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January 2015 Archives

The benefits of a revocable living trust

Some California residents who are planning on how their assets will be distributed when they die may want to consider the use of a revocable living trust. This type of vehicle may make it possible for assets to pass to beneficiaries while avoiding probate. It does not lower the estate tax burden, but probate can be expensive and time-consuming, so a revocable living trust might be a solution. However, before proceeding, those who are interested should find out whether avoiding probate is necessary based on the size and nature of their estate.

Strategies to avoid probate in California

If real estate is the only asset that an individual owns at the time of his or her death, it may be possible to avoid probate. One such strategy is to title the real estate in the name of a living trust. This allows the owner of the property to name a beneficiary who will receive the property after the current owner passes away.

Estate planning for different stages of life

Residents of California should keep in mind that estate planning is a lifelong endeavor, and an individual should periodically return to and update their estate plan. A young, single individual should have documents that give someone the ability to make health care and financial decisions for them if they are incapacitated. They will need a durable power of attorney appointing someone to manage finances, a health care proxy naming someone to make medical decisions, a HIPAA proxy appointing someone to have access to medical records and a living will that discusses life-sustaining and end-of-life care.

Avoiding common pitfalls when setting up a trust

California residents may be unaware about the most common mistakes people make when planning an estate trust. While it may be difficult to think about, not taking precautions when arranging a trust can cause major dilemmas in the future. For example, many individuals make the mistake of believing that a trust exists after signing a document; however, a trust does not stand until it carries assets. Creating a trust is only the first step in the process.

Examining the estate planning steps a newlywed couple should take

For California newlyweds, estate planning may be the furthest thing from their minds. However, some simple steps may help to protect assets and ensure that a couple's estate is treated in the right way should unexpected circumstances arise.

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