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Proactive estate planning can help prevent family disputes

Many people who receive inheritances from deceased loved ones are honored to simply have been remembered by the persons whose estates provided them with the inheritance. In California, a person may be an estate beneficiary through a number of testamentary devices, all of which a decedent must prepare prior to the end of their life. While in some cases a beneficiary may be aware of what their inheritance will be, in other situations a beneficiary may not know that they will receive an inheritance until their loved one has passed on.

Why may people want to avoid probate and how can they do so?

Whether or not their estate will go through probate may not be a huge concern for some California residents, since they will not be around to see how the process affects the disposition of their wealth and assets. However, a Californian who wants to take proactive steps to protect their wealth and the inheritances of their loved ones should understand why avoiding probate this is a good idea. This post will discuss why a person should work to keep their estate out of probate and how that goal may be achieved.

Health proxy takes care of you when you are unable to do so

No one wants to imagine the day when they can no longer make decisions for themselves. While many Californians envision that this moment will not take place until many years into the future, the truth is that it only takes an accident or other life-changing incident for a person to lose their capacity to understand how best to meet their own needs.

An estate plan should be made before it is too late

One of the requirements of a valid will in California is that the creator of the testamentary document is of sound mind when they sign their name to the will and make it official. A person who lacks the mental capacity to understand the terms of their will likely would not have the soundness of mind required by law to execute it, and to this end, if a person does not have a will when they lose their capacity to create one they may not be able to prepare one to protect their estate.

What is intestate succession in California?

An estate plan is intended to comprehensively dispose of a decedent's property, so that nothing is left over for the probate courts to claim and subject to the laws of distribution. In California and other jurisdictions, though, it is not uncommon for individuals to pass on without putting into place the wills, trusts and other testamentary documents necessary to ensure that the distribution of their wealth and assets is made clear. Because of this, the states of the nation have enacted intestate succession laws that designate how heirs may inherit from the decedents.

Proper estate plan can help avoid family disputes

Not long ago this Sacramento-based estate planning legal blog discussed the somewhat difficult topic of disinheritance. Through an estate plan a person may explicitly choose to exclude a relation who otherwise may have had a clear right to receive from the individual's end-of-life estate. This challenging theme often comes up when a person would like to prevent one of their children from having a claim to their assets and wealth.

Now is the time to reevaluate your estate plan

As 2017 draws to its end and 2018 shines on the horizon, Californians may be starting to consider what resolutions they would like to work toward in the New Year. While some may desire to improve their health or get ahead at work, others may make plans to simplify their lives and focus their attention on family and friends. However, few many look far into the future to an eventuality that all people must face: their death.

What is a health proxy?

Often when considering the benefits of estate planning Californians think about the importance of having plans in place for the disposition of their property upon their deaths. However, there is a particular estate planning tool that individuals can forget about that serves them during the critical periods of time when they are still alive but mentally or physically unable to make decisions for themselves.

Estate planning is still important despite proposed tax plan

Just recently President Donald Trump announced that his administration intends to impose sweeping changes to the tax structure of the federal government. One of those changes would involve ending the estate tax, which many readers of this California estate planning blog may know as the "death tax." Most individuals have an unfavorable view of this tax due to its potential to double-tax assets and income that likely were already subject to taxation at earlier points in time.

Death of American icon raises estate planning questions

Readers of this California estate planning legal blog have probably heard that Hugh Hefner, founder of the Playboy Magazine empire, passed away at the age of 91. At the time of his death, Hefner was survived by his third wife and four children from previous relationships.

My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.

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