Under California law, some basic requirements must be met for a will to be valid. Anyone age 18 or over can make a will, provided that the person is mentally competent to do so. The California Probate Code makes it clear that a person is mentally competent to make a will as long as they understand the nature of what they are doing, understand what property they own and the extent of that property and know who their living spouse, parents, descendants and other potential beneficiaries are.
It has been a year since the death of comedian Robin Williams, who committed suicide in his Northern California home on August 11, 2014. Sadly, his widow and his children from previous marriages remain entangled in a bitter dispute over his estate. According to an attorney for the children, Williams' trustees are distressed by the fact that Williams sought to avoid just this kind of dispute when he prepared his estate plan.
Californians with children from a previous marriage should seriously consider updating their estate plan when they remarry. California parents in blended families often want to leave most of their estate to their children, but also provide for their current spouse. There are a lot of ways in which a remarried parent can achieve these goals. One strategy is a QTIP trust, in which the parent's surviving spouse is given a life interest in the couple's home and other assets. When the surviving spouse passes away, the home and other assets in the trust are distributed to the children.
Sacramento is the perfect city to settle down, start a family, open a business or retire. In the midst of all these crazy life decisions, it would be unwise to forget about estate planning tools at your disposal, such as wills or trusts. Once settled in a city like Sacramento, it is likely the perfect time to begin estate planning to address the what ifs. Here is why becoming the trustor of your estate plan is not such a bad idea.