Asset protection looms as a major goal of estate planning

In California and throughout the country, estate planning is a process of preparing for future eventualities in a way that protects one’s family and dearest friends from inconvenience and even loss of one’s assets. The use of various trusts, a will, power of attorney and health care directives form the core of asset protection. By being able to designate the preferred family and friends for asset inheritance and those best qualified to manage the necessary procedures on one’s behalf, the individual is able also to assure that his/her wishes will be followed.

There are many questions involved in the estate planning context. One of them is what to do if one becomes incapacitated and unable to handle his/her affairs in the future. Who will handle the assets, health care decisions, day-to-day management of purchases and expenditures, keeping one’s family members protected and financially secure? This choice is made during the estate planning procedure.

Much of the answer for that set of questions is in the designation of a person to act as one’s power of attorney during the period of incapacitation. This will be the most trusted and competent person for the job, if the individual has the foresight to engage in estate planning. If not, one’s family members will likely have to retain counsel and go into court to have a guardian appointed.

That is a costly and time-consuming process in California and all other states that may set a frustrating note for one’s family and heirs, who will face a situation where no planning has been done. That is simply not the way that most of us want to go. The obstacle facing the person who encounters these questions, and many other issues of concern, is called procrastination. In order to take a major step toward defeating procrastination, a person may find it very beneficial to arrange for a consultation with an estate planning attorney to discuss preparing the documents necessary for asset protection and for assuring one’s choices are followed.

Source: record-bee.com, “Uncertainty and estate planning“, Dennis Fordham, March 21, 2017

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