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Ventura County Estate Planning Law Blog

Paying bills too quickly: A common probate mistake

As the executor of a will, it goes without saying that you will want to make all the right decisions in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this can lead to a situation in which you get ahead of yourself.

It's a common mistake to pay bills too quickly. While you don't want to let unpaid bills linger, it's also important that you never get ahead of yourself.

How to preserve your health care wishes

When it comes to estate planning, many people only think about what will happen to their assets upon their death. While this is important, there are other things you need to think about.

An example of this is your health care wishes. Even you are unable to make your own health care decisions, you still want to make sure that your wishes are followed. Here are some of the many ways you can do this:

  • Living will. This is an important part of any estate plan, as it gives a loved one the ability to make key health care decisions on your behalf.
  • Physician order for life sustaining treatment. If you are facing a serious illness, this document can help establish your wants and needs in regards to your current treatment.
  • HIPAA waiver. Without this, your family, such as your spouse, will not have permission to access your medical records or communicate with your medical team in the event that you are unable to do so.

What are the biggest challenges facing executors?

If you find yourself the executor of a will or trust, you know that you have been staffed with a big responsibility.

While there are many steps you need to take to push the process forward, you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself. Unfortunately, you could be held liable for any mistake that you make. This is why you need to be careful about everything you do.

What mistakes do people make when creating a trust?

From an estate planning perspective, creating a trust may be the best decision you can make. As you begin to learn more about this option, it's important to focus on what you should and should not be doing.

Here are some of the many mistakes that people continually make when considering or creating a trust:

  • Assuming that a will is better than a trust. This may be true for some, but you shouldn't make this determination until you learn more about the details of both.
  • Neglecting to update your trust. Just the same as a will, you may need to make changes to your trust as the years go by. You should expect this to be the case.
  • Ignoring other aspects of your estate plan. Although you may be happy with what a trust can do for you, don't overlook other aspects of your estate plan, such as a power of attorney, that are just as important.
  • Choosing the wrong person to administer your trust. This is no simple task, so you need to be careful about who you choose to take on this big responsibility.

Can a debt collector contact you after a loved one dies?

When a loved one passes away, it goes without saying that it will take quite some time to get your life back on track. As you grieve, you may be responsible for tackling a variety of tasks.

Don't be surprised if a debt collector contacts you in an attempt to discuss a debt your loved one was carrying.

Understanding a conservatorship

A conservatorship may sound like a good thing, but it can actually lead to an expensive and time-consuming court proceeding.

In short, a conservatorship is the legal authority for one person to make decisions regarding another's living situation, finances and health care.

What’s the best way to care for a pet after your death?

As you create an estate plan, you'll spend a lot of time thinking about what will happen to your loved ones after you are gone. For many people, this also means their pets.

There are many ways to ensure that your pets are cared for after your death, with these three options among the most common:

What are the top mistakes made by executors?

Serving as an estate executor is easier said than done. This may appear simple and straightforward on the surface, but things can soon become complicated if you don't know what you are doing.

Here are some of the top mistakes made by executors:

What does trust administration entail?

A growing number of people are creating trusts, as opposed to relying on simple wills. While there are many benefits of moving in this direction, you need to answer this question: What will happen with your trust once you pass on?

This is when the trust administration process begins. If you are named a trustee, you have no time to waste. You need to know what this means, what is expected of you, and how to make the right decisions at every turn of the road.

It’s good to know what happens in probate

As you create an estate plan, you may want to learn more about the probate process. If nothing else, you should learn what happens and where you fit in.

Although every situation is unique, probating an estate typically includes the following:

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