Creating an estate plan is a tremendous first step for you and your family. Updating your estate plan and ensuring it covers all of the crucial areas that compose your life is even more important. But what does it all mean if you have this estate plan and your heirs and beneficiaries are upset when the details of the estate plan come to light? What if they feel slighted by the estate plan?
Our source article for this blog post uses a nice hypothetical situation to illustrate why it is important to not only have an organized and thorough estate plan, but also why it is vital to update your estate plan over time. You can read the specifics in that article (and it does get specific), but the point is this: if you leave your estate unattended, either entirely or over a period of years, you run the risk of leaving your family or your beneficiaries out in the cold (financially speaking).
We've said it before, and it is important that we say it again: an estate plan is something that you should be organizing and preparing early on in your life. It's something you don't realize that you need until you really need it -- and then you will wish that you had been planning it all this time.
When someone passes away, their loved ones and family members will be grieving. It's a tough time for those close to the deceased, and no one truly wants to deal with the serious matters that need to be addressed in the immediate aftermath of a death. Estate questions, beneficiaries receiving their pieces of that estate, and debt problems can riddle the atmosphere after a death.
Being able to give back to your community may be one of your estate planning goals and it is a commendable one. If you are looking for a legal instrument to help with charitable giving even when you are gone, a trust could provide that avenue for you. In California, charitable trusts and other types of charitable entities are governed under CA Code Sections 12580-12599.8. There are two basic types of charitable trusts.
If you have a will or are considering an estate plan, then you need to know about three actions that can be taken in regard to your will. You can revoke or change your will; and, if your beneficiaries or a person with a stake in your will is so inclined, they can challenge your will. These are the three actions that we will talk about today.
You may have been given the role of "trustee" over someone else's trust. As the trustee, you are responsible for properly administrating the trust. This creates a legal duty called a "fiduciary duty." As the trustee it is very important that you administer the trust in a way that is in the best interests of any beneficiaries. If you do not meet this duty there are potential legal ramifications, such as a beneficiary suing you for improper administration and seeking damages. Hiring an experienced attorney can help to avoid such headaches and consequences.
Probate is actually a simple process. It is the act of transferring someone's property upon their death. It may seem surprising for probate to be so simple because probate has a reputation of being a costly and difficult procedure. This is indeed true -- probate can be costly and difficult. However, if you address your estate and your property in an effective and efficient manner, you can actually "skip" probate.
Tragedy can strike at any time. That isn't meant to scare you about living your life -- but really, traumatic things can happen. When they do happen, the victims at the center of the tragedy hopefully have provisions and legal actions in place to not only take care of their family and loved ones, but also to fulfill their wishes.
Many people turn to trusts in their estate plans because it gives them a lot of control over how they turn their assets over to their beneficiaries, while also allowing them to avoid probate on those assets. But a trust isn't forever. Eventually, it is applied and the beneficiaries receive what they are supposed to receive -- barring extreme circumstances.
A common refrain when it comes to estate planning is that everyone needs to plan early in their life. Even if you are in your early 20s, you should still be considering and planning for what happens to your assets and worldly possessions should a terrible accident or untimely death were to occur. There is no such thing as "planning too early" when it comes to estate plans.