Over the years, the average individual will accumulate both assets and liabilities. These will often be in the form of real estate, investments, collections, mortgages and other personal debt. While this accumulation is normal for most California residents, how to handle these assets and liabilities as a part of one’s estate is unique to each individual. For this reason, estate planning is crucial for those wanting to make things easier and protect assets for the next generation.
On the surface, estate planning can appear to be an overwhelming process. One of the first steps to take is to create a list of all assets and liabilities. Upon review of this list, one may decide that it would simply be easier on all involved if some of the assets or liabilities were disposed of. Assets that have little meaning to others or that may be difficult for another to place value upon can be sold to eliminate confusion later on. Once this list is completed, it is important to review it on a regular basis and update it as needed.
Another key item in the estate plan is determining who will inherit which items. Many times, when a plan is not specific and it is left up to the heirs to determine who will receive which item, family conflict arises. To minimize this possibility, a detailed list designating which item is to go to which individual is needed.
Estate planning does not need to be difficult. However, it is a critical part of managing one’s estate. Many California residents find that working with experienced legal counsel will minimize the stress associated with it.
Source: personalliberty.com, “Nuts and bolts of estate planning“, Bob Livingston, Oct. 28, 2016