In California and elsewhere, the process of estate planning serves several useful purposes. One of the most important is the protection of assets on behalf of one’s selected heirs. Having everything in order at one’s death will prevent unnecessary family squabbles and monetary expenses and will assure that the maximum value of assets will go to the family members and friends that the maker chooses.
Without an estate plan, one’s death is a license for the state to move in and prescribe all of the rules for disposition of one’s assets, regardless of what the decedent may have wished or preferred. With an estate plan, each heir will be provided for in the way determined most desirable by the decedent. Making these determinations during life, preferably at an early age, will thus assure a smooth and efficient passage of a decedent’s assets.
When a person needs to get an estate plan in order, it is best to meet with an estate planning attorney. That professional can guide the individual or married couple comfortably and logically through the maze of legal options and preferences that may be available. Based on the particular facts at hand, the attorney will make a comprehensive evaluation of the competing factors and explain the choices available, while giving recommendations where appropriate.
It is important to keep an accurate and complete set of financial records, such as banking information, deeds, leases, options, accounts, investments, mortgages, loans, wills and trusts. The records will be critical in going over one’s plan with an estate planning professional. Afterwards, they should be revealed to those family members who will be responsible to administer the assets after death. Letters of instructions are also helpful as supportive guidance for the heirs.
There are several considerations for estate planning purposes and for protection of heirs in California and all states. When meeting with an estate planning attorney, the impact and importance of these items will be explained and prioritized. The discussion will take up such issues as the preparation of wills, trusts, the need for life insurance, health care directives and the all-important power of attorney.
Source: newsmax.com, “7 Tips for Seniors to Get Their Estate Plans in Order“, Jerry Shaw, May 2, 2017