Residents in California may have seen an interesting news article about the changing middle class in America, and how it appears to be largely influenced by certain demographics, most notably age. While the baby boomer generation enters retirement with some overall level of financial stability, it appears it is becoming harder and harder for younger generations, especially those with children, to get ahead in the middle class.
People in California know that a will is probably the single most important estate planning document that every person should have. That being said, there are certain kinds of property that a will simply cannot cover for various reasons. For that reason it's important to know the limitations of a will, and what other supplemental estate documents a person may need to work with their attorney to draw up or amend.
People in California who follow business news may have heard about an interesting legal battle that is brewing in Miami, Florida between five siblings and heirs to the massive estate of multimillionaire Gerald Bean. After Bean died in 2011, the majority of his assets were put into a trust, with his wife serving as trustee. The trust included specific instructions that upon her passing, the trust assets were to be distributed to four of the five Bean children.
People in California may have questions about how the legal process of transferring assets and property after a person's death occurs. This legal process in general is referred to as probate, although the process can vary greatly, depending on the circumstances. In general, a well-written and valid will can help a person avoid a lengthy and involved probate process, but in some circumstances, probate is a necessary and unavoidable step.
People in California know that everyone needs a will. It's an important document that spells out what is to become of a person's assets after they die, and in many ways is a person's only means of communication with friends and family members after death. For that reason, a lot of time and effort can go into the will decision-making process, but unfortunately not enough people spend enough time making sure that the will itself is correctly written and legally valid. People who try to write a will on their own may end up making some serious mistakes which could in some cases nullify the will entirely, or lead to costly and avoidable legal challenges as to the validity of the will or its execution.
People in California probably know Casey Kasem as the voice of Top 40 radio and one of the most memorable personalities on the airwaves. Kasem died on June 15 at the age of 82, and according to reports, was the subject of a moving tribute marked by heartfelt speeches from family, friends and loved ones. However, things were not always so pleasant in the days and months leading up to Kasem's death, as a bitter family feud over his medical care erupted between his spouse and his children.
People in California know that estate planning isn't something that happens overnight, and as life itself changes, the estate plan goes right along with it. An estate plan requires careful thought and reflection on a person's goals, aspirations, belief in the future, concept of what their financial contribution means in the grand scheme of life, and even their own mortality. It can be heavy stuff to consider, but the peace of mind that comes with a professionally managed and comprehensive estate plan is more than worth the labor, time, thought and emotions that go into the process.
People in California know that science has contributed to our lives in ways that never seemed possible only a generation ago. In particular, new advances in human health and reproduction science have made conception through alternative means relatively common in society. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have shown that the use of assisted reproduction technology has far more than doubled in the last 10 years.
People in California know how important it is to have a will. Not only does a person's will provide him or her with the ability to express final earthy sentiments and provide comfort and closure to loved ones, it has powerful legal and financial implications that will impact the world long after the person is gone. But on the other hand, dying or becoming incapacitated without a will can be a legal and practical nightmare, as the disposition of a person's personal property and assets is essentially left to up to the court system, which will blindly and systematically dictate who receives what without any consideration for what the deceased would have wanted.
People in California may have seen a recent editorial in Forbes about the common and potentially costly mistake many people make when it comes to estate planning and preparing a will. Many people relax after they have prepared and executed their will, but whether they know it or not, a simple change of circumstance could potentially render the best-laid plans null, or even direct that the assets go to the wrong person.