When an individual becomes unable to make necessary life decisions on his or her own, that person likely needs someone in a position to make those decisions for him or her. Of course, you would likely want to have someone you trust and who acts responsibly to have that power. However, unless you plan accordingly, a judge could appoint a conservator to act on your behalf.
California baseball fans may have heard that the will of Chicago Cubs baseball great Ernie Banks is the subject of a tumultuous fight in Illinois. Banks, affectionately known as Mr. Cub, died of a heart condition on Jan. 23 at the age of 83.
The vast majority of wills in California are presented to the probate court and their instructions are carried out without any problems. However, on rare occasions the validity of a will may be contested. Most successful challenges to a will are based on either the assertion that the person who made the will was not competent to do so, or that the testator was under the undue influence of someone else so that the will does not reflect the individual's true wishes.
Being asked to act as the executor of an estate is an honor for many people, as it signals that the individual asking them considers them trustworthy and competent enough to see to the winding down of their estate. However, acting as the executor of an estate is a big responsibility, and those who are considering an offer to do so should think it through carefully.
According to estate planning attorneys across the country, more and more parents are opting to make their heirs wait until they are older before they are able to collect their inheritances. Whereas it used to be common practice to make children wait for the liquidation and distribution of trust assets until they were 18, 21, or perhaps 25, it is becoming more common to make them wait 10 or more additional years, until age 30 or 35.
Most people like to feel important and receive some kind of recognition of their importance from family, at some level. Within families, there are various ways this recognition cane come: a request to be a best man or maid/matron of honor; a guardian; a godparent; a caregiver for an aging parent; and so on. Within the estate planning world, this recognition can come with being asked to serve as an executor of an estate or as the trustee of a trust.