Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own; your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how small, everyone has an estate and something in common; you can’t take it with you when you die.
When that happens and it is a “when” and not an “if” you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.
That is estate planning. Making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die.
Too many people don’t plan.
Individuals put off estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they are not old enough, they are busy, think they have plenty of time, they are confused and don’t know who can help them, or they just don’t want to think about it. Then, when something happens to them, their families have to pick up the pieces.
The best time to plan your estate is now.
None of us really likes to think about our own mortality or the possibility of being unable to make decisions for ourselves. This is exactly why so many families are caught off-guard and unprepared when incapacity or death does strike. Don’t wait. You can put something in place now and change it later; which is exactly the way estate planning should be done.
The best benefit is peace of mind.
Knowing you have a properly prepared plan in place – one that contains your instructions and will protect your family; will give you and your family peace of mind. This is one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for yourself and for those you love.
So what does a modern estate plan consist of?
- A trust
- A pour-over will
- A power of attorney for assets
- A medical power of attorney
- And a HIPAA release
There are many kinds of trusts, so you’ll want to talk to an attorney about which kind of trust(s) best suit your needs. People often enter into estate planning without really knowing what it entails.
Leventhal Law Group, P.C. provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning and administration. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact Leventhal Law Group, P.C. at 818-347-5800 or email for a free consolation.