When we think of estate planning and protecting our assets, we generally think of having a will. However, while a will is an extremely important legal document in your estate plan, it is not the only one that should be considered. A comprehensive estate plan generally includes various legal documents. Here are the estate planning tools every California resident should consider.
Estate Planning Tools All California Residents Should Use
It probably goes without saying, but although it’s not the only important document in one’s estate plan, it’s still extremely beneficial. A will provides others with a method for distributing your assets to your wishes when you pass away. Those who pass away intestate (without having a will) have their assets pass through California’s intestacy rules, which is generally not preferable.
Although a will can be very helpful, they can often prove inconvenient in that they must pass through California’s probate process before they can be executed. Probate can end up being very costly, both in time and money. It is because of this that many choose to add in a living trust.
2. Living Trust
The point of a living trust is to hold specific assets for someone else until certain pre-determined requirements or factors have been met. A living trust requires the designation of a trustee who is responsible to look out for the interest of the trust’s creator and its beneficiaries when the creator either becomes incapacitated or dies.
The reason why many prefer living trusts is that these documents are not required to pass through the prate process. Often living trusts are used in conjunction with wills so that any assets will go through a will if they have not been transferred to the living trust. Living trusts, also known as ‘revocable trusts,’ may be changed or canceled at any time so long as you are still alive.
3. General Durable Power of Attorney
A general durable power of attorney gives someone the right to make financial and property decisions on your behalf should you become too sick or incapacitated to do so for yourself. It is because of this that you should be sure the individual chosen is someone who you can trust.
4. Advance Health Care Directive
Similar to a general durable power of attorney, an advance health care directive can give someone the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated or unable to do so. But in this case, the decisions are based upon your health care treatment. Luckily, you can still provide this individual with the instructions for the actions that you desire to be taken.
Biddle Law Can Help with the Creation of a Comprehensive Estate Plan
No matter how old – or young – you may be, it is extremely important that you ensure the existence of a comprehensive estate plan. In order to achieve this, you should consult with a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney who can answer any questions you may have and walk you through the process. At Biddle Law, we care about your future together and want to assist in protecting it. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!