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Orange County Estate Planning Blog

Not all estates must go through probate

The probate process can be a long and drawn out affair for many estates. Many people don't realize that it is possible to avoid the probate process by setting up the estate plan properly. This isn't something that is going to happen automatically, so you have to be ready to put in a little work to get this done.

Many people try to avoid probate because it can be costly. Plus, it can mean that family members are left trying to figure out how to keep finances moving forward without having the benefits of the estate.

Beneficiary designations: a key part of estate planning

Say the term “estate planning,” and most people will think of either a will or a trust. While these are obviously important aspects of the process, so much more is actually involved in estate planning.

For example, a comprehensive estate plan should include a health care directive. These documents set forth a person’s wishes for treatment (like preferred medical providers or facilities, resuscitation effort limitations, and artificial respiration/ventilation preferences) and name a decision-maker in the event that the person is unable to act on his or her own. Powers of attorney are also of vital import. These allow another person(s) to access financial accounts, pay bills, and disburse medical insurance premiums.

The sole remaining member of Steely Dan sues for use of its name

The sole surviving member of the band Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, filed a lawsuit against the estate of Walter Becker on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Fagen's long time bandmate, Becker, died on Sept. 3.

In the latest filing, Fagen alleges that he and Becker continued making music with one another up until Becker's death. He notes that he only decided to file the lawsuit in hopes of continuing to make music under the band's name.

5 considerations while picking a guardian

You want to pick a guardian for your child as you do your estate planning. You know how important it is. Where do you start?

This doesn't have to be a complex process, but it's important to take your time considering just how critical it is. Here are five things to think about:

  1. Do you want to pick multiple people? Perhaps you're worried that something could happen to you and the guardian at the same time, and you want a backup plan. Or perhaps you have three kids, and you don't want to put that entire responsibility on one family.
  2. Is the person financially secure? Children are expensive. If someone is just scraping by, even if they love the child, it may not be the right choice.
  3. Do you have the same values? You raised your child a certain way. You want to make sure that continues, generally speaking, even if you pass away.
  4. Does the person have a questionable background? You have to make the choice that is right for you, but experts warn against picking someone who has a criminal record, for instance, or a person with known alcohol problems.
  5. Have you talked to them? Do not pick someone without saying anything in advance. Sit down together for a meal and talk it over. Get them to agree before you get everything in writing. You both need to be on the same page about everything.

Keeping your estate plan simple, but with detailed instructions

The estate planning process is something that many people put off because they are worried that it is going to be too complicated. This isn't always the case. It is true that some estate plans are more complex than others, but we can help you to find out what you can do to simplify things for your loved ones.

As you work on your estate plan, you must think carefully about the goals you have for when you are gone. These goals help you determine what you need to do. You might need to consider multiple solutions to meet your needs.

Did you know there is more than one type of trust?

When it comes time to tackle the estate planning process, many people assume that the creation of a will is the only option they have. While this is something to consider, you don't want to stop there. You may find that some type of trust is exactly what you need in order to reach all your estate planning goals.

The most important thing you can do is learn more about the many types of trust. Once you have this knowledge guiding you, it's much easier to make informed and confident decisions as to what you should do next.

Demystifying trusts in an estate plan

Setting up your estate plan is something that can take a lot of thought, but it is worth it when you realize that you are making plans that can set your family members up after you are gone. Some people think that this is a complicated process, but it doesn't have to be. We are here to help take the uncertainty out of it.

One thing that you will have to determine is whether you need a trust or not. If you do need one, you will have to determine what type of trust is appropriate for your situation and can meet your needs. There are several that you might have to consider. Each one has benefits and drawbacks.

Know when you can challenge a will and prepare for the effects

Finding out that your loved one's will isn't what you expected it to be is a big shock. There are some instances in which you can challenge the will, but you need to think carefully before you take this action.

A will challenge can only be launched by someone who is either named in the will or someone who would have a right to the estate based on the state's laws of intestacy. The exception to this occurs when you are explicitly written out of the will.

What is a revocable living trust?

If you have ever thought about writing a will or an estate plan, you may have come to realize that many documents are required to protect different elements of your future. Some work together and others work separately to secure your needs. One popular tool in estate planning is a revocable living trust. Here we will state the purpose of a revocable living trust, why you might need one and how you can maintain it as part of your estate plan.

Defining its use

What should you include in a will?

Choosing to create a will is a very important decision. It’s one that requires thoughtful planning and careful execution. Acknowledging how you want your affairs handled in the event of your passing is not a pleasant task. But doing so keeps you in control of your own healthcare, ensures your loved ones are properly cared for and offers many other benefits.

What exactly is a will?

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