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.
While many people throughout the country envy California for our beautiful landscapes and wonderful weather, others wonder how it is possible to live here under what may look like excessive taxation compared to other states. This is sometimes a misguided notion, as California does not use all the forms of taxation available.
Regardless of the nature of your estate and the duties that the executor of your estate must perform, it is important to review your estate plan every three to four years to refresh your memory of the details and to make sure your current choice of executor is correct. In many instances, you may find that your executor needs to be replaced.
As we progress through the stages of life, our estate planning needs may change significantly. Young people with no dependents and little property may not need much in the way of estate planning, but once families form, it is time to start considering these issues seriously. For young parents, establishing some estate planning is an absolutely essential part of protecting their children and each other.
Estate planning is a complicated business, but in community property states, it is even more so. Under community property laws, spouses both enjoy one-half ownership of all their marital property, which can greatly complicate matters when it comes time to create an estate plan. If you are married and are beginning to think about how you'd like to pass on your estate, it is very important to consider how this state-specific issue may affect your planning.
As you create your estate plan and prepare for the possibility that you could become incapacitated, you may choose to appoint a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. This is an important decision that may greatly impact not only your own health and well-being, but also your estate and potentially the relationships between your loved ones.