Estate planning can be a stressful process. It may be difficult to know where to begin. In addition to facing one’s own mortality, creating an estate plan in California can be an emotional experience in deciding who gets what and when. Circumstances that can further complicate all of this include needing to provide for family members with special needs or family members from previous marriages. But deciding to let the task of estate planning wait until a later date may result in the state deciding how your estate is settled.
A plan should be set up to allow for changes as the circumstances of one’s life change. Frequently, an initial plan will be created after the birth of a child. Such things as guardianship may be central at such a time. A couple in their 50s reviewed a will they had created when their three children were small. Two of the three children are now adults and the size of their estate had also grown.
In bringing their plan up to date, the couple included a health care proxy and advance directive that instructed family members what to do regarding end-of-life care. They also initiated a trust that will give some of their estate to charity and divide the remainder equally among their three children. Set up as a living trust, the parents can continue to control the funds in the trust and make changes as they see fit during their lifetime.
Estate planning should not be ignored and neither should it be done once and forgotten about. It’s a good idea to review an existing plan in California at least every five years. A knowledgeable attorney can review one’s assets and family situation and assist one in developing and maintaining a plan that helps to ensure that one’s final wishes will be carried out.