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.
The truth is that estate planning can be beneficial for anyone. Still, many Californians mistakenly think that estate planning is reserved for those with massive amounts of wealth and large families. In order to see its benefits, one just needs to be able to look closely enough at the details of estate planning, which can be especially helpful considering everyone's circumstances are different.
Self-help resources abound in our technological age. They can help you learn to do just about anything, from build a house to draw cartoons. Estate planning is no exception. Many online businesses offer cheap services to help individuals create wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. So, then, the question becomes whether or not it is worth it to seek out the assistance of an estate planning attorney when dealing with these matters.
There can be a lot to deal with when two California families combine into one. This is often seen in the context of blended families when one individual with children marries another individual who is not the children's parent. In some instances, each spouse has children from another relationship.
While much of estate planning is focused on the distribution of assets upon one's passing, it really encompasses much more than that. Estate planning should also delve into important health care and financial decisions, especially in the event that an individual becomes incapacitated. After all, these matters are inextricably linked to the distribution of assets because these health-related and financial decisions can have a profound impact on the remaining value of an estate.
Getting divorced can be emotional. After all, two individuals who were once in love have to come to terms with the fact that they are no longer right for each other. While this process can leave individuals feeling upset, distrusting, and sad, it also provides them with an opportunity to secure a fresh start. While many individuals consider this new beginning to pertain to the way one lives life, it should also affect how one plans to dispose of his or her assets after death.