Have you heard of the term "undue influence" in estate planning? It essentially means that a person who is crafting an estate plan does so in a way that benefits another person because of that person's influence on them.
As you do your estate planning, you draft a will that leaves your assets to your heirs. Most of the money gets split up evenly, but you do set aside specific sentimental assets for certain individuals. You know how important it is for them to know exactly what you wanted them to have.
It's understandable that you would want to prevent your heirs from needing to go through probate. Probate proceedings can be expensive and lengthy. They're also public, so anyone can find out information about you and your family.However, with the strategic use of a trust, you can avoid the need for costly and time-consuming probate proceedings. A trust -- for example, a living trust -- offers both confidentiality and the ability to give your assets directly to heirs. You can also structure and plan the way your assets are given -- either over time at specific intervals or immediately upon your death.
A revocable trust is an important estate planning tool. These trusts are set up while the trust maker, a.k.a., the grantor, is still alive. After formalizing the trust within a legal document, the grantor will transfer assets to the ownership of the trust and becomes the initial "trustee" who administers and manages the trust.
California pet lovers who want to create a responsible plan for their animals may want to consider the creation of a pet trust. This can be an excellent way to ensure that your animal is cared for long after you're gone, or in the event that you become medically incapacitated and are no longer able to tend to your pet's needs without assistance.
In today's social climate, it much more common for couples to live together for long stretches of time before deciding whether to marry. Some choose to remain together and unmarried indefinitely. While this may not cause too many complications while both parties are still living, if one party dies or becomes incapacitated, then the other party may not receive any of their possessions from their estate. Typically, when a legally single person dies, their property passes on to direct relatives, depending on the intestacy laws that their state of residence uses.
For many people, estate planning is a chore that they put off as long as possible. This may make sense in the moment, especially for those who find the idea of estate planning stressful. Often, creating an estate plan forces us to consider our own mortality and the legacy that we hope to leave behind us when we pass away. This is not always comfortable, but the potential harm caused by failing to create an estate plan before it is too late is much greater than the discomfort of considering death.
When it comes to handling significant resources in estate planning, it can certainly feel as though the popular saying "more money, more problems" is true. Because California has many more regulations than most other states, understanding how to navigate through the maze of laws and guidelines is a full time job. Many people find this so daunting that they simply put off dealing with it.
Estate planning is not one-size-fits all, especially for parents with dependent children. While it is good to have a plan for the long-term care of your loved ones, it is also important to consider the short-term needs of your children if and when the unthinkable happens and you don't make it home.
California is bright and beautiful, and it's no wonder why so many people choose to live her. However, for individuals with significant resources, or even just an owned home, the probate process can significantly drain the value of their estate if they do not or cannot build provisions to avoid it.