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What should Californians be doing for National Elder Law Month?

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, a group dedicated to helping people find guidance on issues that affect seniors, has named May National Elder Law Month.

Californians, like all Americans, should be making sure they have a plan for their estate administration in place.

In light of that, it’s a good time to provide a quick review to some of the more overlooked aspects of planning your estate.

Firstly, more often than not, one person in the marriage handles most, if not all, of the financial planning for the family and the other spouse sits on the sidelines. This is not advisable. Make sure both spouses are familiar with where they stand financially and that both have a relationship with the family’s financial adviser. The last thing you want is for your spouse to meet your adviser for the first time while grieving.

In that same vein, both partners should also be familiar with all the details. Basic things like the name and number of any lawyers or accountants who’ve helped create the estate plan are easy to forget, but will be essential for your family in the event of your passing.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, make sure all of your wills and estate administration documents are up-to-date. Life can change quickly and your documents need to reflect that. Don’t make the mistake, as many do, of thinking that a will you made 15 years ago is going to suffice.

There are many things you might want to bequeath that are not covered by a basic will. Speaking with a California attorney who specializes in estate planning can help you work out the complexities of tax responsibilities, the distribution of assets, the naming of an executor and the drafting of powers of attorney.

Source: money.usnews.com, “3 Important Estate Planning Questions,” Scott Holsopple, May 1, 2014

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