When a loved one passes away, you may be tasked with the responsibility of executing their estate. In some circumstances, this may mean that you will need to go through probate to ensure that the assets are distributed according to your loved one's final wishes.
As Woodland Hills residents begin the process of estate planning, one of the first issues that's often brought up is who will act in their stead should they become incapacitated. This may often prompt some to assign a family member or friend with power of attorney. Yet handing over the right to make vital decisions on one's behalf is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Whomever one chooses to have power of attorney is given great authority over his or her affairs. This could lead some to question exactly how far this authority goes.
California members of the Baby Boomer generation have traditionally been more concerned with maximizing income and planning for retirement than they have been with estate planning. However, as the boomers enter their sixth decade, it becomes more important to have a plan. This may help to protect their worldly possessions for the next generation and save them from certain difficulties as the details of the estate are worked out.
California residents might be able to learn something about estate planning by observing what has happened in that regard to certain celebrities. Although the average person will leave behind fewer assets than a movie star, there are still many valuable lessons that can be learned from the way that celebrities planned or failed to plan their estates.
When actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died suddenly on Feb. 2 at age 46, he left behind his life partner Marianne and their three children. His net worth was estimated at $35 million and, in 2004, around the time their first child was born, he executed a will leaving everything to Marianne.
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.