Estate planning, simply put, is the manner of deciding what will happen to your assets if you happen to die or become incapacitated, and then taking the necessary steps to ensure that your choices will be carried out in the way you see fit. Having an estate plan is an indispensable part of effective financial planning for anyone who wants to provide for their loved ones. A professional estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that works for your circumstances.
Inventory What You Own and What You Owe
There are several excellent reasons to put together a complete list of your assets and debts, including account numbers, account passwords, as well as names and contact information for your important financial advisers. Keep the essentials in a secure, accessible location along with any original copies of relevant documents and give a copy of the summary to the executor of your will and to your estate planning attorney as well.
Create a Contingency Plan
Having a proper estate plan lets you control what will happen to your property and to your assets should you or your spouse pass away today. It also puts a recorded system in place so that if you become incapacitated, your family will be able to carry on your affairs without having to deal with going to court. This includes having a plan for contributing an income should you become disabled and a plan for covering possible costs for caregiving that could potentially be required at some point.
Provide for Your Children and Other Dependents
The ultimate goal for most estate plans is to protect and provide for your family and your loved ones and any of their future needs. Your estate plan should also include terms for any children that you may have. This will include naming a legal guardian for any children under the age of 18 and providing for any children you may have from a previous marriage that might not be explicitly covered by simply leaving your assets to your current spouse. A well put together estate plan will also specifically direct the care and provision of income for any children or relatives who have special needs. These inheritances must be delicately planned in order to avoid endangering their eligibility for any government assistance that they may receive and is a necessary part of their well-being.
Protect Your Assets
An essential element of successful estate planning includes preserving your assets for your heirs by minimizing any expenses and handling your estate taxes. If necessary, your estate plan would include specific procedures for the disposal or transfer of individual assets like real estate, a family-owned business, stock in a business, or an investment property. Many people use permanent life insurance as well as trusts to preserve assets while assuring that their estate planning goals can still be met.
These are just some basic points meant to assist you in your understanding of estate planning and what it really involves. If you find that you are still confused or have any worries that you are not handling your estate planning correctly, it is strongly advised that you contact an experienced and knowledgeable will and probate lawyer in California. If you would like to meet with a will and probate attorney for a free consultation regarding your case, please reach out to the team here at Levia Law Firm by calling (818) 703-1777 today.