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 may have seen a recent news article about a new variation on the old theme of family members behaving badly when it comes to fighting each other for a share of a wealthy benefactor's inheritance. The sad fact is that money, combined with grief at the loss of a loved one, can lead to some serious family in-fighting when the terms of the will are not crystal clear on how to distribute the deceased's assets.
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.
Californians may be familiar with the late author and noted liberal thinker Gore Vidal, who passed away last year and left his entire multi-million dollar estate to Harvard University, completely eschewing his family members and relatives by leaving them nothing. But now, Vidal's half-sister is challenging the validity of his will, claiming he was not of sound mind when he made the controversial will.
Many families in California who have dealt firsthand with the death of a loved one may understand all too well the trouble that can arise when a family squabbles over inheritance. The situation can be a perfect storm of emotions. Relatives are dealing with funeral arrangements, worrying about the deceased's last will and testament, and of course, coping with the loss of a loved one and it can be simply too much for people to handle all at once. These are just some of the reasons why family arguments about inheritance can be so painful. People have been known to suffer serious health problems as a result of this stress, including heart attacks, nervous breakdowns and even strokes.