As young people in California reach adulthood, marry and begin families, the issue of an estate plan may cross their minds. But as with so many things at that age, death seems far away and the overwhelming task of facing one’s own mortality can become something to be handled tomorrow. The idea of having heirs and an estate to pass on may be a foreign one, as the idea of estate planning often conjures up images of transferring vast sums of money to one’s heirs. The majority of people do not have significant sums of money, but that is not necessarily the principal reason for having a plan.
A plan allows one to prepare for unforeseen circumstances, such as an incapacitating accident or an early death. Things to be considered are who will care for children in the event of both parents passing? Will there be financial provision for children in the form of a life insurance policy or other financial instrument?
If one becomes physically or mentally unable to handle one’s own financial or medical affairs, who is empowered to make those decisions? A power of attorney designation can answer that question. In addition, having someone authorized to make those decisions removes the task from loved ones who will already be dealing with the stress of a difficult situation.
Having a large sum of money to leave one’s heirs is not without benefit. Having a comprehensive estate plan that foresees unexpected eventualities and details specific instructions on how they are to be handled may be worth just as much to a grieving family. One who is unsure where to begin could benefit from the experience and insight of an attorney experienced in estate planning in California.