The arrival of spring in California often signals a time to “clean house” for many families. But it’s not just a good time to clean and organize your home and plant new flower beds and shrubbery in your yard; it can also be a good time to tackle your “financial house,” including taking a good look at what type of estate plan – if any – you have in place.
Unfortunately, many people don’t have an estate plan ready in the event something happens to them. A Sacramento estate planning attorney understands that many people don’t like to discuss or even think about their death, but this can cause serious issues in their families when they do die because there are no legal instructions about how their estate should be distributed. Instead of being able to lean and comfort each other, the decedent’s family is often torn apart with fighting and legal battles over who gets what.
How to Avoid Inheritance Disputes
There are steps you can take to help minimize the chances that your survivors will fight over the assets you leave behind. It is important you set up an estate plan before an illness or old age inhibits your ability to do so. The best time to draft and implement these documents – and guarantee that they cannot be questioned based on whether or not you were of sound mind and body – is when you are healthy.
Keep in mind that you can change your estate plans anytime you wish. Your estate planning attorney will likely also advise you to update your plans should you have a major life event (such as the birth of a child or divorce), as well as when the government enacts any type of estate or tax law changes.
Once you do have an estate plan in place, it is important for you to have a discussion about what your wishes are with your family. You want to make sure that each member clearly understands how you want your estate to be divided. This can be helpful in warding off any potential issues after you die if all members understand why you made the decisions you did.
Estate Planning Spring Cleaning
Even if you do have an estate plan in place, it is a good idea to periodically look it over to make sure that what you have in place is still valid. There are many life events that occur that can drastically change what you want to happen to your assets to what you have in your current estate plan. Some of the more common types of life events that can necessitate a change in your estate plan include:
- Death of a spouse
- Death of an heir
- Birth of a child
- Moved to another state
- Changes in financial circumstances
- Changes in tax laws
- A child is no longer a minor
- A change of fiduciary (i.e. guardian, trustee, executor) is needed
Contact Our Firm Today
If you would like to speak with a dedicated Sacramento estate planning attorney about dusting off and reevaluating your estate plan, contact Yee Law Group today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.