Morris & Morris, A Law Corporation - Estate Planning

Arcadia California Estate Planning And Probate Blog

Why should someone challenge a will?

A will gives the final say on what happens to someone's estate. It splits up money among heirs, instructs them on how to divide physical property and turns over assets to the next generation. Some wills are very simple, essentially just telling their heirs what assets exist and giving them a chance to divide things up as they see fit, while others offer far more detail and really lay out a plan that the heirs must follow.

Generally speaking, this process happens without issue. However, there are cases where people decide to challenge a will. They feel that it should not have the final say and that the family needs a different resolution. Why would someone do this? Below are a few potential reasons:

Estate planning is crucial for single parents

Life as a single parent is difficult. Your children count on you for everything, but you also have to take care of yourself. There are many aspects that you must think about, including what is going to happen to your children if you pass away or become incapacitated. While it isn't pleasant to think about this, it is necessary.

While you are still mentally and physically able, you need to sit down and come up with a solid plan for the kids. This includes every aspect of their life from who will care for them to how their care costs will be covered. The more you plan for this now, the more at peace you might feel knowing that things aren't going to be left up in the air.

Using a no-contest clause to protect your California estate plan

The more assets you have acquired over the course of your life, the stronger your feelings may be about what happens to those assets when you die. If you are like most people, you have probably put significant thought into who should receive which of your assets after your death.

Those decisions aren't always easy. In some cases, you feel compelled to leave one member of your family out of your estate plan or last will. This process, called disinheriting someone, effectively removes someone from your last will and prevents them from inheriting your assets.

Reasons you might disinherit someone

Every now and then, an aging parent has an heir that they want to cut out of their will. This is known as disinheriting that person. In short, it is someone who would otherwise assume they'd get an inheritance, but they will get nothing.

For instance, perhaps you have four children. You have about $900,000 in assets to divide between the four of them. However, you do not want the youngest to get anything, so you simply leave $300,000 to the older three and nothing to the last child.

What does “intestate” mean for California inheritance?

No one understands your family and your family members’ needs better than you do, but if you don’t communicate those needs, the State of California has its own plans.

The term is “intestate succession,” and it applies to any Californian who doesn’t create a will before passing.

What can you do now to care for you loved ones once you’re gone?

As you look to the future, you likely believe you will not truly have to worry about your estate plan for many years to come. However, you probably know it is wise to document your wishes.

There are many mistakes people make in their estate planning. Being aware of some common errors might save your loved ones some trouble in the event of your incapacity or passing.

What calls for the revocation of a trust?

Depending on the type of trust you’ve created it may be simple or difficult to make modifications to it. In fact, in some situations, you may even revoke a trust altogether.

If you find yourself in any of the following circumstance, it probably makes the most sense to get rid of your trust.

When it’s time to update estate plans

Life tends to change quickly, as many Californians know. Living in a state that has both wildfires and floods, we learn to roll with the punches.

Many people don’t realize that as life changes, so too should an estate plan. Too many think it’s something that you create once and then file away. Instead, an estate plan should be a document that reflects your life. Sometimes it calls for updates.

Why you should consider backup documents

Your wills and trusts contain crucial information towards your asset distribution upon death as well as medical preferences in the later years of your life. However, several circumstances can occur where you could either lose it or not know how to access it. While your attorney often holds onto copies of important legal documents, you might want to consider having some backup ones that you want yourself or someone else to access to in case of an emergency.

Some might prefer limiting the amount so that it can be simple to remember and so it will not be easily discovered by others. However, while you do not have to have multiple estate planning documents you can grab anytime, it may be a good idea to have at least a couple available as a backup. Here are a few reasons why:

3 reasons new parents need a will

At the beginning of parenthood, it can feel completely overwhelming. There's a lot to take in and the responsibilities seem endless.

With the chaos and excitement that comes with a new baby, it's easy to ignore something like your estate plan. After all, there are diapers to change and feedings to finish. Unfortunately, life doesn't pause and neither should your estate plan. Here are three reasons new parents need a will:

  • The State Bar of California
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