Though there are some steps California residents can take during their lifetime to avoid probate, many neglect to do so. However, all is not lost-it might be possible for a surviving spouse or domestic partner to file a spousal property petition.
As mentioned previously on this blog, deciding how one's assets will be distributed after their demise is not something many California residents enjoy thinking about. This is one of the main reasons people shy away from engaging in estate planning.
At the end of the day, most California residents believe that a will is a document that outlines where one's property will go in case of their death. Therefore, drafting a will should not be a complicated task-in fact, any person can create one in the comfort of their home if they have access to the Internet and a printer. These days, there are computer programs that generate wills that are straightforward enough for any layperson to understand and complete. Then why shouldn't they be used?
When a California resident creates a will that outlines the guidelines that should be followed to distribute one's assets and estate, there must be someone on the other end who will follow these directions to the letter. This is where an executor or personal representative comes in. He or she is responsible for settling the decedent's estate according to their directions. The person can appoint someone on their own or the court will appoint someone if no one has been appointed. Not only does this individual have to settle all their debts, but they also have to distribute what is left of the estate to the descendants.
When a California resident worries about someone exploiting their financial information, they often envision strangers and take extra precautions to make sure their personal information doesn't leak out to unknown individuals.