Sacramento Estate Planning Blog

Questions to answer when creating a health care power of attorney

As you age, there's a chance that you may not be able to make health care decisions on your own. The same holds true if you suffer a serious injury or are struck down by an illness.

And for this reason, it's imperative that you plan for the worst, while always hoping for the best. A health care power of attorney allows you to do just that.

Estate planning and your first child

There is nothing more exciting than bringing a child into the world for the first time. While your life is sure to change in many ways, there's nothing you can't handle with proper preparation.

Estate planning may not be the first thing you think about after having a child, but it should be high on your priority list. There are a variety of steps you can take to give yourself peace of mind, while also protecting your child in the event of your passing.

How to change your estate plan after marriage

Tying the knot will change your life in a number of ways, including your estate plan. Now that you have a new spouse, there are changes you can make to ensure that both of you are protected in the future.

Here are a few points of consideration:

  • Name your spouse as your beneficiary: There's a good chance that you want your spouse to receive all your assets upon your death. So, you should immediately name this person as the beneficiary of your will. And the same holds true if you have a living trust.
  • Give your spouse power of attorney: With this, you give your spouse the legal authority to make key decisions regarding health care, finances, your business and other important matters. This is critical in the event that you're incapacitated and unable to manage your own affairs.
  • Review your insurance policies: For example, if you have life insurance you may want to name your spouse as your beneficiary. This ensures that they receive the death benefit upon your passing. Your estate plan won't override the person you name as your beneficiary on your policy, so don't wait to make this change.

What to do if your parents don’t have an estate plan

As your parents age, you'll have a lot of worries running through your mind. For example, it's common to have concerns about their estate plan.

If you come to find that your parents don't have an estate plan, it's important to discuss your concerns with them. When doing so, make it clear that you have their best interest in mind, not yours.

What do attorneys look for to assess testamentary capacity?

Attorneys who aid clients in preparing their wills are required to assess that individual's testamentary capacity to execute such a document. The reason why lawyers are required to do this is because the decisions that you include here carry a lot of weight. If you're not fully aware of the choices that you're making, then you may end up making decisions that aren't aligned with your final wishes.

Your Sacramento attorney will want you to demonstrate that you know about the breadth of property that you own. They'll want to make sure that you understand what the purpose of a will is and what the implications of disposing of certain property may be. They'll expect you to know who your relatives are and what their rights to your estate are if you don't draft a will.

What is a testamentary trust and how is it different from others?

It's not uncommon for a decedent's heirs to question how they're going to keep on going once their loved one dies. Death is especially difficult for minor heirs. They may be prone to burning through what you leave them unless you put something in place to make sure that they utilize their financial resources responsibly. A testamentary trust can ensure that your final wishes are carried out as you'd hoped once you've died.

A testamentary trust is a trust that goes into effect upon the testator's death. It can be set up simply by you drafting your will.

Could you benefit from a living trust?

When it comes to estate planning, you never want to sell yourself short. You should do whatever you can to protect the well-being of you and your family, both now and in the future.

And for this reason, it never hurts to learn more about the benefits of a living trust. Here are some of the many reasons to consider adding this to your estate plan:

  • Avoid probate: The assets that you include in your living trust are not subject to probate upon your death. This allows them to be distributed to your heirs in a more time-efficient manner, and all without the involvement of the court.
  • Privacy protection: Should you have concerns about privacy, a living trust can put them to rest. A living trust is not made public record upon your death, unlike a will. This keeps your affairs private.
  • A big part of your incapacity plan: You can use a living trust as part of your incapacity and long-term care plan. For example, if you become ill and are unable to manage your affairs, your trustee can seamlessly step in. This avoids a situation in which the court has to get involved.

Durable financial power of attorney: Do you need it?

There is no legal requirement to create a durable financial power of attorney but with so many benefits, it's something to strongly consider.

Through a durable financial power of attorney, you give another individual, known as a financial agent, the power to manage your finances in the event of your incapacitation.

Anyone can believe one of these estate planning myths

When it comes to estate planning, there's so much gray area that it's easy to confuse fact and fiction. Unfortunately, if you believe a simple myth to be true, it can harm your ability to create a comprehensive, legally binding estate plan to protect you and your family.

Here are some of the many estate planning myths that could cause you trouble:

  • You're too young for an estate plan: Even young people, such as those who are just entering the working world, need an estate plan. Don't wait until later in life to think about estate planning, as you never know what tomorrow holds.
  • Your family will take care of everything: You hope that this is the case, but there are laws in place that takeover should you pass on without a will or trust. Rather than put your loved ones in a bad spot, create an estate plan to protect them upon your passing.
  • It's only for asset planning: Yes, you create an estate plan to ensure that your assets end up with the right people upon your death. However, it's much more than that. You can use it to name a guardian, appoint a power of attorney agent and plan for incapacity. And that's just the start.

Take steps to prevent a will contest upon your death

When creating a will, it's natural to think about what will happen upon your death. After all, that's a big part of estate planning.

This could lead you to consider the idea that a will contest could come into play. Since you don't want this to happen, here are some steps you can take when creating your estate plan:

  • Proper execution: In other words, don't type out your will, sign it and stick it in your desk drawer. It should be properly executed by a legal professional, while also signed and witnessed by two individuals.
  • Talk to your loved ones: You're under no obligation to do so, but discussing your estate plan with your loved ones will give them a better idea of where your head is at and what will happen upon your death.
  • Don't give off the impression of undue influence: Undue influence is one of the most common reasons for challenging a will. To help protect against this, don't involve any loved ones who are inheriting your assets when creating your estate plan. Also, keep these individuals out of all conversations with your estate planning team, such as your attorney and tax professional.

Contact Our Law Office Today

If you would like to discuss representation or have another question about my firm, please call 916-248-4465 or email my Sacramento, California, office to arrange for a consultation.

Office Location
901 H Street, Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95814-1808

Phone: 916-248-4465
Fax: 916-441-5776
Map & Directions

office numbers