Trusts are important estate planning tools in California, and having one set up and funded may give you considerable peace of mind. Updating it as you acquire assets may seem like a tedious chore, but if you don't, there's a chance that some of your assets won't be distributed to your beneficiaries the way you planned. Is there another option?
When it comes to the probate process, people have a variety of questions. From fiduciary duties to issues with beneficiaries, there are many different challenges that can arise. In fact, some people are unsure if probate is necessary based on the size of an estate. In some cases, the probate process is not necessary for a small estate. For example, an estate that has less than $20,000 worth of real estate assets or $150,000 worth of total assets may avoid probate. While some very small estates may be able to avoid probate based upon their size, many are not able to.
The estate planning process may present various challenges and families who have lost a loved one may have to work through a number of issues as well. In this write-up, we will take a closer look at undue influence and some considerations related to this facet of estate planning. Whether you are facing allegations of undue influence or believe that one of your relatives exerted undue influence over your loved one before they passed on, it is critical to handle these matters carefully.
It is often said that the death of a loved one in Los Angeles (and anywhere else, for that matter) can have a galvanizing effect to help bring a family together. If that is true, then the opposite might often be said about estate administrations; they may end up tearing families apart. Of course, one can imagine that this is not the hope of those who died. This is why estate planning experts recommend being as transparent as possible when drafting wills and trust articles. The hope is that doing so will help avoid disputes amongst beneficiaries.
When a loved one passes away, an estate administrator or estate executor is appointed to manage the property and perform a number of duties to finalize the estate's property and finances. In some cases, the estate may have to go through the probate process. This procedure is designed to help ensure that the will is valid and that the property is properly distributed to the rightful heirs. The probate process, however, can be costly and time consuming, which can leave a burden on loved ones and friends who are left behind to deal with the deceased's estate. This leaves many people struggling to create their estate plans in such a way that they are able to avoid probate all together.
You have probably heard people say that Los Angeles residents should do all they can to avoid having their estates go to probate. This is because the perception is that probate costs a lot (and its expenses must be paid from estate assets). Yet there are times when it is necessary (even prudent) for an estate case to go to probate court. If you happen to be party to an estate that is headed to probate, then you may rightly be questioning how much the process will cost?
Our law office has covered many different topics related to the probate process, such as wrongdoing involving executors and misunderstanding with respect to fiduciary duties. Many more challenges related to probate may arise and some can be especially difficult for entire families to work through. For example, siblings may find themselves in a dispute over the way in which an estate is distributed following the passing of their loved one. In extreme cases, these disputes can lead to permanent estrangement and even threats and violence. As a result, it is critical for those involved in a dispute and those who anticipate a dispute to approach things with care.
If you are a pet lover and you are creating an estate plan, chances are you have wondered what will happen to your furry loved ones if you were to die and how the California laws might affect their care after you are gone. You may have considered bequeathing funds to someone in your will to cover the expenses of caring for your pet. While it is a good idea to designate a person that you trust for this job, if that person passes or is unable to provide care for the animal, your pet may be left without the care you had hoped. A will also does not guarantee that the funds will go expressly toward your pet's care or mandate the quality of care that is given. If your pet passes earlier rather than later, the person to whom the funds were given to provide the caretaking duties can still keep the money.
If you are a California resident working on your estate planning, you may be thinking that it would just be easier to add your child onto your financial accounts instead of going through the steps of creating a valid will or trust. After all, you will need to pay for the legal work and when a will goes through probate, it can come with a price tag. So simply adding your beneficiary to your account just makes sense, right? Wrong. You can actually find yourself paying for that shortcut in a multitude of ways down the road.
As an interested party to the estate of a family member or friend in Los Angeles, you may view the prospect of said estate having to go through probate court with a certain degree of trepidation. After all, the assumption is that the probate process is costly and can eat away a good portion of an estate's assets. Many have come to us here at The Law Office of Matthew C. Yu with the same concerns. Our first question to them is what is the value of the estate? The answer to that question (in your case) will determine whether it even needs to go through probate at all.