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The ABC sitcom Modern Family, aired an episode during their second season called “Someone to Watch Over Lily.” This episode centered around the characters, Mitchell and Cameron, trying to choose who would best be able to take care of their daughter (Lily) should something happen to them and guardianship be needed. The episode displayed the struggle that many of us are familiar with when deciding who we ultimately feel could best care for our children and provide our children with the upbringing we desire.
Comedy Central comedian, Daniel Tosh, recently asked his viewers to tweet what they think he should include in his last will and testament. While he of course put a comedic spin on this, it reminded viewers that you can express the gifts you want made after your death, through an estate plan.
The Descendants, a movie released in 2011, focuses on the challenge of what to do with a vast fortune of land in Kauai that is held in a trust nearing its termination. Many estate planning messages are portrayed through this movie. In particular, that inherited wealth can lead to conflict, there are legal limitations as to how long a trust can last, and joint ownership of land can be problematic. Furthermore, it portrayed the actions a health care agent can take for you – via a living will – if you are in a permanent vegetative state and cannot communicate your wishes.
If any of these messages hit home for you, speak to an attorney so you can discuss how to plan for these types of situations that could actually become a reality for many of us.
Christine Ellingsen is a Northern California native now practicing law as an estate planning attorney in Carmel Valley San Diego at the Barger Law Group, APC. She spent a year in New York working in the business sector before moving to Southern California to attend law school at the University of San Diego. She is happy to have started her law career in San Diego and to now call Encinitas home, where she keeps busy between exploring Coastal North County and training her new puppy.