Who Needs Estate Planning?

 

Traditionally many people believe estate planning benefits only the wealthy.  This is a common misconception.  In California estates with a gross value of $150,000 or more will go through a public process called probate.  Probate is supervised by the probate court.  If you do not have a trust the court will determine the distribution of your assets in accordance to your will.  Without a will the court will distribute your assets pursuant to California probate code.

 

Reasons to consider creating an estate plan:

 

  • Avoid Probate.  Probate is a long, costly and public proceeding through the court system.

 

  • Establish guardians for minor children.  A major benefit of creating a will is to nominate the person to care for your children in the event of your death.  Without a will this decision will be left to a judge with no direction regarding your wishes.

 

  • Control asset management after your death. Ensure your assets are managed in accordance with your wishes by someone you nominate.  A living trust will allow you to set specific guidelines for when and why distributions should be made to your beneficiaries.

 

  • Protect yourself in the event of incapacitation.  Creating an estate plan will provide the person you nominate to manage assets on your behalf if you become incapacitated.  Without the proper documents in place a conservatorship through the court will have to be established to provide someone such power.

 

  • Clarify medical wishes.  Establishing an advance health care directive will clearly identify your medical wishes and appointment someone to handle medical decisions in the event of your incapacitation. Once again, without the proper documents in place a conservatorship through the court will have to be established to provide someone such power.