Probate is the court-supervised process of estate administration and property distribution after an individual dies. In California, probate can be a lengthy and expensive process. Legal fees - which are based on the size of the estate - and court costs can eat up a significant portion of any estate. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid probate in California with some careful estate planning.
Residents in California may have read an interesting editorial article in the Wall Street Journal recently, dealing with the questions that many couples without children face when they're considering their estate plan. Without children, and the possibility of children in the future, some couples might get the false sense of security that their estate plan isn't as urgent, but having an estate plan is just as essential for people with no kids as it is for people with 10 kids.
People in California may have seen an interesting editorial article about how certain major, yet common, life changes can impact a person's financial well-being and future plans. This is especially true of people who have recently gone through a divorce. While most people are busy dealing with the emotional and personal fallout of a marital split, they may overlook the important long-term ramifications of a divorce, which could come back to haunt them many years in the future.
People in California know that millionaires and billionaires are created on a regular basis in the Silicon Valley and across the state. One of the most notable examples is Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook and one of the youngest, richest men in the world. Zuckerberg's success wasn't due to luck, it was the product of a carefully crafted and prepared business strategy. Now that he has more or less entrenched himself as a success in the business world, he has also turned his attention to ensuring success at the next step, estate planning.
People in California know that the only constant in life is change. People's lives change in some way each and every day, whether they realize it at the time or not. Some of these changes are obviously bigger than others, and some of them require a great deal of thought and energy to prepare for and react to. One of the major life changes many people go through and some point or another is divorce.
California residents likely read and hear about the different mistakes people can make in their estate plan. For some Californians, the biggest mistake may be in simply not having an estate plan. Unfortunately, people who fall into these common traps may have their life savings fall into the wrong hands, or the money could languish in the court probate process for years. In both of these cases, it is the intended heirs that are deprive of their rightful inheritance, not to mention the issue without mounting legal expenses.
People in California lead busy lives, and most people like it that way. Not knowing what the day has in store can be an exciting and fulfilling way to live, but everybody still needs to take some time to reflect on the big picture. Part of getting the most enjoyment out of life means having the financial means to do so, so even the busiest Californians should take some time each year to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney about how to get the most out of their assets.
People know that California is home to the largest and most progressive technology corporations in the world, so it's no surprise that what happens in California today could set the standard for the rest of the United States for years to come. The rapid growth and success of these technology giants has made many millionaires and billionaires, who, just like the rest of us, are faced with the important decision of what to do with their money during their life and after their death.
People in California probably know about James Gandolfini, the actor most-well-known for his turn as Tony Soprano on the hit television show. When he unexpectedly died at the relatively young age of 51, people mourned the loss of this talented man, but soon afterwards the attention turned to the controversies surrounding his estate plan.