What Actually Is Estate Planning In California?
Many people think that estate planning is just a will but it is not. In estate planning, the keyword is estate. What happens when people have a variety of things that they own and they have a variety of desires for other people or charitable organizations to receive them? One reason to make an estate plan is to determine what the person or the couple have and what they expect to acquire in the next few years. If both of them were to either become seriously incapacitated or pass away, what do they want to happen to all of their goods and property?
You have to consider income taxes and you have to consider who will be the recipient of these goods and how old are they are likely to be when they receive them. Estate planning is the process of looking at your estate over a period of years and making provisions for the ultimate plan. The plan is the strategic roadmap before you get to the actual documents.
What Happens If Someone Dies Without An Estate Plan Or Even A Will?
Dying without a will is called dying intestate. At that point, the state law takes over and any property is distributed to your heirs according to a chart which has been approved by the state legislature. It covers spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, grandparents, and then aunts, uncles, and cousins. You have to look and see who else is alive at the time that the decedent dies because you cannot just simply assume that everything goes to the spouse, if the person is married.
You can have a situation where, for a couple, everything goes to the surviving spouse. You can have another situation where if a single person, without children, dies a substantial sum of money goes to remote cousins across the country. Intestate succession is unpredictable, since you have no idea who is going to be alive at the time that you die. Unless you have a living child or children, and you have only some personal goods and less than $150,000 in cash, stocks or other non-real property assets, you do not want that estate divided up by default.
How Often Should I Review My Estate Plan?
You should review your estate plan every three to four years because things happen in people’s lives. Children grow up and they get married and sometimes, people pass away. A child may develop a serious problem, like addiction, and the parents will not want to just leave a large sum of money to him or her. People get divorced and they remarry, and they may have adult children from previous marriages. All of these combinations of life intrude on your present estate plan. Also, the government changes the tax laws every so often. Every time there is a major change in the tax law, you definitely want to review your plan.
Who Are The Necessary Parties Involved In An Estate Plan?
Involved in the estate planning process, you have the person with the estate, called the testator or settlor or trustor, the accountant, financial consultant and the attorney. If you name a third party as the trustee, that person will be involved as well. Some people like to consult their adult children, which can be a problem if any of those children feels that he or she is not going to get his or her fair share. It is easier to make the decisions without canvassing the beneficiaries, who often are motivated by their own self-benefit.
For more information on Estate Planning In The State Of California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (949) 543-0800 today.
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