Sacramento Estate Planning Blog

Effective trusts require a keen legal eye

Recently on the blog we discussed spendthrift trusts and how they can fit into your estate plan. This type of trust isn't right for everyone, though.

Yet, those seeking to create an estate plan shouldn't write off trusts altogether just because a spendthrift trust doesn't meet their needs. Instead, these individuals should carefully consider whether other trusts can help further the goals they have for their estate and their loved ones.

Digital wills may cause estate planning headaches

It seems like nearly every aspect of our lives is becoming digitized. Estate planning may be no different. In fact, some states are even making it legal to create electronic wills. Although it may sound like this process is convenient, it can actually present significant problems.

This is especially true for older individuals. While millennials may not see anything wrong with digitizing wills, older individuals are much more open to undue influence and coercion. These types of wrongdoing may be difficult to catch in the digital world. This means that an individual's wishes for his or her estate may not be brought into the light and those who wish to contest a will may have more difficulty proving either the intent of the will's creator or the wrongdoing of the person trying to influence him or her.

Is a spendthrift trust right for your estate?

Estate planning can serve many purposes. In most cases, though, those who engage in estate planning simply want to provide for their loved ones as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many estate planning tools that can help further that goal. But estate planners need to be careful in which approach they take so that their estate doesn't end up being squandered.

This especially arises in the context of spendthrift trusts. This type of trust allows a named beneficiary to receive distributions from a trust but only in amounts and frequencies specified by the trust document. This can allow trust funds to stretch further, and those assets remaining under the trust are protected from creditors until those funds are dispersed.

Dealing with retirement accounts during estate planning

Many people have retirement accounts and other investments, as well as Social Security benefits that they have worked hard to earn and build. Although these individuals hope to take advantage of these resources when the time comes, they don't always live long enough to do so. In those instances, major questions can be raised about how those assets will be distributed. Without an effective estate plan, those financial resources may be passed down to someone who doesn't deserve them.

So what can be done to ensure your retirement accounts are directed to an individual of your choosing? The best way is to simply list that identified person as your beneficiary. By doing so, the asset bypasses the probate process and is quickly accessible to the beneficiary. It is worth noting, though, that some retirement accounts, like a 401(k), require you to list your spouse as a beneficiary unless there is a written agreement stating otherwise.

Why should I create a will?

Have you been putting off estate planning? If so, you're not alone. Many Californians struggle to get around to dealing with estate planning.

Although many of these individuals view the process almost like a chore, the fact of the matter is that estate planning is crucial to your family's financial well-being. Estate planning doesn't have to be extraordinarily complex, either. In fact, in some instances, a will is enough to appropriately deal with an estate's assets.

Estate planning procrastination: how to stop it

Most people avoid thinking about death. The mere thought of our own mortality often makes us uncomfortable, and it depresses our spirits.

As a result, many Californians choose to put off estate planning until they feel "ready" to do so. For a lot of these individuals, though, the time never feels right. That is why it is important to sit down and really think about estate planning, even if it's just the creation of a will.

Effective estate planning can avoid illusion of unfairness

There is a lot of decision-making that goes into estate planning. Perhaps the biggest decisions are those that determine to whom assets will be distributed when the time comes.

For many Californians this is a simple choice. They simply decide to evenly divide their assets amongst their loved ones, whether that be their siblings, their parents, or their children. In many cases, individuals simply choose to leave everything to their spouse.

Daughters challenge late father's trust involving Denver Broncos

We've set it on this blog before, but it is worth saying again. There is a lot at stake in estate planning.

An estate plan can completely reshape the lives of heirs and beneficiaries for the better, or it can make significant contributions to charitable organizations and society as a whole. It can even mean the difference in a pet's life when an individual utilizes a pet trust.

Is a simple will enough for your estate planning needs?

Estate plans can look different depending on the assets, individuals, and wishes involved. While newly created estate plans can vary from person to person, these plans can evolve over time as modifications become necessary to reflect life's realities.

Some Californians believe that a simple will is enough to satisfy their estate planning needs. While a will may be all that is needed in some circumstances, those who want more control over their assets after they are gone should make full use of the other estate planning tools at their disposal.

How do I talk to loved ones about estate planning?

Thinking about your own mortality can be a challenging thing to do. Yet, coming to terms with the inevitable is the first step in being proactive about planning for your estate and the financial security of your loved ones.

So, how do you go about talking to your parents about the importance of estate planning? There are several ways to approach the matter.

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If you would like to discuss representation or have another question about my firm, please call 916-248-4465 or email my Sacramento, California, office to arrange for a consultation.

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