Planning for the future includes making considerations for loved ones and causes close to your heart should you be incapacitated or pass away. While it is often difficult to think about this aspect of the future, doing so can protect your loved ones during a vulnerable time. Furthermore, for many people with closely held religious or other beliefs, it is important to express these beliefs and how certain issues should be handled if you are unable to make decisions on your own behalf.
Working with estate planning lawyers to develop an estate plan can help you protect the people and causes that you hold dear. Careful estate planning can also protect your assets from unnecessary taxation so that more flows to the next generation or other loved ones. The estate planning attorneys of the NewPoint Law Group can assist with developing an estate plan customized to your needs and goals. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation, please call our Roseville law office at 1-800-358-0305.
California Community Property Considerations for Estate Planning
If you are or have ever been married in California, there is a decent chance that you have heard of the concept of community property. Community property is a type of property system that is generally thought to distribute property more equitably in a partnership. However, the community property system can produce some unexpected outcomes.
Under the community property system, individuals should understand that most property acquired during a marriage is held jointly by both spouses. However, property that was held prior to the marriage is typically considered separate property. Consequences stemming from these community property rules can arise during estate planning considerations when a long-running closely held or family business is part of an estate plan. It is also important to note that married individuals in California are generally free to modify community property rights by mutual written agreement.
What happens if a Person Passes Away in California without a Will?
If a person passes away without recording their wishes in a will or making other estate planning arrangements involving a trust, their estate’s poverty will be transferred according to state intestacy rules. Intestacy – meaning having passed away without a will or other declaration – can mean that their property will not be distributed according to their wishes.
If one dies without a will, the first question is whether they were married. If so, the first step is to assess whether they held separate property, community property, or both. While the partner will always receive the community property, state law provides the spouse with a reduced share of the separate property when there are one or more surviving children.
When an unmarried individual dies without a will, the property will first be distributed among any surviving children. While this is generally a preferable scenario for many, the lack of particular guidance often leads to infighting among loved ones over both valuable and sentimental items. Working with an attorney can help a Californian understand how estate planning can protect their goals and family harmony during a vulnerable time.
A Will and Trust May Be Part of a Strategic Approach to Estate Planning
There are no two people with exactly the same goals or plans for the future. Our estate planning lawyers recognize this fact and are happy to listen to you so they can first understand the goals that are important to you. Working from this point, we can assess which estate planning tools are most likely to accomplish your goals in an efficient and effective manner.
Some estate plans may solely consist of a will and an advanced medical directive (living will). A living will sets forth your wishes should you face certain incapacitating medical events. These estate plans may seem reasonably straightforward compared to certain multi-faceted plans, but there is still great deal of consideration regarding the language utilized and legal enforceability of all provisions. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, both simplified and traditional probate processes are available in California.
Other estates may also or exclusively utilize trusts to accomplish estate planning goals. There are numerous types of trusts tailored to accomplish a client’s goals. In California, a living trust is one of the more popular estate planning tools. Many people create living trusts to transfer property to avoid probate and its costs.
Other estate planning tools which can be used to accomplish probate-free transfers of property including community property with right of survivorship, property held in joint tenancy, and accounts with P.O.D. designations.
Work with Roseville Estate Planning Lawyers
Estate planning is a process that requires a careful analysis of goals, followed by a sound application of one or more estate planning tools. Working with attorneys who can strategically handle an array of issues and concerns can provide peace of mind today and in the future. To discuss drafting or updating an estate plan with lawyers in Roseville, California, please call us at 1-800-358-0305 for a free and confidential consultation.