When we commit ourselves to cases in estate litigation, it is certainly true that attorneys would like to do justice for their clients, or at the very least, the very best that they can do with the facts and the law that they have available.
Given what we know about inheritance disputes, this story out of Pakistan is somewhat predictable and indeed, things like it occur from time to time on a regular basis. A man in Pakistan burned his brother's house, with his brother and family in it, because of an inheritance dispute.
I have a lot of immigrant Estate Planning clients. Many of them have property overseas, a variety of countries ranging from South America to South Asia. In many cases, people wonder about the properties overseas. Maybe it is better for the asset to be "hidden." While the folly of hiding assets is something I don't want to address here, it is necessary to assume that you cannot pay too much attention to property a person wants to keep secret, it is left to the care of others: Consider what occurs to property if someone is not paying attention.
When doing Estate Planning in California, parents will typically include naming guardians for minor children. Guardianship can be a touchy subject for people who have gone through a divorce. Sometimes, a spouse may be ok swallowing joint custody, because it is just too hard, and perhaps immoral, to deny the other parent the right to have a relationship with the child. However perhaps a person does not thing an ex-spouse, or the birth mother or father of the child is somehow too irresponsible and otherwise unworthy of being in the true parental role.
No, a girlfriend is not "entitled" to inheritance if there is no estate plan. This would be true even if there is a "serious, long term" relationship. It is even true if there are children from the relationship. Without marriage, there is simply no family relationship., the girlfriend is a legal stranger.
Bad nor no Estate Planning often leads to some rather serious disputes among family members, especially siblings. We have courts in California that tend to resolve disputes. It is in fact called the civil justice system. However fratricide is known to be nearly as old as humanity itself, and just as old as death itself. A few Empires that did not have succession worked out resorted to fratricide as a matter of course.
Say a person places property in a living trust. A Trust can only exist if there is trust property. This should make sense, since a Trust is relationship concerning property. Property would be a condition precedent. It is also a given that once someone has a living trust, assets that an individual or couple have should be placed in the living trust, so long as it is an asset that can be owned by a living trust (not all assets can be owned that way).
A Trustee is a person who is entrusted with carrying out the instructions of a Trust. An Executor is the person who is supposed to execute a last will and Testament. There are a few differences between the two roles, though often in Estate Plans, the same people, in the same order may often occupy the same offices.
Guardianship for minor children is often the most excruciating part of the Estate Planning process. This is typically done in one of two ways in California. The most common is through a last will and testament. The other way is thorough a separate writing, often known as a nomination of guardianship form.
The Wall Street Journal has an article about "life estates." In estate planning, as a way to easily transfer a huge asset to future generations. A little background: property can be divided up into various interests associated with time; the time can be measured by life. Indeed, in a well known rule for anyone who went to law school is the "rule against perpetuities" which regulates conveyances measured by life in being.