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Torrance California Estate Planning Law Blog

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Poorly written or out-of-date wills can present any number of issues during a probate process.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.

Know the differences between living trusts and wills

By now readers of this Torrance-based estate planning and probate legal blog know that it is a good idea to have some estate plan in place. This is because death will eventually happen to everyone, regardless of their age and health. When it does, those who have their estate plans in place will have a say in just how their wealth and assets are distributed among their loved ones.

Wills are a popular testamentary tool, but readers may also be familiar with living trusts. Both devices give guidance on what should happen to a decedent's estate when they pass, and this post will touch on some of the ways that they are different. Readers should get independent legal advice, however, when creating their own estate plans as this post should not be read as legal advice.

Parents of blended families may consider creating a QTIP trust

Many families today include children from more than one marriage. Unfortunately, very few parents of blended families anticipate the inheritance challenges that can arise after they pass away.

For example, if a father passes away and leaves all his assets to his second wife, he may intend for his estate to provide for her throughout her lifetime with the remaining money to be distributed among his and her children. However, when the second wife dies, all her assets, which include those she received from her husband, may end up with only her children, and the children from the man’s first marriage may end up with nothing.

What is the purpose of probate in California?

There are certain words in the English language that inspire confusion in those who hear them. One of those words is probate. Though not all California residents have had to deal with this legal process, most are probably wary of it even though they may not know what it is. This post will generally address the topic of probate, what it is, and why it may be relevant to one's estate planning goals.

Probate is simply the process of assigning one's property to others after the original owner's death. For example, if a Torrance resident has a will that states that they wish to give their brother their entire collection of baseball cards, the probate process would collect those cards and ensure that they were delivered to the intended recipient.

Giving to charities through estate planning

At the end of a calendar year, a Torrance resident may take stock in where they have spent their money and what they need to do to save for the future. This is often the result of looking at one's earnings and how they might be affected by federal and state taxes. For some, a surplus of income may mean looking into options that include giving to organizations and individuals that can benefit from financial support.

Charitable giving is a big part of many Californians financial planning. This is because many important social programs cannot run without patronage. As such, individuals may choose to give to charities when they are alive and through their estate plans.

How to select a durable financial power of attorney agent

Setting up a durable financial power of attorney is a good way to eliminate concerns about how your assets will be managed if your health takes a turn for the worse and you are unable to manage them yourself. A durable financial power of attorney is a document in which you appoint someone, called an agent, to manage your finances on your behalf.

This can be an important document even if you have a living trust because your successor trustee will only be able to manage the assets in the trust. Your agent designated by a financial power of attorney will be able to manage whatever assets are not in your trust.

What are the advantages of having a revocable living trust?

Most California residents believe that their estate planning is finished once they execute a will. While a will is an excellent tool to provide information and guidance on how a decedent wishes to pass on their wealth and assets to their beneficiaries, there are options for individuals who wish to take more control of their estates. One tool that is well-suited to individuals who want to avoid probate is the revocable living trust.

A revocable living trust is a trust that is created during a person's lifetime and that may be revoked or changed. A person may put their assets into a trust and effectively remove them from their ownership, for once a piece of property is moved into a trust, it is owned by the trust and not the original owner. Therefore, a person may create a revocable living trust while they are alive, place their property into it, and then manage it for their own benefit and the benefit of those they love.

How to plan your estate if you have a child with special needs

If the worst should happen to you, do you know that your child with special needs will be protected for years to come? It is likely that you are your child’s main support system. If you are unable to be there, they will need someone else’s assistance. Creating an estate plan can ensure that person is acting in your child’s best interest.

Your estate and your child

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