Estate planning is an important step you can take to make sure your property distribution and health care wishes are honored and your loved ones receive what is intended for them. Experience has taught me estate planning is something frequently overlooked or delayed in favor of more immediate concerns. An estate plan can avoid a number of problems that sometimes arise when someone dies.
If you don’t make a plan, California law will decide what happens to your estate. Frequently, it can go to one or more persons who you would not wish to receive anything. In other cases, your estate may go to someone in a lump sum who is unable to handle their finances. With a plan, you can determine how your property is distributed and when.
California law provides an individual is an adult at age 18. While some are responsible at that age, most people do not have the experience or training to handle large sums of money at age 18. You can have a plan to provide for education without giving them everything at once. Then, after a few years, you can have the funds released to them at a time you feel is appropriate. With a living trust (sometimes called a revocable trust) the distribution of your estate can be in the manner you want and on the timetable you prefer.
It is possible a bequest could cause a beneficiary to lose social security or other public benefits. A bequest of even a relatively nominal sum of a few thousand dollars could be enough to disqualify them from benefits until they spend the sum. Then they would have to go through the application process again to regain the public benefits. A properly structured plan can hold the bequest for them in order to benefit from the bequest without losing eligibility for public benefits they already receive.
Every family’s situation is different and the ways to deal with them are frequently only limited by imagination. A little bit of your time now can result in great benefits for your heirs. The loss of a loved one is incredibly stressful as it is. Proper planning can potentially reduce stress in a very difficult time for your family.
The information set forth above is intended as a general summary of the most common situations incurred. There are many other circumstances which can create other situations providing other requirements and/or remedies, not all of which are addressed herein. Because of space limitations it is impossible to cover every contingency. You should consult a knowledgeable attorney for specific information related to your case.
915 Highland Pointe Dr. Ste. 250
Roseville, CA 95678
333 University Dr., Ste. 200
Sacramento, CA 95825
Elk Grove office:
9245 Laguna Springs Dr., Ste. 200
Elk Grove, CA 95758
William J. Sweeney
Attorney at Law
Telephone: (916) 786-2011