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Planning for the future of your assets, debts, and property is a responsible and considerate act. Not only will you have the peace of mind which comes with making sure your final wishes are known, but you will also help your family avoid unnecessary conflict and stress. A good place to begin is by knowing the right way to prepare your estate for California probate.

Prepare Your Documents

It is astounding to consider the number of California residents who do not have a will or other testamentary document in place. For many, this oversight is not because they don’t care but is instead due to not believing it to be necessary until they reach a more advanced stage of life. As the recent death of actor and California resident, Luke Perry at age 52 of a stroke demonstrates, older age does not necessarily determine when estate plans should be established. Perry, who was reported to have created a will in 2015, and appeared to have had an advanced directive, seemingly put measures in place to protect his loved ones and direct his care.

Fortunately, the actor did not wait to plan for his estate thereby avoiding making this tragic event even harder on his family. Whatever your age or condition, if you do not have a will in place, now is the time. Otherwise, you are taking a serious risk which could create a strain on your family and will allow your estate to be distributed according to the law rather than your wishes. Additionally, creating a power of attorney or advanced directive can help your loved ones avoid having to go through a court process to advocate for your care and interest.

Make Your Documents Accessible

Having a will and other directives are powerful tools but only if other people can find them. It will not do your heirs or loved ones any good if you go through the necessary steps to execute your California will and prepare an advanced directive or power of attorney without making them accessible. Make certain your loved ones know where these critical documents are stored so they can be located when needed.

Create a Trust if Necessary

One way to keep your assets from having to go through probate is by placing them in a trust. There are trusts which can be created during your life or upon death. By moving property and funds into the trust body, you give up legal ownership but can still leave the assets to beneficiaries. You will also have the power to direct how the trust payments are used. Further, if you want to keep your directives private, you can do so with a trust. However, unless your estate property and values are exempt from probate, leaving an inheritance through a will usually means that this information will become public record through the probate court.

There are several matters to consider when preparing your estate for probate and navigating the law and rules in this area can be overwhelming. The best course of action is to contact a California probate attorney who can help you understand your options and how to plan. At the Law Office of Alice Salvo, we have the probate experience you need to prepare for the best possible results. Contact us today for a free consultation. /