Most people avoid thinking about death. The mere thought of our own mortality often makes us uncomfortable, and it depresses our spirits.
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.
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.
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.
If you're reading this blog, then you may be interested in creating or modifying an existing estate plan. Many Californians find themselves overwhelmed by the mere thought of taking such actions.
It wasn't that long ago that everything a person owned could be physically touched. Money, items of personal property, journals, and even photographs could be held in one's hand. Nowadays, though, much of our lives has be digitized. Thousands of dollars can change hands without ever touching paper money, and our most cherished memories are often stored somewhere online. While this convenience may make our lives easier, it can make estate planning trickier.
Many Californians own significant property that they want to protect for their heirs and beneficiaries. Although these individuals may be familiar with estate planning and how it can be utilized to avoid the long, drawn-out probate process, they may not be aware of how assets that are owned out of state will be handled upon their passing.
It's a scary reality that millions of Americans live with a chronic illness. In fact, some statistics indicate that more than 130 million people are affected by these conditions, and that number is only expected to grow for the foreseeable future.
On its face, estate planning can seem relatively easy, especially for those who just want to leave their assets to their spouse or children. For these individuals, a simple will may suffice to meet their needs, but even these documents can be fraught with legal issues. For an example of the complexities and confusion that can arise when a will is improperly handled, just read our recent post about Aretha Franklin's estate and her handwritten wills. To avoid potential problems related to the creation of a will, Californians should consider working closely with an estate planning professional.
For many Californians, their retirement accounts make up a significant part of their estate. Pension plans, 401(k)s, and IRAs are some of the major accounts. When properly addressed in an estate plan, Californians can rest assured that their assets will pass into the right hands upon their death. That may sound simple enough, but the process of estate planning can actually be quite complicated, especially when the law is in a state of flux.