Given extensive changes coming with the new federal tax law (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017), it is a good idea for all taxpayers, especially those in higher income brackets, to sit down with an estate planning attorney to discuss whether their estate plans should be changed.
A common misconception is that estate planning is only about what happens to your property after your death. The financial or durable power of attorney is an aspect of estate planning that can help manage your affairs while you are still very much alive. Giving a trusted person your power of attorney creates the legal authority for that person to step in and manage your money and related affairs should you become incapacitated.
A will is typically considered invalid if the person writing the will (the testator) signed, modified or revoked the will because of the undue influence of another person. In this context, "undue influence" means that the perpetrator puts coercive, manipulative pressure on the victim to force him or her to execute or change a will in favor of the wrongdoer.
Northern California has enjoyed a major economic boom in recent decades. The development of the technology industry has significantly increased wealth for many individuals in the 48 counties that make up the region. Along with it has come some increase in awareness about strategies for smoothly transferring that wealth for the benefit of others.
The executor of a will is one of the most important elements to anyone's estate plan. Naming an executor does not require you to name a lawyer or a financial expert to fill the role -- but it does require the person who is your estate's executor to uphold their duties as the executor with honesty and integrity. As such, you should think long and hard about who you want to name as your estate's executor.
Perhaps the loss of a loved one years ago prompted you to make your own estate plan. Maybe you watched another family struggle and bicker after a parent died without leaving a will, and you vowed that would never happen to your family.