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Practical answers, plus things you can do to make your estate plan even better.
This Q & A offers practical information that you can use right away. Knowledge is power! Answers to these frequently asked questions give newcomers a running start at estate planning. For those with an estate plan in place, you learn ways to enhance the plan you have, take even more of the burden off loved ones, preserve family relationships and gain the inside track and make your estate plan the best it can be. Yes, even at 2am there are things you can do to get started!
QUESTION: After someone dies what is the greatest area of contention?
Please remember, each case is unique and your best course of action is to seek the advice of counsel. In the meantime, this can get you started.
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ANSWER: Many people think that the biggest point of contention when someone has passed, is HOW the estate is to be divided. There is a presumption that the BIG picture matters most. You might be surprised to learn that, as with many things in life, it is the little things that often matter most.
A great way to make sure that those little things, including tangible personal property, furniture and décor. do not come between family and friends down the road, is to think through this now. In the process, write a Letter of Instruction to make sure things are crystal clear. Want to know how to get started on your own? Click to read additional details.
QUESTION: I have named my girls to act as co-Trustees even though they don't get along because I do not want one to feel left out if I name the other.
ANSWER: While it may make sense to do this, in my professional experience this actually is a path to greater conflict. Ultimately, I suspect your greatest wish is that they find a way to get along – even if it is years down the road. I too would want that for you and if it is not possible to choose them in succession, one after the other, then naming a private professional fiduciary is a great option. In September’s blog post there is detail on that, including a way to find a professional fiduciary in your area. Click Here for More!
QUESTION: Diane, we have an estate plan but it was done several years ago when we lived in Seattle and our children were little. My partner and I need our documents reviewed to see if they are still in order or if things need changing now that we live in CA. We plan to stay here even after the kids are grown. Can you do that for us?
ANSWER: Yes, and smart thinking! It’s been several years, your kids are growing up and your new California residency – it is definitely the right time! I am happy to take a look at your documents. In fact, I offer a free, half-hour consultation for new clients. It’s a good way for you to get some of your initial questions answered and see if working with me would be a good fit for the two of you.
QUESTION: What exactly is a Letter of Instruction? Is there a form somewhere?
ANSWER: My sample Letter of instruction simply lists the types of items that a trustee or Executor would like to know. Think of it as a way of getting all of those small bits of information (that are located solely in your head and nowhere else) to those who might need them. I have a List of 16 Things You Can Do on Your Own - Get Started on a Letter of Instruction.Simply click the link and scroll to the end of the post.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please remember, in order for this to be a legally binding document, it is best to work with an attorney that specializes in Trusts and Estates. The things we know will benefit you, your estate, and your family down the road. In the meantime, this will give you a great jump start!
TIP: If it seems like too much to do on your own, buddy up with a friend and hold each other accountable to getting it done. If you want to get it all done now, then use the free consultation certificate so I can help you to get started!
Get Answers About Estate Planning
Frankly, it’s all about you and your estate holding onto as much of your hard-earned money as you can!
And often people do not realize just how involved a proper estate plan can be. We aim to simplify the process!
At Brown Law Offices we excel at education and information.
- Newcomers can get answers one-on-one during a Free 30 Minute Legal Consultation.
- Your group can get questions answered by having me in for a short talk followed by a Q & A session. Pick from a variety of estate planning topics. It makes great use of your time and everyone learns from the questions the group puts forth. Learn about trusts, wills, titling of real property, health care decisions, or other topics of relevance to YOUR group!
Diane M. Brown
Trust & Estate Attorney
Keep those questions coming!
Have a question you would like to see answered in a future blog post? Let us know!
This newsletter contains general information and is not meant to apply to a specific situation. Please seek advice of counsel before proceeding as each case is unique. Diane M. Brown, Esq. - CA Bar # 104251