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wills and trusts Archives

When might you want to update your will?

Taking time to stop and think about your plans for the end of your life isn't likely something that you want to do while you're busy living your peak years, but it's important to do it. This will ensure that things end up getting handled exactly as you'd like them to be if anything were to happen to you. While you may think that drafting a will is a one-time process, it's not. It's a document that you'll want to revisit regularly throughout your life.

The required elements of a will

Each state in the country has its own set of estate planning rules for what constitutes a valid and legal will. For this reason, readers of this post are encouraged to fully understand the estate planning laws in their state. However, this post will offer an overview of what California residents must do in order to have valid wills.

Ways that an estate plan can be challenged

A number of legal documents can make up an estate plan. However, the mere existence of these documents is not enough to constitute a satisfactory and efficient plan. In fact, any errors in the creation of these documents can render an entire estate plan invalid, thereby negating one's wishes for his or her estate. This is why many individuals turn to legal professionals for assistance. However, when issues with an estate plan arise, individuals need to understand the law and how it applies to their set of circumstances.

Wills, trusts and no-contest clauses

Many Californians who establish wills and trusts simply want their assets to be distributed in accordance with their wishes while avoiding conflict. This is especially true when loved ones are written out of an estate plan or assets are distributed in a lopsided fashion. In these instances, an estate planning document may be legally challenged. Sometimes beneficiaries, or those who thought they should have been a beneficiary, claim that a will or trust was created under coercion, duress, or undue influence. In other cases, a will is challenged on other grounds, such as failing to adhere to statutory requirements.

Estate plans should clearly address asset titles

Effective estate planning requires a significant amount of attention to detail. Even some of the most well thought out estate plans can fall on their face when seemingly minor things are missed. This is why it is often critically important to discuss estate planning with a legal professional who will know how to avoid common pitfalls and ensure that asset distribution is in accordance with a testator's wishes.

Estate planning important even for those without children

Estate planning is often viewed as a process that is undertaken by those who want to pass wealth to their family members. So, this begs the question what one does when he or she doesn't have an immediate family. Should such an individual forego estate planning altogether? The answer is no, and here's why.

Reasons to create a charitable remainder trust

Whether giving time or money, most people take joy in engaging in charitable endeavors. Of course, with life's stress getting in the way, a lot of individuals find it challenging to give back as much as they would like. Fortunately, there is a way for these individuals to further identified charitable organizations while benefiting themselves and their heirs.

Reasons to modify a will

A will can be a critical part of an estate plan. It can help delineate how assets will be distributed upon an individual's passing, and, when clearly written, it can prevent disputes from arising. However, a will is only effective if it accurately reflects an individual's wishes at the time he or she passes. This means that the mere creation of a will is not enough. Instead, those who create a will should revisit the document to ensure that it clearly reflects their wishes in the midst of life changes.

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