The Dayton Law Firm, P.C.

California Estate Planning Blog

Applicable parties receive copies of the will as probate begins

For California residents who have never had a close loved one pass, they may think that surviving family members still gather in a room and hear someone reading the deceased's dying wishes. While the reading of the will sometimes still takes place in fictional settings, it is not an action that happens in reality anymore. Instead, copies of the will are typically provided to applicable parties in association with the probate process.

If there is an attorney associated with the estate, that legal professional may provide the copies of the will. Because the executor named in the document will handle the upcoming probate proceedings, he or she typically receives a copy of the document. It is also common for beneficiaries named in the will and any guardians for minor children to obtain a copy as well.

Beneficiaries must be informed about probate proceedings

Many California residents expect some type of inheritance after a close loved one passes away. If these individuals are not acting as the executors of those estates, they may not fully understand when asset distribution will take place. Distributing assets is part of the probate process, but it typically comes as one of the last steps. However, beneficiaries must still be notified of the proceedings.

It is common for remaining estates to go through probate proceedings in order for the final affairs to be settled. In order for probate to begin, the executor of a particular estate needs to file the will with the probate court, and the court must validate the document. After this step, the executor has three months to notify the applicable beneficiaries that the legal process has begun. In many instances, though, it does not take three months for notifications to be made.

Adhering to state laws important when creating wills

Though most people understand that estate planning is important, they may not get started on their plans as early as they should. Many people begin working on their wills when they are nearing retirement, but really, any adult, young or old, could benefit from creating this document. Without one, surviving loved ones could be left at a loss as to how to handle certain affairs.

When creating a will, California residents may first want to give consideration to the person they want to act as executor of the estate. Married individuals may automatically think that their spouses would best suit the role, but that may not necessarily be the case. In fact, acting as executor takes a lot of time and effort, and some people may simply not have the ability to handle all the necessary tasks for closing an estate. Though a spouse may make it to the list of candidates for executor, it is important to review all options before making a final choice.

Tips for talking to your parents about estate planning

You worry that your parents have not made an estate plan. You saw a report saying that a vast number of Americans have not even written a will. It dawned on you that you have never heard your parents mention writing a will, creating a trust, setting up a medical power of attorney or doing anything else to plan for the end of their lives.

It did not take you long to realize that they probably fell into the category of aging Americans without an estate plan. You know what a risk that is and you know they need to get started. But how do you talk to them about it?

Estate administration: Are Franklin's discovered wills valid?

When a person dies without a will or any other estate planning documents, surviving loved ones can have a difficult time handling the remaining affairs. In some cases, documents may later be discovered that could shed light on estate administration issues, but those documents may not always be the answer surviving loved ones were looking for. In fact, more strife could arise.

California readers may be interested in recent reports indicating that three handwritten wills have been discovered in Aretha Franklin's home. Though it was unclear who found them, two of the documents were found in a locked cabinet, and the third was discovered under the cushions of a couch. The legendary singer died in 2018 seemingly without any type of estate plan. Her niece was named as the personal representative for her estate, and once these wills were discovered, she showed them to attorneys for the estate's heirs.

Family relationships can make probate more difficult

The death of a loved one can make emotions run high. If a family already has a tendency toward conflict, it may be even more likely that disputes will occur because they are in such an emotional state. In some cases, probate proceedings can become tense due to difficult family relationships.

Some California families may find themselves at odds over the remaining assets of estates due to sibling rivalry. Unfortunately, some siblings never get along and squabble at every turn. If they feel that a parent's estate plan favors one sibling over another, it is possible for serious conflicts to result. If one of the children has been named as the executor of the estate, he or she may have a difficult time completing the legal proceedings if challenged by other siblings at every turn.

Funding trusts is a crucial step in the estate-planning process

After San Jose residents spend a substantial amount of time thinking about, creating and executing an estate plan, they often hope that is the end of the process so they can stop thinking about it. For many of the documents included in an estate plan, that could be the case. However, when it comes to trusts, the work is not done after one is created.

Trusts need to be "funded" in order for their users to receive the benefits they offer. Otherwise, it is just a document. Therefore, a San Jose resident is not finished with this estate-planning process until this step is completed. What does it mean to fund a trust? It means changing the ownership of an individual's assets into the trust.

Wills can help express important end-of-life wishes

Finding the right way to express certain wishes in any situation can be difficult. However, depending on the circumstances, ensuring that others know those wishes may be vital. For instance, California residents can greatly benefit from making their wishes known regarding serious issues with their health and end-of-life wishes. Wills, along with other planning tools, can help them express those desires.

Creating a will often springs first to mind for many people who are considering their estate plans. This document can certainly have a number of benefits, including designating who should receive property after a person's death and appointing guardians for minor children. While it may be tempting to use online sites to create this document on one's own, it is not always the best option because such sites often do not provide detail on other planning options.

Loved ones' remaining debts are handled through probate

After a close loved one's death, especially a parent, surviving family may be uncertain about how to handle certain tasks. Certainly, handling the funeral and related duties take top priority, but afterward, many aspects of closing a California estate need to be addressed. Typically, this happens through probate, but adult children may not know when or how to take action regarding their parents' finances.

When it comes to a parent's remaining debts, children may benefit from understanding that they do not have an obligation to pay those debts. During probate proceedings, the executor of the estate will address the remaining debts and use estate funds to cover applicable balances. The exception to this situation is that an adult child may be responsible for certain debt if he or she co-signed a loan with the parent who later died.

Creating a master information document for your survivors

Setting up wills, trusts and powers of attorney are very important aspects of an estate plan. At the same time, it is important to make sure that your loved ones and administrators have the information they need at the end of your life so that things can go smoothly.

Having a master information document is particularly important at a time when much of our financial and social assets are secured behind passwords online. Without sharing these in a secured document, it will be very difficult for your loved ones to get access to things such as bank accounts and social media accounts. If you want to take steps toward creating a master information document for your survivors, the following are some details that you should consider including.

Schedule A Free Initial Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email us for a response

The Dayton Law Firm, P.C.
1754 Technology Drive
Suite 230
San Jose, CA 95110-1319

Phone: 408-758-5750
Fax: 408-437-7509
San Jose Law Office Map

Directions To Our Office Door