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March 2018 Archives

Who can legally serve as witness to a will?

When a testator, or will creator, chooses to make a will, he or she must generally sign and date a physical copy of the will in the presence of not one but two adult witnesses. However, even if the individuals who serve as witnesses are legally adults, they must meet some other requirements. If the individuals who serve as witnesses to a will fail to meet the requirements to do so, this may call the validity of the will into question and complicate the execution of the will when the time comes.

Many wills are potentially invalidated during their creation

It is always good to have some form of will over no will at all, but a will that is not properly created may be just about as much trouble to resolve as having no will. At the very least, an improperly created will may leave itself necessarily vulnerable to legal challenges, which may result in a protracted legal battle that only serves to drain the resources of an estate and potentially ruin the interpersonal relationships of the family or community members involved in the conflict.

Cryptocurrency and shifting taxable income

Estate planning is rarely a field that is on the front lines of financial trends, owing in part to the long-term nature of the practice. While some industries often strike while the iron is hot in a particular financial area, estate planning may take a few years to begin addressing these issues properly. Such is the case with cryptocurrencies and their applications in estate planning, which are only now gaining widespread usage in mainstream markets.

When should I fund my living trust?

In very broad strokes, it is generally best to fund your trust sooner than later, depending on your reasons for creating the trust and balance between financial protection and freedoms of property that you hope to enjoy. However and whenever you choose to fund your trust, it is crucial that you understand the benefits and drawbacks of waiting or moving forward with funding.

Changing a will involves other estate documents, too

At many points in your life, you may need to review and amend your will to reflect significant life events, changes in relevant laws or changes in your wishes for your estate. It is usually wise to review your will every three to five years to ensure that your will remains valid and up-to-date, especially considering how often shifting legislation may affect the terms of the document.

Including a deed in a trust to avoid California probate

Here in California, residents must contend with a relatively low probate threshold. This can make it particularly difficult to circumvent the process and avoid hefty taxation of estates. This threshold is so low, in fact, that most individuals who own homes in the state automatically exceed it, by virtue of the state's high property values.

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