Do you need an estate plan? The answer is yes, despite the popular belief that only individuals with a lot of money or property need to have an estate plan. However, every person can benefit from having an estate plan tailored to their unique circumstances.
Failure to plan for the future can lead to stressful and costly issues for you and your loved ones down the road. Do not make the mistake of not drafting a will and other necessary estate planning documents until it's too late.
Estate planning can seem confusing, but the more you understand about the process the easier it will be to plan for your future. In California, your estate plan will document how you want your assets to be managed, who will manage your estate and when and under what circumstances to distribute your assets to your heirs.
You likely know the importance of having a will, but your estate plan should include several other documents depending on your specific situation. To help you determine what to include in your estate plan, ask yourself the following questions:
- What assets are in my name and what is there value?
- Who should receive my assets and when?
- Who will care for my minor children?
- Who will make financial and/or medical decisions on my behalf?
- Do I have any special requests for my funeral arrangements?
These are some of the initial questions to ask yourself when you start the estate planning process. An attorney can help you understand the legal process of drafting your estate plan and when you may need to revise it.
Common documents to include in your estate plan include a will, trust, power of attorney and an advance health care directive. However, every person's needs are different. An attorney can help you draft an accurate estate plan that includes all the documents you need based on your specific circumstances and goals.