No one likes to think about their inevitable mortality. Therefore, it can take a lot of will power and bravery to create an estate plan. Those in California who are able to successfully create a plan may feel like they have achieved something major, which they have, at least to a certain extent. However, estate planning is never truly done. The legal documents through which an estate plan takes shape need revisiting from time-to-time, but even the process through which the plan is discussed with beneficiaries and heirs can have a significant impact on the plan’s success.
Many individuals fail to discuss their estate plan with their heirs. In fact, one study found that nearly half of all parents fail to bring up the subject with their children, and only 28 percent of adults reported that they were aware of their parents’ estate plan details. Another 40 percent reported that they felt that their parents’ estate plans were unfair. By failing to discuss estate planning with their children and heirs, individuals risk that expectations may be dashed and feeling of unfairness may give rise to legal disputes.
It’s also important to recognize that simply because one is named as an heir does not mean that he or she will know what to do with the assets that are left to him or her. This means that wealth can be mismanaged in a short period of time, which is likely contradictory to a testator’s wishes. Therefore, those engaged in estate planning may want to utilize trusts to better protect their estate’s wealth and their beneficiaries’ financial well-being.
These are just a few of the considerations that need to be taken into account when thinking about estate planning. While there are many issues that need to be addressed on a legal front, there are also some practical steps that can be taken to ensure that the process is most effective.