Both the great and small will pass away eventually. To help you ensure peace of mind and to make things easier for your loved ones, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced Calabasas estate planning attorney. He or she can explain any legal document necessary for estate planning, whether you are interested in protecting your privacy, ensuring that a specific family member shall be properly taken care of, or just preparing for the future.

A lesson from Hollywood

Eddie Van Halen is the lead guitarist and main songwriter of the rock band Van Halen, which was founded in 1974. Eddie, his brother Alex, and two other friends worked together to become a top rock band of the 70s and 80s. While the band’s massive success was not spared from issues, Eddie’s incredible guitar solos helped him be known as a rock-and-roll legend.

Van Halen himself experienced a lot of ups and downs in his personal life. He married Valerie Bertinelli, his first wife, in 1981. They had a son, named Wolfgang, in 1990, separated in 2002, and eventually divorced in 2006. Van Halen remarried in 2012, this time to Janie Liszewski, his public relations representative.

Van Halen’s vices included chain-smoking and drinking, and he was first diagnosed with throat cancer in 2000. It was reported that he was cancer-free for a few years, but it eventually returned and has spread to his esophagus and throat. He died in October 2020, at the age of sixty-five, with a net worth of approximately $100 million. Some suspect that he left an estate plan, but there is little available information on any relevant estate planning document. This can be tricky, especially given the complexities of his life story.

The importance of estate administration and planning

Not a lot of people can reach superstar status but it is not uncommon for individuals to have experiences with having children, divorce, and remarriage. Estate planning documents should take into account any spousal support or alimony brought about by these events. How you intend to distribute assets of the estate to heirs, for instance, will be significantly influenced by the terms of the divorce and conclusions regarding property ownership. Matters concerning children with a former spouse, and those that come from a succeeding marriage, should likewise be taken into account.

In Van Halen’s family, for instance, it must be noted that his only son, Wolfgang, also worked with his father. Given these and because of the significant estate assets involved, the situation will be very complicated if the right legal documents have not been prepared. Here, any bank account, real property, personal property, or insurance policy of the deceased person shall be subject to the probate code. A reliable Calabasas estate planning attorney can help with these legal issues.

The trouble with dying intestate

When you die without a last will and testament or a trust, the court will refer to all relevant statutes of estate law to make decisions on your behalf, including guardianship of minor children. When distributing the estate to one’s surviving spouse and family members, state law, and not the wishes of the deceased person, will be taken into account. Without specific instructions, the assets of the estate shall be divided following the probate process.

While the estate of the deceased who was able to create a will shall still be brought to court, it is often for formality and is less stressful than the above scenario. After the proceeding with the probate court (and after settling what is owed to creditors at the time of death) assets of the estate shall be distributed to the heir or heirs you named. Last wills and testaments also allow the testator to designate an estate executor or personal representative (who shall be managing, distributing, and administering accounts and property that are not held in a trust).

Seeking legal assistance Calabasas estate planning attorneys

Making a will for transferring estate property (or naming someone who will carry out the wishes of a decedent) follows a strict legal process. Depending on the circumstance, such inheritance could still be open to the public when probated. As such, while having an executor of a will enables one to specify who will inherit what, it is still quite difficult for your beneficiaries to maintain full privacy. This is why some opt for revocable living trusts.

Setting up trust documents involves naming a trustee and specifying instructions on managing and transferring property held in trust. Since it helps in avoiding probate issues, setting up a trust will allow your loved one to maintain their privacy after death. As long as the revocable living trust is properly funded, they can avoid probate procedures and paperwork. Consult with Calabasas estate planning attorneys to know more about these.

If you need an attorney from a law firm specializing in the above, call us. Our Calabasas estate planning attorneys at Moschetti Law Group can help with your estate planning needs and need for legal representation.

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