California residents can plan wisely for the future when they choose a power of attorney to assist with financial management. Making the decision with mental faculties intact is important, a fact that seems to favor selecting a POA before getting too old. Yet, including another person in financial decisions can be risky. What can individuals do to minimize the risk?
If you are the personal representative of a California probate estate and coming to the point where you can close it and distribute its assets, you must prepare and file a final accounting before the Probate Court can actually close the estate. Per the Superior Court of Orange County, California, your final accounting must outline all the financial transactions in which the estate has been involved. The only exception is if all of the estate’s distributees sign written waivers to the accounting or written acknowledgments that they have received their respective estate shares during one or more preliminary distributions.
It is often said that death can bring out the best or the worst in people. While you want to believe that your loved ones will honor your wishes after your death, you can never know exactly how they will react while grieving. A family member might want a special item to remember you by, or a relative who feels like he or she did not get enough in the will could possibly take matters into his or her own hands. Like most Californians, you want to preserve family harmony both while you are still alive and after you are gone.
A loved one has passed, and the funeral service has given time and place for memorializing. Out-of-town family members have returned home, and the executor has begun making plans to settle the decedent's estate. California residents who have established a will might believe that is enough for all the relatives to distribute belongings without conflict following their passing. However, loved ones can - and sometimes do - contest wills.
If you are a California resident who believes that estate planning should be a major part of your life, you may have heard about living wills and wondered what they are and how they differ from regular wills. Actually, as FindLaw explains, a living will is not a will at all. Whereas a regular will allows you to state who you want to receive your assets and various pieces of your property upon your death, a living will allows you to state your medical treatment preferences if you are terminally ill or suffer an injury or illness that leaves you in a permanent vegetative state.
Going through probate court in California is often a complicated process involving the intents and requirements of multiple parties, such as the state, trustees and the decedent. As such, many families make every effort to simplify and accelerate these inheritance procedures before entering into court, or to avoid probate entirely. Estate planning might prove an integral part of such an attempt— a process that often involves the establishment of trusts.