San Jose Estate Planning Law Blog
By Annie Baker, realtor
About three months ago a client, Tami, called me in a panic. I was the agent for her first home purchase a few years ago and we'd become friendly --getting together for a glass of wine every few months.
It must have been a while since I'd checked in, because I was surprised to hear the gigantic news that her mom had been diagnosed with cancer. Note to self: Check in more often!
Guardianship refers to naming a surrogate parent for your minor children in the event that you and the other parent are unable to care for them.
Normally, you nominate the guardian(s) in your Will. The court has final approval, but state laws generally require the court to give your nomination the highest regard. If you do not make a provision for guardianship in your Will, however, the court will name a guardian for you based on the circumstances (for example, are there any volunteers?).
Although Estate Planning is not only for the uber-rich, the errors made by the wealthy individuals in the public eye can provide a lesson for us all. As we examine a recent case, we are reminded why attorneys recommend that we keep our Trust and Will updated as our assets and family dynamics change and we may wish to employ more appropriate strategies.
Of course we've all heard that we are more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the lottery. But did you know:
- It is three times more likely for a person driving ten miles to buy a Lotto ticket to be killed in a car accident than to win the jackpot?
- A popular place to hide lottery tickets is in the dictionary under L for luck or W for winner?
As a mobile notary, I have spent the past decade jumping on the road after receiving a frantic request from a family member because Mom has taken a spill, Dad has to go in for heart surgery, or young Joey has had an accident and will be laid up in the hospital for an indefinite period of time. Suddenly, the call for a Power of Attorney to enable loved ones to handle the patient's financial affairs has become urgent. The necessity of a Health Care Directive so that family members can manage and supervise the patient's medical care is critical. Or, worst of all, the patient may be approaching end-of-life and estate planning documents are now vital for financial and tax reasons, as well as to preserve the patient's intent if he or she were to pass away.
Recently we've heard that NBA star Lamar Odom's health issues have resulted in hospitalization and have temporarily incapacitated him. Due to the fact that his divorce from reality TV star Khloe Kardashian has not been finalized, and he apparently did not update his estate plan, it seems that his estranged wife remains the decision-maker when it comes to his health care, and perhaps even his finances.
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