Some Sacramento readers are probably still mourning the premature death of Whitney Houston, who passed away Feb. 11, just before the Grammy Awards, at age 48.
While we would all like to think we will live long enough to set up a will or complete some kind of estate planning, not everyone will make it that long. For those people in Sacramento who don't have their final wishes written down in a will, it is possible that all the individuals they hoped to give money or property to will spend time and money fighting about the estate in probate court.
Sacramento's young professionals may not think they are old enough or rich enough for estate planning, but that mistake could lead to years of heartache and strain for their relatives should an accident happen. For those young people who have taken the initiative to speak with an estate planning lawyer, however, it is most likely they have only created a will. Instead of just making a will, there are other options, including trusts, that may make more sense.
Proper estate planning is very important for California families, as even when a trust is set up while an individual is still alive, legal matters can still arise. The heirs to a California winery are learning this after winding up in court over matters related to trust administration of the family winery. The family has settled the legal dispute, but there may be emotional scars left on the family for some time.The matter involves the Foppiano wine family from Healdsburg. The winery was family-founded and has been in operation since 1896. The 101-year-old father passed control of the winery to his son in 2005, and named both children as co-trustees in 2009.
Many people seem to believe that the term "estate planning" doesn't apply to them. To those people, only the rich and famous need to worry about intricacies of estate planning, because only they have estates worth making a plan for. That's simply not true. Average Americans from California to New York can profit by thinking ahead toward avoiding probate. One way to do that is to establish a trust.
Estate planning for a California blended family can be a challenging to try to create something that is fair to both spouses and their children. A revocable living trust is one means of accomplishing that goal. This type of revocable trust becomes irrevocable upon the death of one of the spouses. The trust can be altered or revoked during a lifetime, depending on the grantor. After death of one of the spouses, the property is transferred pursuant to the terms of the trust.
When someone with special needs receives an inheritance or a personal injury award, they may no longer be eligible for needs based government benefits. However, this type of one-time windfall can be put into a trust for the recipient's benefit so they can continue receiving their government benefit. This is called a "special needs trust" (SNT), and it is an important part of estate planning for California residents with special needs.