Californians make plans about practically everything. They may plan their weeks to accommodate their work, family and social commitments. They may make plans for their meals so that they know they will be able to feed their families even when they are incredibly busy. They may even plan when they will go to bed, so as to maximize the time they have available during the days and to provide themselves with proper rest.
The last thing on anyone's mind as they go through their day to day activities is their own death. But as we know from the wise words of one of our founding fathers Benjamin Franklin, there are but two certainties in life, death and taxes, and it is important to recognize and address both.
While most Americans are graced with families and friends, there are still some out there who, for whatever reason, do not have a large number of people at their side toward the end of their life. Maybe they had a small family to begin with and they just outlived them, maybe they had a falling out with their family, maybe they were just less social.
California has long been one of the more progressive states when it comes to marriage equality. The increased acceptance of same-sex unions has allowed many couples to prepare for the future with their estate plan. However, that does not alter the reality that there can be complications with a same-sex relationship. There are certain factors that should be remembered with such complicated estate planning.
Estate planning in California will have multiple issues that must be accounted for, but one that is a frequent cause for concern is guardianship. There are two kinds of probate guardianship in California and these must be understood by those who are concerned about a loved one after death. When drafting estate planning documents, it is essential to know whether there should be a guardianship and which kind is applicable if one is needed.
In California, it is not uncommon for people to marry more than once. Certain matters must be handled when in this situation, and one that many people forget is how to deal with drafting estate planning documents to account for the new marriage. This is especially worrisome if it is a blended family with children from both spouses' previous relationships becoming part of the equation. There are certain issues that might be forgotten, but are not any less important.
For those that have significant wealth and blended families, drafting estate planning documents is especially important if the person wants to avoid probate and disagreements among their family members after death. These circumstances apply to many people in California, whether they are in the entertainment industry, in business or in some other endeavor that has led to them having substantial assets. It is an unfortunate reality that even if the person was diligent in estate planning, there can still be legal battles over the estate. Such is the case with the late actor and entertainer Alan Thicke.
For those in California who understand how complicated and contentious probate can be, the chance to avoid it should be considered. When estate planning, the person should also be aware of the options in avoiding probate. An example of when it is possible to avoid probate is if the property falls below a certain amount. If the person who died left $150,000 or less to the heirs, then it might not be necessary to go through the probate process.
Estate planning in California should be thought of as a method of organizing one's life for the future when he or she is no longer there. It is a positive step for the heirs whether there is a substantial estate or one of more modest means and making sure that it is complete and in place is a wise decision for anyone. Those who are reluctant to create a coherent estate plan should remember certain steps to take and realize that it is essential for their own peace of mind and their family's future.
While Californians are advised to take the necessary steps to have a coherent and well-organized estate plan, the basics are sometimes lost on them. The most foundational matter after moving forward with the document itself and having all the "I's" dotted and the "T's" crossed is to know where it is and be prepared for the time when heirs will need to find these documents. It might sound like a silly dispute, but litigation can result if the estate plan documents are nowhere to be found. With this in mind, there are certain steps to take.