At some point in their lives, most California residents begin to realize that they may not have many years left to spend with their families and loved ones. During these last years, most people try to make the most of them and cherish the lasting memories they have. They may also choose to prepare their estates so that their wealth can be passed on to their loved ones in the most uncomplicated way possible.
The alleged "billionaire" John Paterakis died in 2016, in Maryland, at the age of 87 from complications related to bone marrow disease. The man left assets to his children and his widow, but the estate is now embroiled in controversy.
A lot of California families think it's best to keep their estate planning a secret. They meet with their estate planning lawyers and create a solid plan, but they don't tell anyone about it. Although this can work in many cases, it also increases the chances that family members will try to contest the estate plan after you're gone.
As you start writing your wills, one of the questions you will need to answer is who you want to be given power of attorney. This person will be able to make decisions related to your care and treatment, as well as whether or not to continue life support.
Imagine you've been toiling away at your job for the last two decades, diligently setting aside as much as you can for your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Maybe you don't have to imagine it; maybe you've been doing exactly that for the last three decades. Regardless of your IRA situation, this account needs a special approach when you include it in your estate plan. Don't just put your spouse's name on the beneficiary and think you're done with this account -- you may need to revisit your estate planning for your IRA at a later time.
Estate planners use a lot of strategies to help their clients avoid probate for their heirs. The probate process can be long, drawn out, stressful and costly. It can also be frustrating for heirs who could benefit from certain assets now to have to wait -- and navigate the probate process -- before they can receive their inheritances.
"Don't be a hero!" This phrase is used in certain situations in which it would be perilous for someone to attempt to fix something better left alone. Although we admire the heroes in our lives, many situations don't require a hero's attitude to ensure that they are handled appropriately. Heroic measures can save lives, but they don't always have to in order to do the right thing. How does this notion apply to estate planning?
The founder of North Face and Esprit, Douglas Tompkins, died in December 2015 after a kayaking accident in Chile. In the man's estate planning, he didn't leave any money to his five grandchildren or his two daughters who live in the San Francisco area. The daughter is now seeking to inherit millions from her deceased father's estate by filing a lawsuit. The controversial and contentious estate battle is happening in both U.S. and South American courts.
California estate plans cannot be static documents that you create and leave alone for decades. Doing so could result in dire consequences for an estate, leaving its planning ineffective many years later. Laws and regulations regarding taxes, estates and inheritances change over the years. As such, estate planners always need to check and make sure that their plans are up-to-date.
When a physician begins his or her estate planning process, the physician will no doubt need to create a net worth statement. This statement will also need to include a listing of life insurance policies.