People in California lead busy lives, and most people like it that way. Not knowing what the day has in store can be an exciting and fulfilling way to live, but everybody still needs to take some time to reflect on the big picture. Part of getting the most enjoyment out of life means having the financial means to do so, so even the busiest Californians should take some time each year to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney about how to get the most out of their assets.
Healthy, young people rarely stop to think about what will happen to their assets and property after they die, but this can be a tremendous mistake. Dying without a will can mean that most of your assets pass through the state's intestate laws. This process is not ideal for a number of reasons, but most importantly, it can be extremely expensive and it gives the deceased and their loved ones little control over where these assets end up. Even worse, if a person dies without any identifiable heirs or beneficiaries, the state keeps all the deceased's hard-earned money for itself.
Avoiding probate can be easy, so long as people take the time to work out a will as part of their estate plan. This also means naming beneficiaries on accounts and benefits, such as insurance and Social Security. Since life can change in a matter of minutes, it's a good idea to meet with an attorney at least once a year to make sure the proper estate documents are in order.
Source: Huffington Post, "When You Die, Where Does Your Dough Go?" David A. Dedman, Mar. 24, 2014