Estate planning is an ongoing process – when life changes, so should your plan. Many believe that once estate planning documents, such as a will, living trust or a durable power of attorney, are executed, their estate plan is complete. This is not the case – in fact, there are several mistakes that people tend to make in estate planning: 1. Failing to keep documents up to date. Changes such as marriage, divorce or the death of a spouse, beneficiary or executor should trigger a review … [Read more...] about Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes
Proper Asset Ownership
If one of your loved ones has a substance abuse problem, an inheritance may make the addiction worse or even kill him or her. At the least, the inheritance is likely to be squandered. For anyone who has an addiction such as drugs or alcohol, it is best to pass the inheritance in trust, not outright. How Outright Inheritances Work Outright gifts pass into your beneficiary’s individual name. They are within your beneficiary’s full control, to be spent any way he deems appropriate. This may … [Read more...] about The Addicted Beneficiary: A Problem and a Solution
Even in the best of times, people are always looking for ways to save money. During tough economic times, like we have seen over the past few years, finding ways to save money becomes even more important. Cutting corners when it comes to estate planning, however, is not one of the ways you want use to cut costs. Let’s look at just one example of the bad estate planning that results when trying to save money by “do-it-yourself” estate planning. Imagine the following scenario. You decide that … [Read more...] about Transferring Ownership of Your Home–An Example of Bad Estate Planning
No way! Married people need estate plans. Some folks think that because they own assets jointly with a spouse, they don’t need an estate plan. In fact, joint ownership is called a “poor man’s estate plan.” In reality, it should just be called a “poor estate plan.” Joint tenancy ownership is riddled with perils. Likely, the most serious peril is the unintentional disinheritance of your children. Sadly, it happens too often because of joint ownership. This is what can happen when you own … [Read more...] about Married People Don’t Need Estate Plans, Right?
When someone dies, they typically leave behind various estate assets. This may include cash, investments, personal property or real property. All of the decedents property must be legally transferred upon his or her death. How the property is handled depends on a number of factors. Property held in joint tenancy with another person will pass by operation of law to the surviving joint tenant when the one of the joint tenant dies. In many cases, property held by husband and wife as community … [Read more...] about When a Decedent Dies, What Happens To the Estate Property?
We don’t think anyone gets up in the morning and says, “Yippee! Today, I’ll call an estate planning lawyer to discuss creating a comprehensive estate plan.” However, we do think you should consider creating a plan that addresses all you Why? Consider this solid estate planning lesson from the estate of author, Stieg Larsson, who wrote the incredibly successful Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. No Estate Plan Larsson died, suddenly, at age 50; he had no estate plan. None. What he did have was a … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Lesson from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Don’t Procrastinate
In California, certain small estates may not be subject to probate, instead they may be able to take advantage of less costly "small estate procedures." As of January 1, 2012, there is a new definition of "small" estate. The new limit is $150,000 in non-real estate assets and up to $50,000 in real estate. If your assets otherwise subject to probate don’t exceed these amounts, your estate may be able to avoid for expensive and time consuming formal California probate process. However, depending … [Read more...] about New California Probate Exemption in 2012