DO YOU WANT THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TO DECIDE WHO GETS YOUR ASSETS?
We recently survived Y2K and the Mayan Calendar predicting death and destruction. We got lucky as the world did not end as predicted. It appears these predictions of doom were premature.
We all need to follow the motto People Don't Plan to Fail, They Fail to Plan. SO PUT ASIDE SOME TIME DURING THE SLOW SUMMER MONTHS TO PLAN. We all need to get our act together to protect our families. Without proper planning your estate could Escheat (go to) the State of California.
Some of the wealthiest and most famous people ever, died without estate planning. "When I die it will be like a shipwreck. It will be worse than anyone imagines" Pablo Picasso predicted concerning the settlement of his estate ... and he was right. When I have lectured on Estate Planning I usually quote Picasso.
When he died in 1973, his personal affairs were in chaos. He left no will or testament. He had 3 illegitimate children and was estranged from everyone in his family. His biographer, Arianna Huffington, wrote that his life was cluttered because he hated making any decision, however trivial.
In reality Pablo Picasso did have a calculated estate plan... chaos and destruction. It worked to perfection.
It is hard to believe that Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Sonny Bono, US Chief Justice Warren Burger, Heath Ledger and & gold medal winner Flo Jo - Florence Joyner (to name a few) died WITHOUT an estate plan. With their wealth they could have hired the best Attorney in the country.
Proper planning ahead mandates you list the names of your accountant, lawyer, insurance agent, securities broker, and financial planner. You should also note your safety deposit box and note what is in it.
With many people real property (their home) is their biggest asset and we all need to list all of the property we own as well as all our security accounts. We should designate whether the accounts are owned in an individual name or in some other fashion.
If you own a corporation or partnership those documents relating to that entity should be included as well as your savings and checking account information. We should also look at our life insurance and determine who the owner is and who is insured as well as confirming the beneficiary...and whether we have done this correctly?
If you draft a will and make a Specific Bequest of your $500,000 Aston Martin to your son and $500,000 in cash to your daughter then what happens if you sold the car before you pass away. The law considers it gone because it was a Specific Bequest and it is no longer there and the son gets nothing....but your daughter still get her $500,000.
Your personal property of jewelry, your collections and cars should also be listed. Once you do all this where do you keep the Original Estate Planning documents? It should be some place where your family can find it for processing.
These are just a few of the things we need to consider to properly protect your family.........and we all want to do just that.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow at 760-565-0533.
Remember, When you drink don't get behind the wheel and be involved in an auto accident (whether it is your fault or not) or get arrested for a DUI...I don't need the extra business....and you do not want your estate planning to take affect TO SOON.