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Making mistakes with your estate plan could cost you

Estate planning is a smart step for people of all income levels. It does not matter what you earn or the size of your estate, planning for the future, protecting your assets and planning for the protection of your loved ones is a smart effort. However, some people make mistakes in their estate plan, and the result is complications and problems in the future.

Often, people are not aware of the mistakes and missteps they are making with their estate plans. Errors and mistakes can result in the invalidation of part or all of your will, or it could lead to complications with your beneficiaries. If you have not put a plan in place or you have not reviewed your plan in a while, it can be helpful to learn about common missteps so you can avoid them.

Is your career on the line if you file for bankruptcy?

When debt starts to overwhelm you, you may have some difficult choices to make. You may already have made some changes in your spending by cutting back on items like cable, gym memberships and eating out. Maybe you have even sold your second vehicle or put some valuables for sale online. Perhaps you took a second or third job.

If these steps still leave you drowning in debt, you are likely considering filing for relief through bankruptcy. This is a decision to weigh carefully, especially if you have concerns about how bankruptcy will affect your job. Your first step is to obtain as much reliable information as you can about the process and its ramifications.

Take the first step of estate planning by identifying your goals

Most likely, when people are having a fun time at a party or other gathering, estate planning does not come up as a topic of conversation. Many California residents may think of this topic as morbid, and as a result, they put off talking about end-of-life planning. Of course, if they put off the actual planning as well, they could end up putting themselves and their loved ones in difficult positions.

If you have not yet started your estate plan, you may have one reason or another for not doing so. You may think that you do not need a plan because you do not have many assets, or you may think that you have years left to think about what you should include in your plan. However, it may be more realistic to understand that a serious incident could happen at any time that could leave your family in need of instruction for handling your affairs.

Addressing your tax debt through bankruptcy

Tax season is here, and you may soon receive documents from your employer that will help you file your taxes. However, you may already dread this season because you have a substantial amount of tax debt that has affected you and your finances for years. For whatever reason, you did not have the ability to pay your tax liabilities, and you now face a serious financial problem.

Luckily, you do not have to feel out of options when it comes to addressing your outstanding tax debt. In fact, you could find the help you need through a common debt-relief option: bankruptcy. Of course, before jumping into this process, you may want to take the time to understand the stipulations involved in relation to tax debt.

Documents commonly used in estate plans

Although you might count yourself among those in California who would rather discuss just about anything other than their own mortality, you may also be among those who understand that it's important to talk about such things, especially if you are getting ready to execute an estate plan.

If you fail to discuss certain issues with your spouse, adult children or others to whom you might designate specific appointments in your plan, it could lead to confusion or discord among your family when the time comes to administer your estate. It's also a good idea to research the various types of documents available to include in your estate plan, and to speak to someone well versed in estate planning and probate laws for help to determine which documents best serve your needs.

Are you thinking of disinheriting your child?

Not every parent/child relationship survives into adulthood. For one reason or another, a parent and a child can become estranged or otherwise don't get along. In some cases, parents disinherit their children in an attempt at "tough love" due to an addiction, bad money management skills or disappointment with some aspect of a child's life.

If this happens in your life, you may consider disinheriting your child. This may seem like a logical conclusion to your relationship issues, but before you do it, you may want to consider it carefully.

I am the executor of a loved one's estate, what do I need to do?

Anyone who finds out that he or she is the designated executor of a loved one's estate may feel overwhelmed at the calling, especially if that person has never done anything like it before. Closing out and administering an estate can be a complicated process, and you may not know exactly what you need to do. That is okay. In California, this is not something you have to figure out on your own; you can seek legal assistance if you desire.

So, what are your duties as an executor? What happens if you make mistakes? How long should it take to close out the estate? All great questions with fairly uncomplicated answers.

Putting off bankruptcy may be a mistake

You may have gone back and forth for some time over the best way to handle your outstanding debt. You may have decided on one option only to change your mind later when you thought another route would better suit your circumstances. Unfortunately, this indecisiveness may have only allowed your debt to grow due to accumulated interest and fees.

One option you could find yourself considering more and more lately is bankruptcy. Of course, because bankruptcy often has a bad reputation and many people believe the negative stigma that surrounds this debt relief option, you may think that you should avoid bankruptcy at all costs. However, that idea may not suit your needs.

No spouse, no kids, no estate plan?

It seems that every time a celebrity dies without leaving a will, there is an outcry from fans and critics. Many use the event as a cautionary tale while probate for the rich and famous drags into years and descends into feuds. Nevertheless, nearly 60 percent of adults in the United States have not made a plan for their estates.

You may be among those in California with no estate plan. However, you may think your lack of planning is justified. After all, you have no children and perhaps are not even married. What is the point of making an estate plan if you have no one to inherit your assets?

3 issues that could hold up the probate process

Estates commonly go through probate after a person's passing. Before your loved one's death, he or she may have discussed the idea of you acting as executor of the estate. You may at first have felt honored that your family member trusted you to take on such a role, but you likely also understood that it came with a great deal of responsibility. Still, you decided to accept the position.

Now that your loved one has passed, you have started the probate process. While you may hope that the process will go smoothly, various aspects of the estate could hold up the proceedings. You could even face issues that lead to litigation, which can cause considerable delays to the process.

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Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, P.C.
505 S. Villa Real Drive
Anaheim, CA 92807

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