Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
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February 2013 Archives

Four essential estate planning documents

Many California residents have likely failed to proactively address estate planning matters. The reasons for failing to draft a will or set up a trust are numerous. Some individuals simply don't want to contemplate end of life matters, others may feel they are too young to have a will or that they don't have enough assets to warrant drafting a will. The most common reason individuals avoid tackling estate planning, however, is that they simply don't know where to begin.

Tips to avoid the probate process

When an individual dies, the terms of their will help dictate what happens to named personal belongings and assets. Probate is the process by which state law helps to manage, settle and distribute assets according to the terms laid out in a will. While probate is often a necessary and even helpful process, in some cases it can also be a lengthy one. There are, however, several ways an individual can pass along wealth and avoid the probate process.

Estate planning for a digital life

Today, the majority of California residents likely use online banking and have a Facebook account. In fact a growing number of Americans are choosing to use the Internet to conduct both financial and personal business. This shift in how Americans interact with and use technology has raised many questions ranging from privacy to ethics. Often overlooked, however, are questions related to estate planning and how an individual's digital accounts and online persona are treated upon their death.

Estate planning for blended families

Today's definition of family comes in many configurations. Second and third marriages, multiple children and property accumulated prior to and during a marriage make for complex estate planning issues. When a blended family presents, it's important that parents take certain steps with regard to estate planning matters to ensure for the benefit of both a surviving spouse and children.