Estate planning in California; why should you care?

California residents usually find that utilizing the services of an estate planner is the best way to avoid some of the pitfalls associated with planning for death or the chance of incapacitation.

So, why is estate planning helpful? In short, the process of establishing an estate plan seeks to protect a person's assets should they become incapacitated by accident or illness or for when they die. One of the things that many people fail to recognize is that the estate planning process is active and ongoing. As laws change and the circumstances of a person's life evolve, amendments to an estate plan are typically required. As such, Californians often find themselves playing catch up with estate affairs.

As many of us known, President Obama created a new law last year that involves estate taxes. However, these changes are only through the 2012 tax year. A lot of the changes involve increases in the amount an individual can gift to beneficiaries in order to avoid estate taxes. While many of the changes apply to larger estates there are some benefits for the average middle class estate too.

Estate planning can be complicated because of the continuing nature of the estate planning process. Most people find it beneficial to enlist the services of legal counsel who are familiar with the ever-changing laws and can serve as advocates and mediators. Qualified attorneys are able to assist clients with the estate planning process and ensuring that important details are not omitted.

Source: The SFGate, "Estate planning law changes you need to know," Jean Folger, Sept. 6, 2011

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