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San Jose Elder Law Blog

Typical duties of an estate executor

The exact duties that are given to the estate executor may vary a bit, depending on precisely how the will is written and what desires the deceased had for the estate. However, there are some standard duties that are typically involved, and it's important to have a good grasp of how this process works if you're tasked with that responsibility.

For instance, the executor is the one who takes the assets from the estate and gives them to those who are named in the will. Until this is done, the executor is in control of these assets and keeps them safe.

Know all that you should put into your estate plan

Your estate plan is vitally important. No one like to thinks about dying, however, your family will certainly thank you for taking the time to get your estate plan done.

When you work on your estate plan, think carefully about the points you include in it. Many people think only about physical assets, but forget about some other important points.

3 things to know about organ donation

It's National Donate Life Month, which is a great time to consider something you might not have talked about when discussion your other estate plans. If you've already worked with an estate planning professional to create a will and determine how you want your assets handled after you are gone, you're ahead of many Americans. But, have you considered what your body might be able to accomplish even after you are gone? For many people, organ donation is a way to continue giving back to others. Here are three things you should know.

First, organ donation doesn't mean sacrificing your own medical treatment. Despite what you might see in movies or hear on social media, doctors and nurses don't go searching hospitals for potential organ donations so they can hurry sick people into the grave. No matter what your status is as an organ donor, ethical medical professionals treat you first without other considerations.

What should an executor do about a willed home?

One of the most valuable assets many people own is their home. Not only is it likely one of the more valuable assets with regard to money, it's also something that has sentimental value to many. Heirs might have grown up in the home or remember fond occasions spent there, so it's not surprising that the family house is often at the heart of probate disputes. For an executor, there are numerous ways to misstep when dealing with a family home that has been willed to multiple people. Here are some tips for keeping ahead of the conflict.

First, never take action without a court order on estate assets, especially when you're dealing with real estate. That means not selling the home or making agreements about the property until those arrangements are supported by court documentation. One mistake executors can make is being too quick to sell or otherwise dispose of a home, thinking that they can split the money between the heirs. That money might get mixed with other assets from the estate, though, or heirs might have another solution in mind.

Millennials: Estate planning is good financial management

Despite what many people might believe, millennials as a whole are typically fairly responsible with finances. Many of them grew up in years of recession and came of age as their parents struggled with student loan debt related to schooling that occurred years -- if not decades -- before. Seeing such impact first hand during formative years, millennials often think of money and success in very different ways than the generations before them.

While not all of a generation acts the same way, many millennials are careful with debt or carefully manage their finances. They also see success differently and don't tend to need some of the things that other generations did to feel successful. While these traits are great, millennials can fall into the trap of believing that being good with money now is enough to secure the future.

What are some types of elder abuse?

If you have an elderly loved one who lives alone, with others or in a facility, it's natural to be worried about their well-being. This is especially true if your family member or friend isn't able to communicate issues clearly due to physical or mental incapacity. In such situations, it's a good idea to know about common times of elder abuse and the symptoms of each.

Elder abuse typically falls into one of four categories: physical, emotional, sexual and financial. An older relative who is being abused in one way might also be experiencing other types of abuse, but that isn't always the case.

Sports-team owner settles lawsuit with heirs

Tom Benson, who owns several sports teams including the NFL's Saints, has reportedly agreed to a settlement in a case that involved the Saints, the Pelicans and some of Benson's heirs. The lawsuit has been in the news on and off for a few years, and it's brought up a number of interesting estate questions.

The details of the settlement are confidential, but whatever agreement the parties have come to appears to have stopped a trial that was scheduled to begin in early February. The lawsuit stemmed originally from Benson's move to swap out assets in a trust that was created for his ex-wife and her children. Benson wanted to remove ownership stakes for the Saints and Pelicans from the trust.

All adults should think about their estate plans right away

Most children anxiously await the day they will be considered an adult. These children might not realize the responsibilities that come with the title. Even some young adults don't realize this. One important responsibility that is often overlooked is the need to create an estate plan. Once you are an adult, you should take the bull by the horns and get this done.

We know that thinking of your death isn't something that most people, especially young adults, want to think about. Taking the time to create an estate plan and dealing with the uncomfortable thoughts for a little while can have considerable benefits.

Some self-care tips from the experts

In past blog posts, we've covered tips for planning for your own long-term care or for providing care or assistance to your loved ones. Often in all the planning and providing, we forget a critical step for own health: self-care. Here are some self-care tips from experts that can help you increase energy and take care of your own body and mind so you can live longer or take better care of someone else.

One doctor reports that he starts his days at a slower pace on purpose whenever possible. That means for the first few minutes or even an hour of the day, you slow your walking pace, keep your devices put away or on vibrate and take time to enjoy your surroundings. Taking time in the morning to really experience your world and find something to be thankful for or joyful in can set the mood for the entire day -- even if it's only that first piping hot cup of coffee or the leftover glory of the sunrise.

Setting lifetime goals now so you can live later

No matter where you are in life -- or what age you might be -- chances are you still have some goals. Whether those goals are to save up for retirement or to simply make it to your next Christmas, understanding how to break lifetime goals into smaller goals is a good step to achieving what you want to do. This is true for financial, social, home, career and educational goals, and it's also true when you're care planning.

Care planning means setting goals and setting aside resources so that you can be cared for in later years. If you're young, this might seem like a far-off concern that isn't relevant to your hear-and-now goals. In reality, care planning goals should be part of retirement planning goals, and experts will tell you it's never too late to engage in retirement planning. Here's a quick run down on tips for planning for long-term care.

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