ESTATE PLANNING – NOT JUST WILLS AND TRUSTS : PART VI

E. Guardianship and Care of Your Minor Children

Another benefit of estate planning is the ability to choose WHO will care for your minor children, should you pass away before they become adults. In California, the name for a person or people designated to care for your children is “guardian” (which is sometimes confused with “conservator,” which deals with the care of adults).

A guardian’s duties are expansive.

ESTATE PLANNING – NOT JUST WILLS AND TRUSTS : PART II

A. Mental Incapacity and Your Finances (cont’d)
Incapacity planning can also include preparation of a durable power of attorney. Powers of attorney are discussed at length in our blog, here. Basically, a durable power of attorney allows another person, your “agent,” to make decisions for you, the “principal;” the scope of power that your agent has is set forth in the document that you sign granting them the power of attorney.

ESTATE PLANNING – NOT JUST WILLS AND TRUSTS : Part I

Estate planning is often associated only with very wealthy families and trust funds. While transferring wealth from one generation to the next is generally the brunt of estate planning, it’s far from the only purpose.

Planning for our own financial care once we lose the ability to handle our own finances, and for our health care decisions is an important part of estate planning.

BABY BOOMERS AND THE LOOMING ISSUE OF INCAPACITY

As of 2010, 13.1% of the population was over 65 (A Profile Of Older Americans: 2011).  Baby Boomers will have all passed the age of 65 by 2030, which by some estimates means that one-fifth or 20% of the population will be over 65.  Couple that with the fact that life expectancies are at an all-time high, America is looking at a new demographic make-up with a disproportionate (compared to historical numbers) amount of elderly citizens.

HEATH LEDGER AND THE MISSING HEIR – PRETERMITTED HEIRS

Heath Ledger died, unmarried, at the age of 28.  At the time, he had a two-year old daughter, Matilda Rose, and a will.  The will, drafted before Matilda’s birth, did not mention her.  So she gets nothing, right? Not necessarily. While the heirs of Ledger’s estate (his sister and parents) ultimately came to a private settlement regarding Matilda’s share of his estimated $20 million estate, depending on what state (or country) laws would have been applied, Matilda may actually have been entitled to his entire estate.