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What should you exclude from your will?

As you begin to think about getting your end-of-life affairs in order, you may focus a great deal on how you should distribute your assets. One of the most common ways individuals choose to carry out this task relates to creating a will. You can include a variety of information in this document, and it may help you cover many areas of your estate-planning needs.

While you may wish to lump all of your information in a will, it may work more in your favor and the favor of your surviving family to leave some information out of this document. The reason for this lack of inclusion may relate to assets already having distribution designations or to needing the information before the reading of the will.

What court will hear your bankruptcy case?

Going through bankruptcy can be a complex legal process. You may have felt uncertain about whether or not to actually proceed with this type of debt relief as opinions on the process can vary. However, bankruptcy can offer you a multitude of benefits when it comes to addressing your outstanding debt. Therefore, you may wish to better understand certain aspects of this option.

Though you must go through the proper legal channels to complete bankruptcy, you may find it interesting to know that bankruptcy filings can only take place in federal court. This means that state courts have no ability to hear bankruptcy cases due to the specialized nature of this type of process.

Who can act as administrator of a loved one's estate?

Surviving family members have many responsibilities after a loved one dies. If your loved one created a thorough estate plan, you and other family may have an easier time addressing the settling of the estate. However, many people die intestate, or without a will, and in such a case, you may have to take more steps to effectively address estate needs.

Because an estate needs someone in charge, an executor, personal representative or administrator needs appointing. You may wish to note that these different terms essentially describe the same position. In the event that a person died without appointing his or her own executor, someone would need to step in to handle that role.

Business overwhelmed by debt? Chapter 11 is an option for you.

You know that bankruptcy is an option for individual consumers who are overwhelmed by debt and unable to manage payments owed to creditors, but you may not realize that bankruptcy is also an option for business entities that have overwhelming debt as well. Chapter 11 bankruptcy may offer relief and debt reorganization for businesses in difficult financial circumstances.

If you own and operate a business, you know how expensive it can be to run day-to-day operations and keep up with your financial obligations. Over time, these expenses can become overwhelming, eventually resulting in a significant amount of debt. By filing for Chapter 11, you may find relief and a solution to some of your California business' complex money concerns.

Don't make the mistake of assuming who your heirs might be

If you're the parent of one or more young adult children, you've probably wondered at how quickly time seems to pass. In fact, you might recall the moments you first brought your infants home from the hospital, their first days of school, when they learned to ride bikes, etc., as though these milestones occurred only yesterday. In reality, you know that two or more decades have passed, and you're concerned about your loved ones' futures, along with whether you have taken appropriate steps to provide for them when you're gone.

Many California residents execute thorough estate plans to protect their assets and retain as much control as possible over their own finances and health care. Others shy away from the topic, which often results in stressful situations for their family members when the time comes to administer their estates. One thing is sure: Your estate will be administered. It's merely a matter of who makes the decisions, you or a probate court.

Want your family to avoid probate? Explore these 3 planning tools

Because you love your family, you undoubtedly want to make your eventual passing as easy on them as possible. Estate planning can offer many options for doing just that as you can plan the handling of your estate rather than leaving it up to your family to decide while they go through the grieving process. Therefore, no matter your age, you may wish to get a jump-start on your planning.

Taking advantage of creating such a plan can even allow you to help your family avoid probate. This avenue appeals to many individuals as it can protect assets and funds from diminishing due to court costs and other expenses associated with the process. You may utilize a variety of planning tools to assist in this endeavor.

Drowning in debt? You don't have to lose the farm.

Countless individuals have experienced periods of significant financial struggle throughout the course of their lives. Perhaps unexpected events have caused you to fall behind, and you are unable to maintain a certain quality of life needed for you and your family. You might have the ability to pay a certain amount of your debt, but the entirety of it might have you in a financial stranglehold.

If you are considering available options, but wish to avoid liquidating certain assets, you could consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy can help you retain possession of assets, such as your house, while giving you a certain amount of time in which to repay required debts.

Is creating an estate plan really that necessary?

Estate planning is an important step to take to ensure that your health care and final property wishes are met. Creating an estate plan in California is also helpful for making sure that surviving family members receive the provisions they need when you are gone. Unfortunately, it is often put off to focus on seemingly more pressing needs, although this can be risky since disability or death can strike at any time.

Bankruptcy liquidation does not mean you are left with nothing

Before taking any sort of legal action, it is good to question how taking such a step will truly affect you in the long run. For instance, if you are facing serious economic difficulties - whether you reside in California or elsewhere - a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if approved, can clear out most, if not all, of your debts, giving you a clean financial slate. This leaves some to wonder if this means they will be starting over with nothing.

While the fiscal relief offered in a bankruptcy filing may be desirable, the thought of losing all of one's property can give people reason to pause before going through with it. Yes, in a Chapter 7 filing, the liquidation of certain assets is a requirement, but there are some items that are exempt from the process.

Give your parents their voice for healthcare wishes

It's the last thing you want to talk about. No one looks forward to the conversation with their parents about incapacity and health care. It is an emotional and stressful topic. Unfortunately if you do not address it the end result will be tenfold more stressful. Most importantly, without this conversation, your parents will not be able to communicate their wishes upon incapacity.

As people age it becomes more likely that they could suffer incapacity due to illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia or coma. If your parents become injured or sick without incapacity documents then they will be unable to explain their desires for treatment. They will not be able to explain their requests for care or what to do in case of resuscitation. The decisions will fall on the shoulders of physicians, court-appointed guardians, lawyers and judges. These people will likely be unaware of your parents' true wishes.

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Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, P.C.
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Anaheim, CA 92807

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