Traditionally, wills have been recorded in writing, but with new technology comes new options. Currently, one startup company is trying to bring wills into the electronic age. Will people in California soon be making e-wills?
In California as well as nationwide, it is not unusual for an heir to be the named beneficiary of a 401(k)-retirement plan. One positive factor of inheriting a retirement plan is that the beneficiary usually does not have to wait for the decedent's estate to be probated to receive the retirement funds. If one's inheritance includes a significant 401(k), complex rules and regulations may require a consultation with one's estate planning attorney and, in some cases, with a tax expert.
Many people residing in California will prepare for the possibility of future long-term care assistance by directing that the expenses of that assistance be paid by federal Medicaid. However, the desire for that method of asset protection is easier said than done. That is because Medicaid has a myriad of qualifying rules that must be met to be qualified for coverage.
There are several options that an individual or married couple residing in California may choose when deciding who to appoint in the will as a personal representative of the after-death estate. The first thing that people generally try to do is to appoint a trusted friend or family member to manage the estate and make the ultimate distributions to the heirs. In the case of a husband and wife with mutual wills, they will generally appoint each other as personal representatives, with an alternative who will act if both spouses die within a short time of each other.
In California and elsewhere, the process of estate planning serves several useful purposes. One of the most important is the protection of assets on behalf of one's selected heirs. Having everything in order at one's death will prevent unnecessary family squabbles and monetary expenses and will assure that the maximum value of assets will go to the family members and friends that the maker chooses.
For many people throughout the country, including here in California, there is nothing more important than the well-being of their beloved pets. The thought of one's pets being dropped off at a public shelter upon the owner's death is anathema to the great majority of pet owners. That is why providing for pets in wills and other estate planning documents can deliver precious peace of mind to the individuals and couples who own pets.