Wait, Wait, I Can’t Die — I Don’t Have A Will Yet! (Part Two)

(This is the second installment in a two-part series discussing the use of simple wills.) If you have ultimately decided that you want to have a will, your next step is to make an appointment with an estate planning attorney to help you design an estate plan that is suitable for your needs and circumstances. But, before you reach for the phone to make that call, a little planning of your own will make the meeting more efficient (and probably less costly). A Little More Conversation Having a frank discussion with your spouse about your overall estate planning objectives is a good idea. Spouses needn’t be in agreement on everything because each spouse can make different provisions in his or her separate will. However, having some basic understanding and agreement on the major concepts will make the job easier for all concerned. Some fundamental questions should be considered before meeting


Wait, Wait, I Can’t Die — I Don’t Have A Will Yet! (Part One)

This is the first of a two-part series on the use of wills. Have you awakened during the night and worried about the fact that you don’t have a will yet? If so, you are not alone. A study conducted a few years ago found that 55% of all adult Americans do not have a will. Apparently, misery still loves company. Do I Really Need A Will? Why do you even need to have a will? Contrary to what many people believe — that, if you don’t have a will, your property will automatically be transferred (“escheat”) at your death to the State (what sounds like it would probably be a good idea right now to help balance California’s upside down budget) — in most cases, your property will simply be transferred to your family members. But, it may not be the family members that you want to benefit from


Two Heads Are Not Always Better Than One

In my estate planning practice, I have frequently had clients who wanted to designate one of their children to serve as their fiduciary, but were afraid that they would hurt the feelings of the other child or children who weren’t nominated. For example, in the instance of a living trust, the clients would want to name one child as successor trustee, but were afraid that, in doing so, they would create the appearance of favoring that one child and thought that that might create dissension among their children after their deaths. Often, such clients will ask to nominate several or all of their children as co-trustees. Almost invariably, I discourage them from doing that. While I also don’t wish to see any distrust or dissension among siblings after the parents are gone, there are problems that creating co-trustees or other co-fiduciaries can create. Inconvenience Often, when dealing with a bank,



This blog contains legal information of a general nature which is intended for educational, research, and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should it be, used as a substitute for professional legal advice. Each legal case is unique and a lawyer should be consulted for advice specific to your particular case.