People in Northern California who have questions about estate planning may not initially know where to turn. Most people understand that it is a very important task, but busy people also know how easy it can be to put it off. The problem with putting it off is that nobody can see the future, and those who die or become incapacitated without a legally sound estate plan in place may leave their family and close friends in a very difficult position.
For people who like to do things themselves, basic information about estate planning is available at the Sacramento Public Law Library. Their website provides a basic overview of the estate planning process, the most important legal documents and the consequences of dying without having an estate plan. Some of the most important things that should be included in everyone's estate plan are a will, a living trust, an advanced health care directive, and if a person has significant or complex assets, perhaps one or more trusts.
The self-help documents and information that are available can be a great starting point, but many busy people can find themselves overwhelmed by the legal jargon and complex processes involved. Rather than spend their time fumbling through this on their own, not to mention risking making crucial mistakes that could lead to unintended consequences, most people find that setting up a consultation with an experienced estates and trusts attorney is a much more efficient and effective way to address their complex estate planning needs.
At an initial consultation an attorney will generally review a person's pertinent information, including financial assets and their wishes for the distribution of their wealth upon their passing. This can be accomplished with what is essentially a conversation between the client and the attorney, after which the attorney can provide a client with various options and suggestions for their estate plan.
Source: Sacramento Public Library "Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning," accessed Jan. 24, 2015