Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
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Issues to avoid when creating a comprehensive estate plan

Nobody is perfect. Humans make mistakes; they're a part of learning. One area, however, you might want to be pretty meticulous about is in the creation of your estate plan. By leaving a plan that is comprehensive and that distinctly spells out your wishes, you will be giving your family an invaluable gift. Fashioning such an estate plan will go a long way toward making sure no feelings are hurt and that no disagreements ensue between your loved ones.

There are some potential issues regarding your estate plan that could cause you and your heirs some angst without proper planning. Here are some areas you might want to think about when working on your estate plan. The more specific you can be in your planning, the better things should turn out for your beneficiaries.

Choosing the proper fiduciary

When choosing a fiduciary, trustee or executor you may have a compulsion to pick a family member. That might not always be the wisest decision. After you pass on, your fiduciary is in charge of your assets, so someone who has experience in the areas of real estate or who has some business acumen might be the right person to name as your trustee. Choosing one of your children might not only put a strain on other family relationships, but it could potentially be problematic for your estate.

Don't forget your personal property

Some of your personal things may mean the most to your loved ones. Speaking with your family members regarding your belongings can be a step in the right direction. Maybe your daughter would like your writing desk or your son would like your old fishing rod. You might consider asking your family who would like what of your personal items. You may also want to consider creating a will, which will result in a written, legally binding document that stipulates who gets what.

Take account of your digital accounts

Digital assets could include online purchases, such as music or movies that you have on a digital device. Making note of them in your estate plan will help your executor properly distribute them to the rightfully intended heirs.

Title your assets correctly

Certain types of assets transfer in different ways, so making sure they all have proper titles is essential. For instance, your 401(k) plan is treated differently upon your passing than your insurance policy. As your life evolves, keeping information regarding your assets up-to-date is important in your overall estate plan. Reviewing your beneficiaries on these types of assets will help keep the information current and in line with the goals of your estate plan.

Listen to family concerns

If you have family members who don't always see eye to eye, you may wish to discuss your plans with them so their concerns are out in the open. Talking to your children and grandchildren about your estate may help to smooth over any hurt feelings before they can escalate. Communication can be a key component to positive estate planning.

Speaking with an attorney about your estate plan may help you plan more appropriately to ensure your last wishes are met. Estate planning laws in California can be rather intricate, and an experienced attorney could help clarify any complex areas that may be a bit difficult for anyone with limited legal knowledge to understand.

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