Beginning an estate plan is often easier said than done. Though you and many other California residents understand the importance of having an estate plan in place, you may feel uneasy about thinking about your demise or feel uncertain about how to begin getting such affairs in order. As a result, you may put off planning longer than is wise.
If you have already delayed in creating your estate plan, you may want to keep in mind that getting started sooner rather than later could prevent confusion and hardship for your family later on. It may help you to consider some of the benefits of estate planning if you need an extra push to get started.
Why create a plan?
Your estate plan could benefit you and your surviving loved ones in many ways. Some benefits that you may want to take advantage of include the following:
- Naming a guardian for your children: If you have minor children, you undoubtedly want to account for their care during your planning efforts. You can name a desired guardian for your kids in your will to ensure that guardianship is not left completely up to chance.
- Avoiding probate: Many people value their privacy and do not want their personal information available to the public even after their demise. Fortunately, you can utilize your estate plan to avoid probate and prevent having your information become part of the public record.
- Accounting for pet care: If you have a pet, you may worry that it will end up in a shelter after your death because a loved one cannot afford to take care of it. However, you could set up a pet trust that holds funds specifically for the future care of your pet.
- Distributing your assets: You likely do not want your belongings to go to just anyone after your death, and you can use your estate planning documents to specifically indicate who gets what.
Of course, your estate plan can have many other uses as well, such as appointing someone to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated or setting up future contributions to charitable organizations. Because there are numerous planning tools, the possibilities of how you can use your estate plan are essentially endless. If you would like to gain more information on how to put your plan to use in a way that suits your needs and wishes, you may want to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.