Have you been putting off estate planning? If so, you're not alone. Many Californians struggle to get around to dealing with estate planning.
A will can be an integral part of your estate plan. It typically dictates how assets are to be divided, which sometimes includes pouring assets over into a trust. Poorly drafted wills can present a number of legal problems, including the risk that the document will be deemed legally invalid. Additionally, a bad will can lead to family infighting that the testator probably wanted to avoid. This is why it is usually best for Californians to work with an attorney who can help them ensure that their wills are clear and enforceable.
Oftentimes, a will serves as the foundation of an estate plan. When a will is improperly drafted, an individual's estate may be in jeopardy. This is because a poorly created will can lead to ambiguity, challenges, a lengthy probate process and even an undesired distribution of assets. Therefore, Californians need to be diligent in their efforts to create their wills and update them regularly. Skilled legal professionals may be able to advise as to how best to utilize these estate planning tools.
Most people who think of estate planning only consider the transfer of tangible property upon death. Others may think about how debts play into the distribution of an estate, too. Yet, there are a whole host of other types of property that can carry tremendous value. Failing to appropriately address them in an estate plan, though, could mean that they wind up in the wrong hand.
Famed singer Aretha Franklin is well-known for her vocal work while with Motown Records. Her music has inspired a generation, and it continues to be heard across the world. While her talents continue to be celebrated long after her death, Franklin is also well-known for something else: failing to create an estate plan to deal with the distribution of her assets.
A solid estate plan is one that is thorough and updated over time. Yet, with each legal document executed and modification made comes scrutiny. This can be especially true when changes to an estate plan are substantially different from what the plan previously constituted.
By utilizing a basic will, Californians can spell out how they wish for their assets to be distributed upon their death. Although many people think of this legal document as easily executable, it can raise some serious legal issues if improperly handled. This is why it is usually best to have the assistance of a skilled estate planning attorney before creating and finalizing one of these wills.
The creation of a will or trust should leave an individual feeling comfortable with how his or her estate will be distributed upon death. Sometimes, however, squabbles arise over the validity of these estate planning documents when individuals challenge the creator's competence at the time of the creation of those documents. This can lead to a multitude of issues, including the invalidation of a will or trust which, in turn, can lead to distribution of an estate that is counter to a person's intentions.
Our readers who are familiar with the estate planning process know that there are many decisions that must be made. An individual must determine to whom assets will be left and what restrictions, if any, will be placed on the distribution of those assets. Even long-term care and powers of attorney may be important considerations during the estate planning process. Another important consideration, especially when creating a will, is who will serve as the will's executor.
Devising a will can either be relatively simple or it can be extraordinarily difficult depending on the circumstances at hand. This can include the number of assets and debts involved, the number of identified heirs and the complexities involved in the way that an individual intends to leave his or her estate via a will. Regardless of how in-depth a will needs to be though, an individual needs to ensure that it is crafted with clarity and thoroughness. Failing to do so could lead to a contested will.