Probate is a process by which a decedent’s assets can be transferred to his or her beneficiaries, and any debts of the estate can be paid. For many individuals, however, the goal of estate planning is to avoid probate.
Is estate planning affected by whether a jurisdiction is an equitable distribution or a community property state? The answer is yes, and since California is a community property estate, individuals should heed several considerations.
Children with special needs require additional planning and care. Special needs children often require expensive care for the rest of their lives. Many parents may think that it will be beneficial to simply leave inheritance in their will to their child. Unfortunately, this can create more problems for individuals with special needs.
Readers of this blog have been advised to keep their estate plans current. Life events may result in changed circumstances that make existing provisions in a will or trust obsolete.
Readers have likely heard about the spousal deduction, whereby a spouse can leave an unlimited amount of assets to a surviving spouse without triggering estate tax liabilities. However, does that mean that first spouse's federal estate tax exemption is gone?
For individuals who want to avoid the public disclosure, administrative hassle and cost of probate, it can be important to understand what types of property are considered non-probate assets.
Beneficiaries of a will or trust might be surprised by the bequests left to them. But what happens when that initial surprise wears off? A legal challenge to a will or trust might be one outcome.
Estate planning is important for everyone, but for families with a small business, there are extra considerations.
Although readers may understand that life insurance proceeds generally count toward an estate’s valuation, they may not realize the privacy implications. To protect an estate’s privacy, an attorney that focuses on estate planning might recommend naming a trust as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, instead of specific loved ones. Otherwise, if a life insurance claim dispute breaks out among potential beneficiaries, the context could become very public.