Effective and thorough estate planning is not just for elderly people. In fact, estate planning is something that everyone should consider. Having a good estate plan in place can help your loved ones save a significant amount of time and money when they need to settle and distribute your estate. A California estate planning attorney will be able to answer all of your questions about wills, estates, and trusts, and can help you develop an effective estate plan that addresses all of your legal issues and concerns.
Question #1 – Is it Necessary for Me to Update my Will?
One of the very first questions that you should ask your California estate planning attorney is whether or not you need to update your will. In many instances, people’s relationship statuses and personal circumstances change significantly over the course of their lifetimes. Having an updated will in place will help to ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes – especially in the event you were to pass away unexpectedly.
Question #2 – Do my Retirement Plan Beneficiaries and Life Insurance Policies Align with my Estate Plan?
When a person opens up a retirement plan or takes out a life insurance policy, he or she will be asked to designate a beneficiary. The beneficiary is the individual who receives the proceeds of the plan or policy if the employee/insured individual passes away. However, IRAs, annuities, and life insurance policies do not ordinarily pass through a person’s will. A good California estate planning attorney will ensure that these assets are dealt with as part of your comprehensive estate plan.
Question #3 – Is it Necessary for me to Have a Durable Power of Attorney?
A durable power of attorney is an important part of any comprehensive estate plan. The person who takes out a durable power of attorney names an individual who will make financial decisions for him or her in the event the person becomes incapacitated or is otherwise unable to make those decisions alone. Financial decisions that might become part of a durable POA include selling various assets (such as a car or house) or paying bills. A durable power of attorney ends when a person passes away.
Question #4 – What are the Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust?
A revocable living trust is one way of avoiding the lengthy and complicated probate process. This type of estate plan is set up while you are still alive, and the trustee is responsible for managing all of your assets. In some instances, individuals name themselves as trustees of their own revocable living trust, but at other times, it might be better to name a professional advisor or a trusted friend or relative to oversee the trust.
Having an effective and comprehensive estate plan in place can offer you peace of mind and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your intentions. A knowledgeable California estate planning attorney can explore all of your options with you and help you draft the necessary documents for your estate plan.