In an April 23 article for The Huffington Post, Ann Brenoff, a senior writer at the agency, detailed the story of her friend Jim Flanagan, a native of New Jersey who she says is indicative of one of the more common legal problems that all Americans run into, improper estate planning.
According to Brenoff, Flanagan's plan is to live to be 100 years old, spending every cent he earned during his life in the process. And while this fits with his life philosophy, Brenoff says that, due to the unpredictability of life, Flanagan could be setting up his family for a long, drawn out battle over his estate should his plan not come to fruition.
For example, Brenoff says in her article that many of the Americans who adopt this carefree philosophy toward the treatment of their estate end up creating disputes. To avoid these, Brenoff advises these Americans to adopt a will, a legal document which deals with who gets an individual's assets should an accident or untimely death befall this individual.
However, since these types of financial documents can be complex, she says the help of an estate planning lawyer can be beneficial. With the help of this trusted individual, those who want to ensure that their family is able to focus on their grief following their death can ensure their affairs are in order, and observe another best practice – updating this document regularly.
But, while many Americans know they need a will, they often don't take the first step toward creating this document. To start, California residents – whether they live in Sacramento, Beverly Hills or split their time between both areas – can rely on an attorney referral service to pair them with experienced California lawyers who have been vetted for experience.