Drafting estate planning documents is an important part of having the proper plans in place for the future, especially in the event of becoming incapacitated. Many people harbor a fear of what will happen to them and their assets without the protection of certain types of trusts. A living trust is useful in such a circumstance. Knowing its intricacies is integral to deciding if it is the right alternative. A person who is his or her own trustee should have a successor trustee in the event of incapacitation. If there is no living trust, another person would have to manage the assets.
With a California estate plan, there are often questions as to whether it is necessary to go to probate court or if the case can be settled using simplified procedures. This is true when during the estate planning process and after the testator has died. As with most legal issues, this depends on the situation. There are certain factors that will determine the need to head to court. The amount of money that is in the estate, what kind of property there is, and the person or persons who are claiming the property will all factor in.
A frequent estate plan question centers around the difference between wills and trusts. Understanding what a living trust is can help to determine whether this is a document of value to an individual or not.
It is not easy to think about what kind of health care you would want if you are ever incapacitated, but it is a worthwhile effort to make these plans. Failure to have such plans in place could result in others making important, life-altering decisions on your behalf.
California residents must be particularly cognizant of certain rules that are integral to a well-crafted estate plan. Part of that is knowing about the tax implications and certain exemptions that are available for those whose estates go beyond a set amount. The current estate-tax - also referred to as the inheritance tax or the "death" tax - is $5.49 million for an individual and just below $11 million for a couple. Receiving an amount beneath these figures protects the recipient from the inheritance tax. Even with that, those who are formulating an estate plan should determine if they should use the exempt amount for the heirs or if a trust is preferable.
Losing a loved one under any circumstances is challenging. It can be even harder when you have questions and concerns about how a loved one's will was written, amended or executed. No one wants to create conflict among family members and fight about the distribution of an estate, but if there are real concerns about the validity of a will, it's important to voice these concerns during the probate process.
If you are a homeowner and have other valuable properties and assets, it is important to have an estate plan to safeguard the interests of your family and your assets as well. A comprehensive estate plan will ensure that your wishes are carried out to the last precise detail. Having adequate information and guidance will assist you in knowing the options that you have in regards to trust administration, wills and also the possibility of a probate. A probate requires the need of court surveillance while sorting out the properties and assets of someone that did not have a will, trust or estate plan.
Californians might have a certain amount of difficulty considering the inevitable and moving forward with an estate plan, but it is a necessary step to ensure that the property and assets will go to their designated beneficiaries. It is also a sound way to avoid family disputes and rancor. There are, however, certain foundational aspects of drafting estate planning documents. Knowing what to take into consideration can avoid the need to make changes to the documents and keep the disagreements to a minimum once the testator has passed.
Probate is the legal process of transferring a deceased person's property to heir and beneficiaries, determining the validity of the will, and meeting the financial responsibilities of the estate. Depending on the property an individual leaves behind, the family circumstances, and the specific arrangements an individual made for the disposition of his or her property at death, probate can be a more or less burdensome task. It can be especially burdensome if there is a lot in dispute in probate court.
When looking into options regarding areas of estate planning, you may wonder whether setting up a trust could fit your needs. Many individuals benefit from creating various types of trusts, especially if they have certain goals they wish to achieve. Creating a trust could help you work toward avoiding probate proceedings for your surviving family or possibly reduce estate taxes that may be leveled against your estate after your death.