People in California know that estate planning isn't something that happens overnight, and as life itself changes, the estate plan goes right along with it. An estate plan requires careful thought and reflection on a person's goals, aspirations, belief in the future, concept of what their financial contribution means in the grand scheme of life, and even their own mortality. It can be heavy stuff to consider, but the peace of mind that comes with a professionally managed and comprehensive estate plan is more than worth the labor, time, thought and emotions that go into the process.
Once a client knows what he or she wants to achieve with his or her legacy and his or her contribution to the future, whether it be to charitable causes or designated individuals, an experienced estate planning attorney can start taking care of the legal objectives to make these goals a reality. People who are careful and prudent with finances during their lives would shudder at the waste and taxation that can occur when an estate plan leaves gaps for court administrators to fill, so taking the time to ensure the legal aspects are covered is critical.
Every estate plan should consist of several key components, including a will, a living will, and a durable power of attorney. The living will and power of attorney are crucial to directing others as to a person's wishes regarding health care and treatment should they become incapacitated.
When it comes to avoiding probate, the will is the cornerstone of estate planning. It will determine how and to which heirs property and assets are distributed when a person dies. In addition to a will, people may want to consider setting up a pour-over trust or trust for a specific purpose, which may provide greater control over financial directives even after the death of a person, as well as other benefits. An estate planning attorney can help people draw up the will and any additional estate planning components as the situation may require.
Source: Fox Business "The Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Make," Kelly Traseger, April 7, 2014