You should feel really proud of yourself if you have done your estate plan. You made it easier for your family to care for you if you become incapacitated, and you have avoided the probate process at your death by creating a living trust. Did you finish your estate planning homework? Did you actually fund your trust?
You finally committed to making an estate plan, and now you are in possession of a big binder or envelope full of your original documents. Now, the question is where to put it, or if you created your documents many years ago, do you know where they are? Here are some tips to keep these documents organized, handy, and safe.
A holographic will is a handwritten will (no typing on the computer) that is valid in California if it meets certain requirements identified at California Probate Code §§6110-6111. Although it seems cost-effective to be able to simply jot down your final wishes next to that crossword puzzle you were trying to finish, there are potentially some major pitfalls.
When you are healthy and independent, it can be hard to imagine a life where you cannot make decisions for yourself. Change, however, can happen suddenly and it is important that you empower your family to speak for you if you have an accident or a serious illness. Talking with your loved ones now and proactively planning for the future is the best way to ensure that your desires will be respected.
Recent emergencies from hurricanes in the South to the devastating Wine Country fires in California are reminders that it is important to plan for natural disasters. This is especially important for older adults, their families, and their communities. Each person has unique abilities and needs, and it is important to understand how an emergency might affect your individual needs.
As a caregiver, you take on the emotional struggles of day-to-day life, but you must also deal with the practical, everyday tasks of making sure everything is up and running. If your loved one cannot provide for his or her own personal needs (e.g., dressing, bathing, clothing, medication management) or manage his own financial resources (e.g., pay bills, manage a checkbook), then as a caregiver, you become responsible for all of these tasks.
When a loved one passes away, it is an emotional and stressful time. Unfortunately, while you are still grieving, you do have to face the practicalities of trying to figure out how to settle your family member’s affairs. The hope is that you know exactly where that estate planning binder is; however, if your loved one never did any estate planning, you may be facing probate.
If you become unable to manage your assets due to health reasons, you can voluntarily resign or be removed as trustee by a doctor’s note. Who can you lean on to help you?
There have been significant to the laws in the past 5 years. In 2012, congress enacted the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the “Act”). The most relevant changes in the law that impact the average living trust include tax exemption changes and portability. Learn more…