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California Estate Planning Blog

Corporate trustees could manage trusts without bias

When considering the many tools available to create an estate plan, some California residents may wonder whether they need more than a will. While a will certainly is a useful and essential estate planning document, other tools can help make a plan more comprehensive. For example, trusts can have many uses and offer asset protection that wills cannot. Of course, some parties may worry about who to put in charge of a trust, but luckily, the answer could be easy.

Some individuals may worry about appointing a family member to such an important role because it may cause strife with other family members. Fortunately, individuals can appoint an outside party to manage and administer the trust. A corporate trustee can take on the necessary responsibilities and potentially prevent family squabbles over who is in charge.

Not updating wills after moving is a major estate planning error

Many people believe that their estate plans will help their loved ones understand their wishes. While a well-executed plan can certainly achieve that goal, some people may make mistakes when creating their wills and other documents that result in difficulties for family members. As a result, it is wise to go over plans to ensure that no errors exist.

One issue that some individuals in California may not consider is needing to update their plan if they moved to the state from somewhere else. Some parties may have created a plan before moving, and they may think that it will still be valid after the move. However, laws regarding estate planning differ from state to state, and a plan created in one state may not be valid under the laws of another, which means it is important to update a plan after moving.

Different types of wills suit different estates

Estate planning is something that many California residents and those elsewhere do not fully understand. They may think that they just need a will and then their affairs will be in order. However, there are different types of wills, and the one that best fits a situation can depend on the person.

For example, if a person is not married and has no children, it is likely that he or she will want to create a simple will. This type of will can include information about who gets what after the person's passing and designate who should act as the executor of the estate. This type of will may also be most fitting for individuals who do not have substantial assets to consider.

Using different types of wills in estate plans

The start of a new year is often a time that people start assessing certain aspects of their lives. Though some people may not have gotten a jump-start on this assessment on New Year's Day, there is still plenty of time to consider ways to plan for the future. In fact, some California residents may be considering their wills and estate plans at this time.

Creating a will is an important step for any adult. Even if parties choose to move the majority of their assets into trusts to avoid probate or simply for additional asset protection, having a will is still vital. This document is the only place that allows a parent to name a guardian for any minor children, and it also allows individuals to appoint an executor for their estate.

Most people have not done their estate planning

Do you feel concerned that your parents or perhaps even your grandparents have not done their estate planning? You don't know if you should bring it up; it's something of an awkward conversation since you don't want it to sound like you're just trying to find out "what you'll get" or that you think they could pass away soon. But you also do not think they have a plan in place, and that worries you.

Most people do not

Testamentary trusts can help account for specific issues

It is fortunate that there are so many options available when it comes to estate planning. In particular, the versatility of trusts can help California residents ensure that their exact wishes are followed after their passing. For some individuals, the use of a testamentary trust could allow them that sense of security.

A testamentary trust goes into effect after a person's passing. If individuals have minor loved ones or loved ones with special needs, implementing a testamentary trust may be wise because it can allow assets to be distributed over a period of time and in accordance with specific instructions. As a result, a special needs loved one would be less likely to lose government benefits after receiving an inheritance, and family members not yet adults would have someone in charge of their inheritances until they come of age.

Available documents can dictate asset transfer during probate

After a loved one's passing, many California residents may wonder how the remaining assets will be distributed. Hopefully, the decedent will have created an estate plan while he or she was still living, and the information in that plan can determine what process is needed for transferring assets. Commonly, probate proceedings handle these affairs.

If a person created a will, the document will be presented to the probate court for validation. After validation, the terms of the will dictate who gets what when it comes to distributing the remaining estate assets. Typically, property distribution is one of the last steps of probate as some estate assets may be needed to repay debts and handle other probate-related expenses. Of course, not everyone creates an estate plan.

Wills, other planning tools can help disinherit family

Not everyone gets along with their close family members. Some parents and children may become estranged, or siblings may have strained relationships that go beyond simple rivalry. As a result, when individuals create their wills and other estate planning documents, they may think about disinheriting those close family members.

Though California residents can decide what happens to their assets after their passing, it can be more difficult than some people think to disinherit family or to leave them less than the law affords. In many cases, if an heir believes that he or she should have received more, it is possible for that person to contest the will and fight for a greater inheritance. If individuals want to prevent that, they could include a "no contest" clause in the document, which would prevent a person from receiving any intended inheritance if he or she chooses to contest the will.

Banks can act as executors during probate

It can take a lot of work to close an estate. Some California residents may not want to place that responsibility on a loved one or may not feel that a loved one wants to take on the role of executor. Fortunately, individuals can appoint almost anyone to handle their probate proceedings, and in some cases, parties choose to utilize banks or other professionals.

Using a bank to handle probate proceedings is not unheard of. In fact, many people choose such institutions because banks have experience handling money and know how to administer estates. As a result, some people may feel more comfortable using someone outside the family because it would allow the process to move forward more quickly and does not place the responsibility on a family member.

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