An estate plan is a written instrument used by individuals in California and elsewhere to pass their assets and property to their heirs and beneficiaries. In order for these assets to be transferred after the person's death, the probate process will need to be initiated. This legal process considers the contents of the deceased's estate, sorting through their personal affairs. A will is generally used to dictate how property and assets will be transferred, however, even when a will is available, the probate process could become rather complex and lengthy.
Many California music fans remember singer James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," who died nine years ago. Unfortunately, litigation over his estate remains ongoing. Recently, four of Brown's six children reached a settlement agreement, which has been submitted to a court in South Carolina for approval. But two of Brown's son's oppose the settlement and claim that, by challenging their father's will, the other siblings have forfeited their rights to any inheritance.
No matter the age of a couple, it is not uncommon to draft a will and establish an estate plan at some point during a marriage. Major decisions are made in these legal documents, and they can be very beneficial at delivering the wishes of the spouses at incapacitation or death. However, wills are often drafted with the idea that their marriage would last until death - so what happens if the couple decides to divorce?
An important aspect of estate planning is drafting a will. However, including a will does not always indicate that the legal document will serve the role it was intended to. This is especially true if a will is missing after the death of a loved one in California or elsewhere.