When you decide to get started with estate planning, the first thing that may come to mind is ensuring your financial assets are distributed according to your wishes upon your passing. However, there is much more to consider when it comes to estate planning. While protecting your financial assets is likely a priority, you should also make plans for the distribution of real estate and personal items, such as firearms.
Estate Planning in California
Before you get started with your estate plans in the state of California, it is a good idea to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to learn more about your options. The attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver can help you choose estate plans that best suit your needs and can work with you to prepare all required documents. We can help you prepare plans that include terms regarding the distribution of all types of assets, including things like real estate and firearms. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with an attorney to get started.
Why Having an Estate Plan is Crucial–Even If You Don’t Think You Have Many Assets
It is extremely important to have estate plans set in place before you pass away so that you can make sure that your wishes are honored regarding the distribution of any assets, even things like real estate and other tangible items. In the state of California, if you pass away without a will or any estate plans at all, your estate will be distributed according to California’s intestate succession rules. This will essentially take away your ability to control the distribution of your assets. For example, if you wanted to donate certain items to charity, or ensure that a close friend receives something substantial from your estate, you would be out of luck if you are married and/or have children because the distribution will follow California law.
Additionally, your estate will then need to go through the process of probate, which may cost your loved ones considerable time and money. Probate litigation can be costly, to begin with, and it adds up very quickly as the litigation goes on. You should also keep in mind that when money and valuable items are at stake, it can cause some people to act out of character and ignite unnecessary family feuds.
Including Specific Items as Assets in Your Estate Plan
While preparing estate plans for your financial accounts and real estate property may be your first priority, your estate plans should not stop there. You will also want to consider how you would like to have other items of value distributed upon your death. Many people have valuable items like jewelry or art that they would like to pass on to family members and other loved ones. Your attorney can help you prepare estate plans that specifically address any of your valuable items so that the terms for the eventual distribution of these items will be clearly set forth in your plans.
How to Address Firearms in Your Estate Plans
If you own firearms, you likely already know that these items can be very dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. For that reason, it is particularly important that you address any firearms you own with your estate plans to make sure that they are handled properly upon your passing. If you own firearms and do not include them in your estate plans, they may end up being seized by the government. Another risk is that if a family member or close friend improperly takes possession of the firearms, they could inadvertently commit a felony.
California has strict gun laws, particularly when firearms are obtained through inheritance. If you own firearms, you can protect your beneficiaries by following the proper procedures under California law regarding the distribution of this asset.
Even if you are just the beneficiary of a firearm, it is wise to speak to a California attorney regarding the receipt of the firearm. Generally, when there is a transfer of ownership of a firearm, it is handled by a Federal Firearm Licensed dealer, where there is a specific procedure to be followed. When the ownership of a firearm is transferred through the method of inheritance, there are exceptions to this rule and other things that must be considered.
For example, even if a firearm is inherited, the law requires the recipient to dispose of any firearm with an altered serial number. There are other rules you must follow when it comes to receiving firearms through an inheritance or a gift, so getting the advice of an attorney before moving forward is important to ensure that you are following the law.