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Torrance California Estate Planning Law Blog

Choosing the right people to make your estate decisions

Your estate plan is the result of years of careful, thoughtful and strategic planning. Ultimately, it is meant to give you peace of mind in knowing that your family and future are protected against the unknown.

Your estate plan likely incorporates many different people, whether as your agent for your power of attorney or advance health care directive, as the executor of your estate or more. Choosing the right people to help carry out your wishes is critical in planning for a smooth transition when the time comes.

The role of an estate administrator

As readers of this California estate planning and administration blog may know, it is important that all adults have a basic estate plan in place so that their wealth and interests are protected in the event of their unexpected deaths. Preparing for one's demise is understandably unpleasant but leaving the distribution of one's wealth and assets up to the state may be more damaging to their interests.

One of the most important decisions that a person may make when preparing their estate planning documents is selecting their estate administrator. Estate administrators are identified in wills and can be adults who the person knows and trusts. It is important that people discuss their desire to name certain individuals as their estate administrators with them so that those individuals are prepared for the role they will be asked to assume.

What are the benefits of living trusts?

It is often the case that California residents put off making their estate plans because they think the process will be too difficult and they worry about making mistakes. However, it is more often the situation that a person's estate will suffer from delays, costly issues, and other detriments if they do not have an estate plan. One of the legal documents that some may choose to include in their estate plan is a living trust. These testamentary tools offer many benefits.

A living trust is a tool that allows a person to place their property into trust for a beneficiary. The trust will be under the management of a trustee. If the trust is revocable it can be changed, but if it is irrevocable it may not be modified. A living trust that survives until a person's death may not be probated, which can save beneficiaries time and money when it comes to receiving their bequests.

Is the reward worth the risk with a DIY estate plan?

Online do-it-yourself (DIY) estate planning forms are growing in popularity. Although these forms may work for some people, many who use them end up with a false sense of security. Sometimes, people have unique circumstances that are not appropriate for such simple estate plans. Other times, the completed forms end up being invalidated because the proper steps were not taken to make them legally binding.

If you are thinking about trying a DIY estate plan, you may save money, but you will not be around to make sure your estate plan holds up through probate. Unfortunately, it can be expensive and time consuming for surviving loved ones to deal with the mess DIY estate plans can cause.

Sudden death of actor shines light on need for estate planning

California residents who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s may be familiar with the original television series, "Beverly Hills, 90210." The show followed the lives of several privileged teenagers growing up in the wealthy Southern California community identified in its title. One of its breakout stars, Luke Perry, played a rebellious youth who was a fan favorite season after season.

Perry, however, took a step back from the spotlight of Hollywood and became a husband and father. Though his marriage ended he took an active role in raising his children while balancing a continuing career in the entertainment industry. At the age of 52 he was back on a popular television program and entertaining audiences as he had done in his youth.

Have you planned for possible incapacity?

Many people believe that estate planning involves planning for what will happen after death. This is not wrong. However, a complete estate plan should also plan for what you would like to happen if something renders you incapacitated. Consider using an advance health care directive to address possible medical needs and a durable financial power of attorney to address possible financial needs.

Advance health care directive

Estate administration and estate planning in California

An estate plan is more than the collection of documents that a person executes in order to provide guidance on what they want to happen with their possessions after they die. It is a set of procedural expectations that direct certain individuals to perform certain tasks so that the decedent's wealth and assets are effectively used according to their wishes. To this end, a Californian should put as much effort into deciding who will administer their estate as they do into who will get their property when they are gone.

Estate administration involves the identification and collection of a decedent's property. Once that collection is complete, it transitions into the process of accounting for it and managing it through different legal processes. Once a decedent's estate is in order it may be distributed to the decedent's beneficiaries and the administration of the estate may cease.

You can provide for a child with special needs once you are gone

As a parent, your concern for your children is probably on your mind all day, every day. And when you have a child who has special needs, you likely wonder about how he or she will be cared for once you have passed away. However, through establishing a Special Needs Trust (SNT) you can help positively influence your son or daughter’s life after you are gone.

Improve your child’s life through an SNT

What are intestacy laws in California?

An estate plan is a set of legal documents that explains how a California resident wants their assets and wealth distributed after they have passed away. Common estate planning tools may include but are not limited to wills, trusts and powers of attorney. While practically anyone can benefit from the execution of a personal estate plan, everyone should be aware of how their assets will be managed if they pass away without one.

The laws of intestacy are in place to address just such situations. They may differ from state to state, but generally these laws allow closely related family members to benefit from a decedent's estate before more distantly related heirs. This post will focus on how California's intestacy laws handle decedents who have no estate plans.

3 common mistakes that may delay the probate process

Creating a will is an important step in planning for the future of your estate and family after you're gone. A well-crafted, comprehensive estate plan can take time and expertise to complete, but it's worth the effort to mitigate the chances of a complicated, divisive probate process.

Poorly written or out-of-date wills can present any number of issues during a probate process. Beneficiaries are already struggling to grieve the loss of a loved one which means tensions are high and emotions are at the forefront for many involved in executing a will. To lessen the likelihood of a litigious probate process, keep in mind some common errors in estate planning and work to avoid these pitfalls.

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