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Who Should Be Notified Of Their Role In An Estate Plan?


Anyone who has something that they are going to have to do in the event of a person’s incapacity or death should be notified of their role in that person’s estate plan. That would be the person who is serving as the power of attorney or agent to make healthcare decisions, or certainly the trustee or the executor.

Should My Estate Plan Provide For The Death, Divorce, Bankruptcy Or Disability of A Child, Or Anything Like That?

We try to have contingencies in an estate plan for all beneficiaries, whether they are children or not. We always have a contingent distribution so that if a beneficiary has predeceased you, we would know where you would want that gift to go. The same thing is true for naming a trustee; we always want to have at least one or two people as the successor in case the first person cannot serve.

Does An Estate Plan Provide For Mediation Or Arbitration If A Dispute Arises Among The Heirs?

We usually want to have some sort of clause for how a dispute would be resolved. Mediation and arbitration are efficient, both in terms of time and money. The issues that we face in estate, will and trust contests are not terribly complex, and can usually be satisfactorily resolved in that manner.

Would You Recommend That A Client Discuss Their Estate Plan With Their Spouse Or Children Or Others?

I don’t think it’s a bad idea for a client to discuss their estate plan with their family or other people in their life. Some situations are different, but it’s generally better that the children and any other close family members know that they are establishing an estate plan. The most important thing to let them know is where the documents will be kept. They don’t necessarily have to know what the documents say, but they should know where they will be located. That way, the documents can be easily accessed by the right people in the event that the person becomes incapacitated or dies.

Will A Business Succession Plan Be A Separate Estate Plan Or Will It Be A Part Of The Same Estate Plan?

A business succession plan may be a separate estate plan, but it will coordinate with the personal estate plan. Most of the time, the business succession plan is separate. This is because it does not generally come into play only on the death of the principal; it will usually come into play on some other event, like the retirement or disability of that person. So, we have that as a separate plan, but it is just as important as the estate plan if there is a closely held business in the family.

How Is An Estate Plan Or A Will Made Actually Official Or Legal?

In California, a will has to be one of two things: completely in the handwriting of and signed by the person making the will (who we call the testator), or witnessed by two other people who witnessed the testator signing it and at the same time acknowledging that it was his or her will. For a trust, that document should be notarized. This is not an absolute necessity- it could be witnessed as well- but it’s far better if it’s notarized. Our office takes care of the execution of all of the documents to ensure that they are all done properly. This way, the method of execution is never a reason for a contest.

Can I Change My Estate Plan Or My Will At Any Time?

Generally speaking, an estate plan or will can be changed at any time. There are some very limited circumstances in which a portion of an estate plan will be made irrevocable. This would be done most commonly in the case of a blended family, where spouses came into the marriage with their own children, and they want to set up a plan so that when the first one dies, that deceased spouse’s children’s inheritance is protected. A portion of that estate plan would become irrevocable so that the surviving spouse could not disinherit the children of the deceased spouse. Other than that, a person can change their estate plan at any time by simply following the same formalities that were used when the estate plan was established.

For more information on Notifying People Of Estate Planning Roles, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (626) 385-6303 today.

Newell & Havens Attorney At Law

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