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Factors to consider during estate planning process

Not many people enjoy talking about their own mortality. California residents and others may want to consider the following estate planning tips, which may be crucial to securing assets and providing for loved ones' futures. Such matters are intensely personal, and each plan is able to be customized according to immediate needs and long-term goals.

Houses are among the most common assets addressed in estate plans. Since a house is often one of the largest assets a person owns, it may be considered a priority to determine who will inherit one's home. It may also be beneficial to create an entire inventory list of all other items and assets that may be distributed among family members and/or others after an estate owner's death.

Making sure one has a will in place can help beneficiaries avoid contentious battles later. If a person dies without a will, the state will decide who gets what, and it may not align with one's own choosing. To avoid probate, an estate owner can list specific instructions in a will as to how to distribute assets, whether everything is to be given to one person, or dispersed among many family members, charities or others.

Anyone executing an estate plan is cautioned not to forget to name an executor. Otherwise, the court will appoint someone, and again, it may not be the person one would have wanted to entrust with the task. Also, it is crucial to review one's estate plan periodically to make certain it remains updated; relationship or lifestyles changes may necessitate adjustments. Anyone seeking clarification of California estate planning laws and guidelines may request a meeting with an experienced family law attorney to discuss an individual situation.

Source: realtor.com, "7 Estate Planning Tips You Should Know Before You Die", Jamie Wiebe, Aug. 29, 2016

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