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Estate Planning And Business Law In Napa Valley And Beyond

Choosing An Executor Is Crucial In Estate Planning

A solid estate plan includes many details. A major one is having the right executor, or personal representative, whose job it is to fulfill the wishes of the testator -- the person who makes the will. 

It takes special skills to be an executor due to many legal and financial responsibilities. For example, the executor collects assets, pays bills and resolves legal and tax issues. A good executor likely will make the estate settlement a smooth process. A bad one, however, may complicate matters through incompetence, conflicts of interest, inadequate communication skills, or even a lack of appreciation for the great responsibility the role requires.

Do millennials need to think about estate planning?

A lot of people think estate planning matters only when you are old or you are rich. That is not the case. According to a recent Gallup Poll, only 4 in 10 Americans have a will.

The statistics are even more staggering when looking at younger Americans. In 2016, only 14 percent of individuals under 30 had a will, compared to 24 percent in 2005.

Managing sudden wealth: Preparing your heirs to inherit

The Williams Group conducted a 20-year study of high wealth families to review the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next. The study found 70 percent of families lost their wealth by the second generation and 90 percent by the third. Surprisingly, the failure to hold onto the wealth did not occur during the transfer, but rather afterwards when heirs were unable to keep the money.

Avoiding the topic

Avoid Conservatorship With Proper Estate Planning

An opportunity to save money is a huge motivator to make a purchase, and it should also prompt you to action to safeguard your estate. Without legally binding estate plan including incapacity planning, you're leaving your assets open to a long and expensive conservator dispute in the event that you cannot administer your own financial, legal and health decisions.

Here are some principal aspects of incapacity planning in the context of a complete estate plan.

6 tips for transferring your business to the next generation

Owning a small business is an emotional experience. The blood, sweat and tears you put into keeping your company afloat over an entire career create a bond that can make letting go difficult. If you are looking to pass on the business to the next generation, there are added emotions: Is my child ready to run this on their own? Have I properly prepared them for ownership?

Below are six tips you can use to get started and work toward a smooth, successful transfer of ownership.

A brief overview on the duties of a trustee

Being named the trustee of a loved one's estate is an enormous responsibility and an incredible honor. When asked, you were happy to oblige, agreeing to follow their wishes without hesitation. You signed on the dotted line and felt a sense of pride, because you knew they were leaving their estate in capable hands.

Fast forward to now. Your loved one has passed away and suddenly you're feeling extremely grief-stricken and overwhelmed. You might be questioning their decision to name you as trustee or doubting your abilities to get through this in one piece. What once seemed like a well-laid plan now seems impossible. Where do you even begin?

The importance of long-term care as part of your estate plan

Many people, when they hear the term "estate plan," think of a will or a trust designed to pass assets down to your loved ones after you're gone. This is indeed a vital part of what estate planning does, but modern-day estate plans are much more comprehensive than "I leave my record collection to my son and my furniture to my daughter" instructions of the past.

There are key parts of today's comprehensive estate plans that might have not been considered previously. Most people now have plans to not only cover their assets, but also their care while in their later years. For example, health care directives and powers of attorney are now vital for most people as a way to ensure that your wishes are followed with regards to necessary medical treatment, resuscitation/end-of-life care and finances when you are no longer able to make important decisions on your own.

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