There’s a line often repeated about a wealthy man who passes away. One friend asks the other friend “how much did he leave?” to which the response is “everything he had.” No matter the vast wealth one possesses in California, it remains behind when a person dies. Realizing this fact and planning for how one’s estate assets will be distributed after one’s passing can be one of the best bequests a person leaves behind in California.
How a person structures an estate can have direct bearing on the resolution of the estate, both in terms of how long full resolution may take and the costs that may be incurred. Many people believe that having a current will is all that is needed. While a will may be a good starting point, there are other items to consider.
A living will explains one’s wishes regarding end-of-life care or medical care in the event that a person is mentally or physically unable to express his or her wishes. This can save an immense amount of heartache for a person’s loved ones. An estate may have to go through probate, which can be a costly and time-consuming process. It is also a public process. Probate can sometimes be avoided through the use of trusts, which can also keep proceedings private.
The decision to create an estate plan to help ensure that estate assets are distributed according to one’s wishes should be made with deliberation and careful thought in California. A person spends a lifetime building a legacy; how a person will be remembered and what form that legacy may take deserves careful consideration. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help a person to create a comprehensive plan that accomplishes one’s final goals.